This legislation would impose requirements on past offenders who were not previously subject to registration and notification. This and other aspects of the bill raise numerous constitutional concerns for the ACLU and the RI Public Defender’s Office. Under current state law, offenders are classified based on a variety of factors and risk assessment evaluations. This bill would classify the offender’s risk based solely on the offense for which he or she was convicted.
As our testimony explains, sex offender registries are built on myth. First, sex offenders are not more likely to reoffend than other criminal offenders. Second, family members or friends or acquaintances, not strangers, commit the overwhelming majority of incidents of child sex abuse. Finally, exhaustive studies have found public registries to have little or no impact on reducing crime rates for these offenses. No further action was taken on this legislation.