The Georgia sex offender registry was known as being one of the most all-encompassing in the nation. New changes recently made, however, are allowing some offenders to get their named removed from the list and move on with their life. In an effort to save law enforcement time and money, some low risk offenders will no longer be required to register and others can petition the court to have their name removed on a case by case basis.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution tells one story of a man, convicted in 1993 of breaking into a home to rob it. While inside he told a young boy to lay on the ground. This simple instruction qualified as false imprisonment of a child and landed him a spot on the registry.
The sex offender registry is designed to keep certain offenders under the watchful eye of the state. Regardless of the fact that studies have shown these registries to be largely ineffective, they are present across the country. The crimes that earn you a place on the registry vary from state to state, however.
The new legislation, which took effect at the end of last year, removed offenses like the one described above from the registration requirements. Other low level offenders, who can justify their removal to a judge, can also get their names removed.
The stigma of being labeled a sex offender can cripple attempts to get employment and find suitable housing. This isn’t only because people are wary of the designation, but also because the registration requirements have standards that keep offenders from living within a certain distance of schools or other places where children are present.
No one wants to put the public, especially children, at a risk of victimization. But, there comes a point when local and state governments must take a hard look at their practices to determine if the outcome is worth the cost.
In this case, the cost is in the form of supervising all of the offenders on the registry. Because so many were placed on it, this cost was high. But the cost was also high for the offenders, particularly those whose offenses wouldn’t be considered particularly dangerous, and not all registered sex offenders are a real threat to public safety.
For those whose offenses still require registration, they can petition the court after 10 years have passed since they completed prison, parole or probation. They also must be classified as a Level 1 or low-risk offender and the judge has to agree that the particular offender deserves being released from the registry.
Sex offenses are unique and are particularly difficult for everyone involved. If you are accused of such an offense, the stigma associated with it is apparent long before you even have your trial. Contact our offices today to discuss the charges against you and how we might be able to help.