GPS and electronic monitoring is also an affirmative disability in that it is highly intrusive, burdensome, and expensive. Traditional Aims of Punishment. Consistent with retributive theories, these restrictions are often, but not always, backward looking; they are determined by the underlying offense and not present dangerousness or lack thereof. Courts give this factor little weight because these goals can also rightly be described as civil and regulatory. However, the Supreme Court thought it was a relevant factor in analyzing whether or not a law was punitive in Smith and Mendoza-Martinez.
Rational Connection to a Nonpunitive Purpose. This factor weighs heavily in finding that SOPR laws are punitive as applied to homeless registrants. Excessiveness with Respect to This Nonpunitive Purpose. In fact, many SOPR laws are overinclusive as they include minor and nonsexual offenses.
I. The Unique Challenges that Reentry Poses for Convicted Sex Offenders
First, residency restrictions insofar as they make securing stable housing nearly impossible are excessive with respect to their nonpunitive purpose. Courts, legislators, and leading experts for both sex offenders and victims of sexual violence agree that finding stable housing as a sex offender is difficult and, in many communities, impossible. Due to high rates of homelessness among sex offenders, victim rights advocates, law enforcement, legislators, and scholars question the effectiveness of residency restrictions.
Second, frequent reporting is excessive in relation to its purported purpose. While frequent in-person reporting requirements aim to keep track of registrants, it is unclear that the frequent reporting actually achieves anything besides making it more difficult for registrants to regain control of their lives and successfully reenter society. Unstable housing, unemployment, and lack of social support exacerbate the problems of reentry. Instead of leading to higher rates of reporting, homelessness may actually lead to less frequent reporting. This factor weighs heavily in finding that SOPR laws as applied to homeless registrants are punitive.
Constellation of Effects.
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Despite their stated public safety purpose, SOPR laws are punitive. They impose affirmative disabilities and restraints, resemble traditional forms of punishment, promote the aims of punishment, lack a rational connection to a nonpunitive purpose, and are excessive in relation to their stated nonpunitive purpose. This Note highlights the perils that homeless registrants encounter when attempting to comply with the vast array of laws that govern their lives. Pushed to the actual margins of society, the current landscape is bleak for people convicted of sex offenses.
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They are required to comply with extensive regulations that aim to control their every move. When they ultimately trip, prosecutors are eager to charge and courts are eager to condemn them to lengthy sentences. While there is no proof that these regulations protect the public, there is evidence that they are counterproductive as they make reentry more difficult.
By continuing to brand people as sex offenders while eschewing social and psychological research, we create a modern-day caste system that fails to meet the very goals it set out to address. Download PDF.
The Unique Challenges that Reentry Poses for Convicted Sex Offenders Persons convicted of a crime will encounter obstacles upon seeking to reintegrate into society. Residency Restrictions Alabama bars registrants from living within 2, feet of any school or childcare facility.
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Mental Health People reentering society after serving time in jails and prisons often suffer from untreated mental health conditions. Inconsistent Approaches to Homeless Registrants Because SORNA provides little instruction to states seeking guidance on registering homeless sex offenders, states in turn lack a uniform approach.
Financial Burdens of Registration SOPR laws impose a range of fees for registration and fines for noncompliance, which uniquely burden the poor in general and homeless individuals in particular. Void for Vagueness Fundamental to the American criminal justice system is the concept that people take responsibility for their crimes. Does it impose an affirmative disability or restraint? Does it promote the traditional aims of punishment?
I. The Unique Challenges that Reentry Poses for Convicted Sex Offenders
Does it have a rational connection to a nonpunitive purpose? Is it excessive with respect to this purpose? Conclusion This Note highlights the perils that homeless registrants encounter when attempting to comply with the vast array of laws that govern their lives.
Elizabeth Esser-Stuart. Does 1—5 v. Snyder, F. Despite my personal discomfort with this terminology, I use it here because it is concise.
See Elizabeth R. Change , —58 arguing that registries are both underinclusive and overinclusive by including crimes such as public urination, but due to the uniquely private nature of sex crimes, many are underreported and, as a result, these individuals would not be included on the registry ; see also Lisa Williams-Taylor, Increased Surveillance of Sex Offenders: Impacts on Recidivism —94 providing an appendix of all registrable offenses in New York state.
See infra Part II. See infra subpart I A. Cooper, F. See infra subpart II C. See infra subpart II C ; see also, e. Police , supra note Media Sept. See, e. Doe, U. The claim of high rates of recidivism by sex offenders has been debunked. See Patrick A. In fact, sex offenders are less likely to be re-arrested than property and drug offenders. Durose et al. Levenson et al.
Catherine L. Today, only nineteen states substantially comply with SORNA because the costs of implementing a similar version at the state level are more costly than losing federal funding. Levenson, supra note 17, at 6, Act of Apr. Laws ch.
Levenson, supra note 17, at 5. For a detailed overview of the purpose of sex offender registries, see Platt, supra note 4, at — Jill S. See Platt, supra note 4, at —49 detailing the intent and purpose of sex offender registries. Most people think that all sex offenders will reoffend, and when they do, they will commit a more serious offense than their first.
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Lile, U. Times Sept. In fact, study after study confirms that sex offenders actually have a very low rate of recidivism. Langan et al. Statistical Analysis Ctr. Post Mar. Doe as civil statutes meant to protect public safety. Most states explicitly state that their SOPR laws are civil schemes, but the California Supreme Court held that the California law was intended to be punitive. See In re Taylor, P. See generally Joan Petersilia, When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry discussing the consequences of a felony conviction: employment obstacles, denial of public benefits, decreased educational opportunities, and disenfranchisement—and that housing instability is consistently associated with criminal recidivism and absconding.
See Jennifer L. See J. Observer May 31, detailing the struggles one juvenile registrant faced as a result of being listed on the registry ; see generally 19 Human Rights Watch , No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the U. Strange, 83 F. In these states, as the Survey explains in Part II, what registrants are required to do varies by jurisdiction.
These states impose more frequent reporting requirements for homeless residents.
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Regardless of whether a person serves jail time for an offense, a criminal conviction keeps people from employment, housing, and public benefits. These challenges include, but are not limited to, employment and residency restrictions, GPS and electronic surveillance, chemical castration, and involuntary civil commitment, a form of indefinite detention.
Wright ed. It is probably impossible to accurately survey the residency restrictions as they exist at the state and municipal levels.