Last login: Wednesday, March 3, 2010
(1) DNA evidence can at times leave doubts. In Houston, Texas several years ago, improper crime lab procedures compromised many cases for example. Thus, any DNA evidence had to be re-evaluated because the DNA evidence is only as good as the processes by which the same is evaluated. It is not a magic bullet.
(2) Due process is NOT an entitlement to protect criminals as many Americans and their elected officials proclaim when hysterically advocating new laws. DUE PROCESS and all of the constitutional protections DO NOT protect criminals, it protects society from an otherwise arbitrary government. When Americans wake up to the fact that these protections protect us all, then we will be a better society.
(3) Numerous studies have shown that actual recidivism rates for sex offenders are extremely low. In 2002, US Dept. of Justice reported only 5% of sex offenders released in 1994 returned to prison for a new sex crime. (See "US Dept of Justice Report on Sex Offender Recidivism" http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/...)
(4) California has shown some of the highest recidivism rates in the nation for years. This is because, in part, the state of California has refused to reform its prison system. It's prisons are the largest in the nation, competing with Texas, yet recidivism is double that of Texas prisons. The reason for this is the lack of control and measured programs. Texas in 2009 reported overall recidivism rates below 30% for the third consecutive year with lower crime rates, while California reports almost 60% recidivism annually. This is overall recidivism, and though sex offender recidivism rates are lower than that of other criminal categories both in California and Texas, California again exceeds the recidivism rates of the comparable population in Texas.
(5) Sex offender recidivism in Texas is lowered by an effective treatment program. In 2007 the Texas State Auditor released a report showing that sex offenders who completed the Texas Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) were 61% LESS LIKELY to commit a new crime. (See “An Audit Report on Selected Rehabilitation Programs at the Department of Criminal Justice.” Texas State Auditor. March 2007. Report No. 07-026. Retrieved Oct 20, 2009. http://www.sao.state.tx.us/reports/ma....)
(6) Lastly, I might remind you that the cost of registration programs is significant. For a state such as California which is near bankruptcy one must ask why California officials insist on a registration program that serves no legitimate need in the face of low recidivism rates when other solutions exist which effectively protect the public. As it stands now, the only group winning with the registration policies in place is the small cottage industry of lobbyists and vendors who advocate registration laws and who develop and maintain sex offender registration databases.
March 3, 2010 at 2:53 p.m.
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