Tracking sex offenders the hard way - Macleans.ca
 

Tracking sex offenders the hard way

Police are hampered by holes in the sex-offender legislation


 

Tracking sex offenders the hard way

One of the problems plaguing Canada’s national sex offender registry is that the database has no idea if an offender is following the rules. Everyone on the list—almost 22,000 names—is supposed to check in with police once a year, if they move, or take a long vacation. But for reasons that defy logic, the legislation that created the registry doesn’t actually allow the RCMP to record an offender’s next reporting date. To compensate, officers across the country have been forced to invent completely separate tracking systems. Some provinces use Excel spreadsheets to monitor rapists and pedophiles. Others rely on an old-fashioned Rolodex.

Those index cards seemed destined for the garbage bin in June, when the Conservatives introduced Bill C-34, a law that would finally grant police the power to input crucial tracking information directly onto the registry. Unfortunately, when Parliament prorogued in December, the bill died with it. Which means—yet again—repairs to the registry will have to wait.

In the meantime, though, the RCMP can celebrate one thing: despite those Rolodexes, compliance rates have actually improved. According to the latest numbers, 95 per cent of registered sex offenders are doing what they’re told, up from 92 per cent in 2007. Three years ago, when the system contained close to 16,000 entries, 1,270 were non-compliant. Today, as the total climbs above 22,000, only 979 are unaccounted for.

Why the improvement? Pierre Nezan, the Mountie in charge of the registry, credits his front-line officers, who—despite the obvious glitches—are determined to chase down the violators. “We’re working with what we have,” he says. “Over the last several months there has been some movement to change all this, and I’m hopeful it’s going to happen. But my crystal ball is as good as yours.”


 

Tracking sex offenders the hard way

  1. The links above contain ' ) ' at the end. Remove it for viewing.

  2. Many people say sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated. However, the Texas State Auditor in 2007 released a report showing that sex offenders who completed the Texas Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) were 61% LESS LIKELY to commit a new crime. That seems to show promise.

    After all, in 2002, the US Dept. of Justice reported that only 5% of sex offenders released in 1994 returned to prison for a new sex crime.

  3. The United States Department of Justice, because of many of the newer laws having to do with sex offenders, has actually taken a look at the recidivism rate of that population as a group. And contrary to public misperception, contrary to what's driving most of the current legislation, as a group, sex offenders actually have a lower rate or recidivism than people who commit other crimes of serious criminal acts and that's quite different from what most people tend to presume.

    Dr. Fred Berlin, head of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic in Baltimore, published a large study – now I'm talking about men in treatment – of over 600 individuals who, in the past, committed significant sexual offenses. It was a relatively short-term follow up of a little bit over five years, but during that five year period better than 90 percent of the of men who were in treatment were not accused of a subsequent sexual offense.

    Dr. Berlin: "Now, we may have missed a few things, but that's a far cry again from the common public misperception that most of these men would quickly get back into trouble. That simply wasn't the case. I believe that many of these individuals who did succeed did so because they could get a fresh start, they were accepted in their communities, they could work, they weren't feeling stigmatized. And to the extent that some of this new laws are going to interfere with them being able to do that, inadvertently they can actually be counterproductive, making the situation for society, in some cases, perhaps even worse rather than better".

    My question is this: Why have I never heard of the media performing some investigative journalism that served to bring the above facts to light..?

  4. I don't see no links. Where are they?

  5. Take a look at our website and you'll get all the information you want and the links to all sources cited.

    Would it surprise you to know that most sex offenses are committed by first-time offenders? Did you know that treatment for former offenders has proven effective and that most sex offenders, once treated, never commit another
    crime? Did you also know that making it more difficult for former offender to reintegrate into society increases the
    potential for recidivism?

    Would you like more *FACTS* and would you like our politicians to base their legislation on facts such as these, rather than their desire to garner votes by looking tough on crime? If so, look at this website:

  6. www [dot] canadiansforajustsociety [dot] webs [dot] com