The ‘Registry’ Phenomenon: How Far Should it Go?

In December, we wrote about the limits of sex offender registries. Basically, where should policy makers draw the line when deciding which offenders should be tracked years after they’ve served their prison sentences?

Currently in Washington, we have only a registry for sex and kidnapping offenders. But other states have proposed setting up registries for various crimes. That means that after they’ve done their time, certain offenders must disclose their addresses to authorities and can be monitored more closely.

Federally, there has been talk of an arson registry. In Nevada, felons are registered. In Suffolk County, N.Y, animal cruelty convicts are.

And just this month, Connecticut lawmakers started looking at a registry for gun offenders, according to the Hartford Courant.

At the crime in America symposium I attended in New York, Ohio State University Professor Douglas Berman posited that sex offenders are the “canary in the coal mine,” with regard to registering. They were the first required to do so — and it appears that they won’t be the last.

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