Washington was the first state to create a sex offender registry so the community would know when such offenders would be released from prison. I’ve often wondered if there are other serious crimes that our lawmakers might require offenders to register for upon their release from prison.
Turns out there already is one: Arson.
According to the Associated Press, California, Illinois and Montana already maintain a database of convicted arsonists that helps law enforcement keep track of them. Not quite a community notification system, but a definite clampdown on those convicted of a specific crime nonetheless.
Following some devastating California fires, the state’s senators are proposing a federal registry to keep an eye on serial arsonists.
“It’s not going to solve every arson-related thing. It’s not meant to do that,” William Soqui, chief of the fire department in Cathedral City, Calif. told the Associated Press. “It’s meant to give investigators another tool, to help them narrow down the list of suspects and to keep track of these people who have been convicted of a crime.”
Photo by Larry Steagall of the Kitsap Sun. (No, it’s not an arson fire.)