Sex Offender Registries Often Inaccurate

December 15, 2008

Mcclatchydc.com : Sex offender registries often inaccurate, Justice Department says.

WASHINGTON — Sex offender registries are often inaccurate and incomplete, undermining public knowledge about some of the nation’s most reviled criminals, Justice Department investigators warn.

The national sex registry is missing information on 22 percent of state-level sex offenders, the federal investigators found. Even as sex registry information becomes more widely accessible via the Internet, investigators sound alarms about the databases used to monitor the nation’s 644,000 registered sex offenders. The concerns coincide with more fundamental questions about whether the stigmatizing registries go too far.

Sex offender records are “inconsistent and incomplete”, investigators concluded.
“Neither law enforcement officials nor the public can rely on the registries for identifying registered sex offenders, particularly those who are fugitives,” investigators noted.

Excerpts:

“We found that the registries that make up the national sex offender registration system, the FBI’s National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) and OJP’s National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) portal, are inaccurate and incomplete and cannot be relied upon by law enforcement or the public for identifying registered sex offenders.”

“In addition, the public cannot rely on the NSOPR portal as a complete and accurate registry to identify registered and non-compliant sex offenders in their communities. We believe that, when implemented, the SORNA guidelines will improve the quality of data in the sex offender registries, but will not correct all of the problems we noted.”

View Justice Department Report here (PDF file).

What is quickly brushed over in this report is the inaccuracies. Incorrect information is often posted, listing home addresses of non-sex offenders as being the home of a sex offender, and exposing these families to harm. Incorrect information about an offender’s crime is often listed on these registries. And the most dangerous offenders are the fugitives mentioned who are not even registered. Therefore, these registries are largely ineffective and dangerous.


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