Frequently Asked Questions – General

 

Is the registry helpful to me as a citizen in knowing whom I should fear?

The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence favors risk-assessments for labeling because “over-inclusive public notification can actually be harmful to public safety by diluting the ability to identify the most dangerous offenders and by disrupting the stability of low-risk offenders in ways that increase their risk of re-offense.” (National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Community Management of Convicted Sex Offenders – Policy Summary, http://endsexualviolence.org/2009/?page_id=87)

The overly-broad inclusion of individuals on Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry (MSOR) places an undue burden on law enforcement and our criminal justice system while failing to meet articulated policy goals.  This takes precious time and resources away from the monitoring of those at greatest risk, and the implementation of more effective means of sexual abuse prevention.

How does Michigan’s registry compare to other states?

Michigan’s SOR contains over 42,000 persons, which is more than 2 times as many as Ohio and Pennsylvania and almost twice that of Illinois and each of these states have a larger population than Michigan. (MSP SOR Backgrounder Information 11/2014)

Doesn’t Michigan’s registry only include vicious and predatory, or repeat offenders?

No.  Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry (MSOR) includes far too many individuals at lowest-risk for re-offense, including but not limited to juveniles, teenagers who had consensual relationships and those who have no conviction on their record. (Michigan’s Sex Offenders Registration Act, MSORA)

At what age can one be added to Michigan’s registry?

Juveniles as young as 14 are added to the registry and ALL juveniles required to register must register for LIFE.

How, if at all, are juveniles treated differently in regards to registration?

For the most part, juveniles are not treated any different than adults.  They still have an obligation to fulfill the same registration requirement as adults, and must abide by related laws that apply to registered offenders. (U.S. Department of Justice (OSDO), Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000)

Who is on the “public” vs “non-public” registry?

All of those convicted as adults are on the public internet website, except for some Tier 1 registrants.

Registry information about adjudicated juveniles is not made public on the internet website, but they are still required to abide by all registration requirements for LIFE.

Are there individuals on the registry who do not have a conviction on their record?

Yes.  Michigan places juveniles 14 or older, adjudicated for a registerable offense, on the registry.  Individuals who have had a record set-aside are on the registry. Those assigned under HYTA (Holmes Youthful Trainee Act) for an offense prior to 10/1/04, and have never had a conviction on their record, are still required to register.

Are most offenses committed by strangers?

No.  Studies have found that 93% of child sexual abuse victims are molested not by strangers but by family members or other persons they know and trust. (U.S. Department of Justice (OSDO), Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000 )

 “The myth that stranger danger is rampant and is somehow controlled by public sex offender registries is incorrect and gives parents a false sense of security.” (Amy Baron-Evans, 2008, Still Time to Rethink the Misguided Approach of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 20 Federal Sentencing Reporter, p 359)

How often do offenses occur within 1,000 ft. of a school?

A study by the Minnesota Dept. of Corrections, conducted to determine the efficacy of residency restriction laws for sex offenders, found that no relationship existed between sex offense recidivism and the proximity of sex offenders’ residences to school or other places where children congregate. (Minnesota Department of Corrections, Residential Proximity & Sex Offense Recidivism in Minnesota, 2007)

Are risk assessments used to determine if someone should be on the registry?

In some states, but NOT in Michigan, Michigan’s SOR mandates that the criminal statute for an offense be used to determine if registration is required, and is not based on actual risk to re-offend.

If a person successful completes treatment and is evaluated and found to be at lowest-risk for re-offense, can they be removed from the MSOR?

No.  Michigan’s current registration process does not utilize risk assessment or successful completion of treatment as criteria to determine if registration should or should not continue.

Studies have shown that offense-based risk categorization (which is what Michigan uses) of offenders has an inverse relationship to assessed risk and actual re-offense rates. (Freeman and Sandler, 2009, The Adam Walsh Act – A False Sense of Security or an Effective Public Policy Initiative)