In the never-ending quest to get tougher on sex offenders, the governor signed into a law a rule requiring sex offenders to get their pictures taken when they change their appearance, such as growing a beard. State officials sent out press releases about this will make New Yorkers safer.
It’s a solution in search of a problem.
The state cites the case of a Utica killing as justification. A serial rapist just released from prison raped and murdered a woman after changing his appearance and eluding authorities for a few weeks.
Would this terrible tragedy have been prevented if he knew he faced a penalty for not first telling police he grew a beard?
The law assumes the sex offender registries are already preventing crimes, presumably from an alert public that checks the database every time a new guy moves into the neighborhood. Studies show public sex offender registries have no such benefit and may actually increase recidivism.
But we don’t like to talk about whether sex offender crackdowns really work. They’re sex offenders, so who cares if they have to jump through another hoop? We should care because our tax dollars and public safety resources are being used for programs that may not work. What’s more, they’re being used to promote politicians and give a (false?) sense of security to the public.
Another law announced that requires review of sex offenders’ parole transcripts for mental health fitness, sounds much more worthwhile.
Links of the Day:
- Research shows cyberbullying isn’t that common. Someone alert the media and politicians, please.
- RIT dropped the word “Print” from the name its media school.
- Ryan Lochte is coming home with five medals. Why isn’t that enough?