The Associate Press has examined the status of sex offender registration requirements for juvenile offenders. There is a wide spectrum of legislative action across the country. The required registration of teenage offenders for consensual sexual contact with another minor close in age has raised concern among many in the criminal justice system. Below are some excerpts from the article and a link to the entire article.
Twenty-one states currently require juveniles convicted of a serious sex crime to register with law enforcement, according to an Associated Press review of state laws and interviews with state officials.
In 19 other states, only juveniles convicted as adults or who move from a state that requires registration are required to provide their information to authorities. In the remaining states, the laws vary. In Nevada, for instance, a juvenile sex offender can petition a judge to set aside registration requirements.
In 2006, President George W. Bush signed a law requiring states to adopt a series of sex offender measures, including the registration of all juveniles who commit serious sex crimes such as abuse or rape. The law was designed to create a national sex offender registry and toughen penalties for those who fail to register.
It's unclear how many of the nation's estimated 686,000 sex offenders are juveniles. But a recent study by the University of New Hampshire Crimes against Children Research Center that found more than a third of those who sexually abuse children are juveniles.
Ohio is so far the only state to meet the new federal standards, but states have until July to comply so they can build up their online registries and ensure the information can be incorporated into the national database.
In Texas, where judges decide whether to put juveniles on the registry, lawmakers led a push several years ago to make it automatic. But the measure's sponsor, Texas state Rep. Jim McReynolds, said he abandoned the effort after concluding the new requirements would be too costly and may end up harming the juvenile offenders. "The more I began to look at it, the more I saw it was pretty doggone tough on juveniles," said McReynolds, who chairs the House Corrections Committee. He now favors more treatment.
In Maryland, powerful lawmakers are aiming to require those 14 and older who commit rape and other serious sex crimes to register. "Juveniles are treated as adults in other areas of the law," said Delegate Bill Frank of Baltimore County, one of the measure's sponsors. "And if a juvenile commits a first-degree rape, that juvenile should be required to register as a sexual offender."
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/06/1615765/states-vary-on-dealing-with-youth.html#ixzz0nMJ83pJ9
Lauren Saene Key - 8/29/1996 - 11/8/2000
3 weeks ago