Within the confines of the federal funding mandates, Alaska can strike a more effective balance between warning the public of the most dangerous sexual predators and promoting the reintegration and rehabilitation of the larger class of offenders. Regular face-to-face contacts Supplemental Surveillance Program at specific sites to determine compliance with supervision Unannounced home visits Close coordination with treatment and criminal justice agencies Regular case staffing with service professionals involved with the offender Small caseloads are maintained where resources allow. New Jersey, for example, classified its offenders by risk and required no public disclosure for those who posed the least risk of reoffending, a percentage estimated at 45 percent of the entire sex offender class. Information displayed on this site provides no representation as to any offender's possibility of future crimes.
This type of legislative fine-tuning, however, will not solve the most fundamental problems with the statute—overbreadth and the absence of treatment incentives. The severity of the registration requirements may prohibit the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community, and the increasing burden on law enforcement to monitor and maintain very broad registries may prevent police from focusing on the more serious sexual predators. The Walsh Act provides the states discretion to omit offenders in this category other than those convicted of specified offenses against a minor from placement on the state sex offender web site. Treatment providers require admission of guilt and the offender is held accountable for sexually deviant behavior. Definition of a Sex Offender A sex offender is a person who is convicted of one or more of Alaska's laws relating to sexual behavior. Of course, no matter how excessive the reach of the statute in relation to its goals, many would argue that the disabilities imposed on low-risk or rehabilitated offenders are warranted if the system serves to protect even one child. This article provides a look at the paramaters of Alaska's sex offender registration statutes. Of these negative consequences, employment difficulties are perhaps most significant. Other states attempted to strike a balance between the stigmatization and collateral consequences of public notification and the risk of recidivism. Key provisions of the Walsh Act include broadening the classes of sex offenses for which registration is required and extending it to cover juvenile offenses; requiring covered offenders to consistently remain registered in any jurisdiction in which they live, work, or attend school; expanding the scope of registration information required; imposing a national requirement for periodic in-person appearances by registrants; standardizing the required duration of registration; and widening the availability of information concerning registrants available to the public through required Internet posting. It would also be much more expensive to administer, leaving the second approach a reasonable alternative with respect to these low-level offenders. Instead, it simply divided all offenders into two groups, aggravated and nonaggravated offenders, based on the severity of the offense. Alaska Justice Forum Reprints 10 Mar A Canadian study published in late , for example, found that high-risk sex offenders who participated in a community-based treatment project had lower rates of reoffending of any type than did offenders who did not participate Wilson, et al. To the contrary, they are likely to trigger a host of consequences antithetical to the public interest. The public interest associated with making employment available to released offenders is implicitly recognized under the new federal guidelines. Supreme Court upheld its terms against an ex post facto challenge. A longer version of this piece, with complete legal citations, is available on the Justice Center website at http: Juvenile offenders have, in addition, proven highly amenable to treatment. Young persons subject to registration have been harassed at school; some have dropped out. Studies show, however, that offenders who view punishment as too severe or inescapable may be more likely to reoffend and that many offenders subject to the lifetime registration requirement feel states have opened the door to endless harassment and stigmatization. The new federal requirements also offer states some latitude to include treatment incentives in their registration statutes. Including low-risk offenders also places an unnecessary administrative burden on state officials responsible for establishing and maintaining the posting, with a concomitant increase in public expense. Much of this registration information is placed on the Internet. They include profound humiliation and social isolation, loss of employment and housing, and destruction of family ties. Within the confines of the federal funding mandates, Alaska can strike a more effective balance between warning the public of the most dangerous sexual predators and promoting the reintegration and rehabilitation of the larger class of offenders.
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