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Registration laws should be narrowed in scope and duration.
Publicly accessible online registries should be eliminated, and community notification should be accomplished solely by law enforcement officials.
Human Rights Watch would like to thank all of the survivors of sexual violence, former offenders and their families, social workers, advocates, law enforcement officials, and attorneys who shared their experiences and perspective with us for this report.
We are especially grateful to those who trusted us with very painful and personal stories.
Zama Coursen-Neff, acting deputy director of the Children's Rights Division and Janet Walsh, acting director of the Women's Rights Division, reviewed the report. What happened to nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford is every parent's worst nightmare.It has made me rethink the value of broad-based community notification laws, which operate on the assumption that most sex offenders are high-risk dangers to the community they are released into.The justifications offered for sex offender laws focus on sexually violent offenders.Promoting public safety by holding offenders accountable and by instituting effective crime prevention measures is a core governmental obligation.The evidence is overwhelming, as detailed in this report, that these laws cause great harm to the people subject to them.