According to the New York Times, lawmakers around the country are pushing for online registries, like those used for sex offenders, to track the whereabouts of people convicted of a wide variety of crimes, from arson and drunken driving to methamphetamine manufacturing and animal abuse.
In Illinois legislators are considering a law to create the nation’s first registry for first-degree murderers. In Maine, legislators are debating an online registry of drunken drivers. And proposals to register animal abusers have been put forward in several states; one such registry, in Suffolk County on Long Island, will become operational next week, reported the Times.
Jill Levenson, an associate professor of psychology at Lynn University in Florida, who has written extensively about sex offender registries, has noted that Department of Justice figures suggest that only 13 percent of new sex crimes are committed by known sex offenders, and that such crimes are at least six times more likely to be committed by other types of offenders who do not appear on any sex offender registry, reported the Times.
Only a handful of studies have so far examined the effect of registry and notification laws for sex offenders on recidivism, Dr. Levenson told the Times, “so far, the vast majority of those studies do not show a decrease in repeat sex offenses that can be attributed to sex offender registry or notification.”
Murderers have among the lowest rates of recidivism. Only about 1.2 percent of convicted murderers go on to commit another murder within three years of their release; roughly 35 percent commit other types of crimes within the same time period.
To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/21/us/21registry.html?_r=3&ref=us&pagewanted=print