What if the U.S. Supreme Court miraculously ruled that sex offender registries were unconstitutional? First, the major news networks would be in meltdown mode. I am confident that cataclysm based voice commentary would involve Ron Book, John Walsh, and cameo appearance by Nancy Grace would be in order. Police, politicians, school boards, and outraged registry supporters would behave like a Kanye West moment during Hurricane Katrina.
A recent web traffic study of the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry shows most searches of the website disclose a higher portion of commercial viewing than individual users. That indicates the registry overall is a business instead of a service to the community. Virtually citizens outraged at the registry termination are service-based organizations that provide traffic content. Which brings me to my first examination. Private registries such as Homefacts or other similar websites would scurry to improve its databases to unofficially track former registrants creating a new private fee-based registry. Criminal background service providers such as Truthfinder.com and others would begin building apps to connect with social networking quickly identify not only sex offenders but other felonious acts to lump in as a part of its services. It is not registries that are the problem, but private services are acting as registries with misinformation or expired data. The threat of private registries would be equivalent to a credit reporting agency relying on data ten years or older. Most disturbing is when these same service providers insist individuals pay to update what the company should keep current. And we wonder why we have so many problematic scams of misinformation in America? Because this data is not protected by the Fair Credit Act, many unsuspected “consumers” would be accidentally uploaded by name mixups or other collected information creating a false report of individuals. It is the hype of individuals such as Book, Walsh, and perhaps Grace that instigate a fear that danger always lurks around the corner. As long as lawmakers listen to these “unqualified experts” there will always be a justifiable need for misinformation and panic.
Congress and states would have more money to spend because it would no longer have a registry requirement. However, count on your elected leadership finding ways to spend newly discovered funds to make matters worse. I anticipate a sudden reaction in ancillary spending towards keeping specific laws intact such as residency restrictions, being on school or daycare property and discovering clever ways of identifying offenders without a registry. I do expect legislation to be introduced for passport and driver license expansion to include identifiers for all former registered offenders. Again, never assume with panic organizations where one victory suddenly creates twenty additional problems. The courts will eventually be clogged with too many lawsuits to count. But, this is the giant registry at work with more legs than a centipede.
As for the judicial system, it could be the straw that breaks the camels back. Prosecutors and judges would begin implementing lengthy prison sentences as a replacement to plea deals for lesser sentencing. Judges are incredibly aware how to use the registry as a weapon. Otherwise without the registry prisons would be at peak population counts. Without the registry do count on higher civil commitment rates because all those so-called political appointed psychology boards have to “protect their jobs”. These commitment boards will suddenly panic as to what to do with offenders if they continue to believe that sexual offenses cannot be rehabilitated – naturally, they are appointed to think that way. As long as prosecutors and judges remain elected officials, there will invariably be a promotion of fear-based rhetoric and the need to escalate that fear even if civil liberties are jeopardized. Proof that the registry was never information based but planned punishment.
Lastly, kiosks would suddenly emerge requiring instant background checks to enter buildings, companies, organizations, or public emergency disaster shelters as a miniature quasi-registry with complementary sticky name-tags to wear that you passed its self-imposed quality restrictions. Implementation of kiosks would demonstrate consternation and expansion of criminal based information perhaps purchased from the same unofficial registry websites with outdated data. Naturally, to correct the issue individuals would be in the crossfire of misinformation being forced to pay to correct information that shouldn’t have been public in the first place? Do count on companies and organizations to be sued for wrongful information based on false or inaccurate information being shared. As always, there will be a nice disclaimer to say “this organization is not responsible for incorrect information” and to call another organization to straighten out the fiasco. If kiosks aren’t bad enough, then it may be safe to assume facial recognition is the next wave of information sharing. But the best bizarre standard may be similar to the airport Global Entry standard. Those with a background check based card similar to the REAL ID act would gain quicker access than those that don’t. It wouldn’t surprise me if this implements sooner because it is already being discussed with particular lawmakers?
Does all this imply that the registry needs to remain? Certainly not. It does suggest a peek into the proverbial future that California and the rest of America created. The registry beast will ultimately find its reach grasping innocent victims, family, friends, and advocates combined with misinformation no different than the Hillary Clinton Pizzagate scandal. Politicians with greased palms accepting Book or Walsh dollars with falsity with “consulting” and exclusive paperback deals may be the real injury as to why homeless, jobless, prison rates, major crimes, and other economic problems have risen – and continue to increase. However, if humanity will take a leap of faith to help assimilate offenders back into society rather than a registry requirement, they may quickly discover that homeless, jobless, prison rate, major crimes, and other economic worries become lessened with better opportunities and outcomes.
Patty Wetterling once voiced her concern about the registry. But her voice was dismissed as consumed by the giant enterprise of the registry to squelch any opposition and voice of reason. I have calculated my investigation and analysis of perhaps what the world will be like if the registry goes away. In fact, I find it may be more dangerous because politicians and opponents enjoy selling fear and anxiety. However, I tend to reflect more of the powerful words borrowed from Colin Powell saying, “If you break it, you fix it!”
The registry is broke and breaking the bank of economic stability and primary rationale with Ameican culture. It had proven to be no more effective today than when it was implemented. It is convoluted, harmful to families, and swallowing up innocent bystanders under the guise of behaviors sometimes not closely associated with rape or violent offenses. The only beneficiary to the registry is companies and individuals that use the registry for its benefit. Individuals that visit the registry, if they can find the correct one, have mentioned feeling less educated or informed because of the lump sum mindset. It is a mammoth service that provides no service to any community and offers no real protection. Typically it is the person not on the registry that one should be concerned with. That is not a hint or suggestion that the registry works. That would equivalent to when an impaired driver gets behind the wheel, gets arrested, have his/her license revoked until court appearance, posts bond, only to drive back home still under the influence and continue driving back and forth to work on a suspended license. I see that the DMV registry is sarcastically impressive. The bottom line is that no registry is useful. What is effective? Law, evidence and a plan to deal with repeat offenders.
Lastly, adding specific laws to the registry requirement further creates a constructive culture of recidivism. What was once black and white to understanding registry requirements are replaced with black and gray content with ambiguous meaning. That is what lawmakers have created, and the registry continues to administer as a broken database of tiered information. This colossal effort of spending and identification in hopes to reduce specific behavior has not matured but expanded into an enterprise business. The registry provides sole benefit to a select few overstated commentary advocates, fear-based advertisers, careless data content providers, and a few attorneys career obsessed with tales of removing people from the registry only to have those reinstated because of retroactive legislation. Even if the registry ended tomorrow, the struggle to regain identity would be an uphill climb because of hostility and resistance towards a failed experiment. Despite police officers being relieved of sex offense monitoring allowing more officers to patrol streets abandon logic and consideration. It’s the opponents that would be out of business and have the ambition to create further harm by selling a new potion claiming it will keep a community safe. Perhaps the best safety and slaying the giant is to meet my neighbors no longer hiding because of registry requirements actively engaged and involved in my neighborhood. We don’t need an app or registry for that – and it will save me and my community a lot of money!