Those who fight for a more equitable way to keep track of sexual predators won a big victory in Michigan last week. That is a state with some 44,000 names on its Sexual Offenders Registry list.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland put his foot down and gave the Michigan legislature 60 days to rewrite its current “unconstitutional” registry statute. Last spring, Judge Cleland set a 90-day deadline for lawmakers to rework the law, but he was ignored. This time he’s serious.
Everyone agrees we need to keep track of career sexual criminals after they are released from prison. Once they’ve been convicted of violent sex crimes it follows that they might re-offend. A public safety monitoring system makes sense.
But understand that these state registries – there is one in every state – are bloated beyond belief with many names that shouldn’t be there. Registries were mandated by federal law in the mid-’90s to keep watch over ex-con pedophiles who sexually targeted children. Somewhere along the line we lost our way.