Mandatory Registration For Sex Offenders

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Mandatory Registration for Sex Offenders

Mandatory Registration for Sex Offenders


Sex offenders are most frequently classified in terms of whether their victims are adults or children, and in the case of the latter, whether their victims are intra-familial or extra-familial. Those who offend against children are among the most despised of all offenders both outside and within prison walls, where they often require protective custody. Offenders who choose extra-familial child victims arouse the greatest fear and anger among the public. Those with adult victims tend to be less harshly viewed both outside and within prisons, where prisoner sexual assault is not uncommon. Reports of sex offenses by women are rare, and female sex offenders arouse little public concern. This paper discusses mandatory registration for sex offenders in a concise and comprehensive way.

Mandatory Registration for Sex Offenders

Ahearn (2001) mentions sex offender registries and notification procedures are not universally implemented in each state. Communities and law enforcement agencies vary greatly from state to state and within each state. The federal legislation requiring notification programs and sex registries in states that did not already have them recognized this fact and afforded states discretion in defining and implementing their programs.

Each state has a central sex offender file, which is maintained by a state agency such as the state attorney general's office, state police, or state department of corrections. Local law enforcement agencies serve as local registration sites and maintain local sex offenders' records. Copies of these records are forwarded to designated state agencies, which enter their central sex offender file information into the national sex offender registration file maintained by the FBI (Ahearn, 2001).

Conviction of certain sex offenses and offenses against children can result in having to register as a sex offender. Each state statutorily defines what constitutes a registerable sex offense. Although these statutes may vary between states, all states address crimes such as assault with intent to commit rape, oral copulation, or sodomy; rape; sodomy with a minor; child molestation; penetration with a foreign object; and kidnapping with intent to commit specified sex offenses (Ahearn, 2001). All states have sex offender registries for adult offenders. However, juveniles are not required to register in some states, even if they have been convicted of one of the specified sex offenses or crimes against children that would mandate an adult to register. The number of years a sex offender has to register also varies from state ...
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