Should violent offenders have to register separately?

In my last post I made reference to violent offenders being able to live where sex offenders cannot. This apparently is not true everywhere! In Illinois, apparently, people convicted of violent crimes against minors have had to register on the sex offender list when they get out of prison. They have been subjected to the same restrictions that sex offenders have been living with. Illinois General Assembly recently passed legislation that would require these violent offenders to register on a separate list. An Associated Press article on the Yahoo! News page noted some interesting reactions:

1. A recently released convict is relieved that he will be able to get off the sex offender registry. He says “It’s a big weight off my back” when explaining his relief at only being considered a violent offender (this may in part be because people on this new list will not be subject to the same residency restrictions as sex offenders).

2. An advocate for sex offender registries believes that they are more effective when plain old violent criminals are not on them: “Somehow if it’s not (only sex offenders), it takes away the impact and the ability for the community to really recognize the type of danger that they’re dealing with,” she said. (Note to self: It’s much more serious to be sexually assaulted than to be murdered as a child).

And it’s also interesting that only those whose violence is directed at children who will be required to register. Assault an adult and you serve your time and its forgotten. But if you’re 19 and you beat up a 16 year old, you go on the list.

What would it take to get sensible, consistent policies passed that put sex, violence and lifestage in rational perspective?

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