Roughly 200,000 people are on the sex offender registry for something they did as a child, as young as age nine. Some committed serious offenses. But pulling down a classmate’s pants or having sex underage can also land you on the registry, with devastating consequences. Sex offenders must steer clear of churches, parks, and schools. They must keep law enforcement constantly informed of their whereabouts. Their photographs and personal information are often public. And they can remain on the list for decades, even life. Critics say the registry does profound, lasting damage to kids who are placed on it, while failing to protect public safety. Is it time for reform?
Nicole Pittman, founder of the Center on Youth Registration Reform
Elizabeth Letourneau, Director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health