But I believe close to 95 percent of registered sex offenders in Colorado have only one offense — and it could be as high as 98 percent. So the myth of recidivism is just that: a myth. In fact, the recidivism rate for sex offenders turns out to be one of the lowest recidivism rates for any class of felons.
Texas Public Sex Offender Registry
That's a 40 percent recidivism rate. So if you want to put a class of criminal on a registry and publish their pictures and addresses online, why don't you register drunk drivers?
They're much more likely from a statistical standpoint to kill children in their neighborhood than a sex offender who's completed his sentence. He's as unlikely to offend as his other neighbors.
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
The courts strike Ruttenberg as the likeliest venue for change in regard to the registry, since a legislative fix is made difficult by political realities. All it does is burden the taxpayers. But even though I think there's a lot of sympathy in the legislature to reform the way we treat sex offenders, as soon as somebody tries, they become targets. Mike Coffman's opponent in the last election [Morgan Carroll] tried to reform some sex-offender laws, but he ran on a platform that she was this 'friend of dangerous sex offenders' and she didn't care about public safety.
So the legislature isn't going to step up, because of this perception in the community. In the meantime, Ruttenberg maintains, the sex-offender statutes are causing a whole range of problems related to the prison system.
The only issue is if they will ever get paroled or if they're going to be on probation for the rest of their lives. That makes it more difficult to get paroled, and as a result, the Department of Corrections has been slowly filling up with all of these sex offenders who can't get paroled. You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter s - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in! She estimates that "50 percent of the male inmates in the Department of Corrections are now sex offenders who don't have a mandatory parole date, and the State of Colorado is running out of resources.
As a result, we're seeing more violent, habitual criminals who don't have a sex offense but have repeated aggravated robberies, burglaries, assaults and kidnappings being paroled at an unprecedented rate to make room for all these low-level sex offenders who can't get paroled. This last assertion is controversial, Ruttenberg concedes.
Federal Judge in Colorado Rules that the Sex Offender Registry is Unconstitutional
You have to look behind the numbers. But a lot of these problems are just a terrible and unintended result of this horrific statute that went into effect nineteen years ago. Thus far, the Colorado Attorney General's Office hasn't announced whether it plans to appeal Judge Matsch's decision — but Ruttenberg is ready if this step is taken.
For now, she says, "I'm hoping to educate the public a little bit, so they won't be so frightened of these people, and won't continue to harass my clients and their family members. Because these aren't dangerous people. You can always find an example in the news, such as the man who murdered Polly Klaas , of a scary sex offender. But as a class of offenders, they aren't what's making the community unsafe.
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