Saturday, May 06, 2006

Congressional oversight

Thinking about that bill that's gone through both the House and Senate, albeit in slightly different forms, it quickly struck me (though I didn't have time to post until now): Re-registering (really reconfirming registration information) in person does absolutely nothing to confirm the registrant's current address, unlike mail (which at the very least requires cooperation with an actual resident at the postal address). All one gets is the declarant's assertion that he in fact is living at the claimed address. But he could be easily living in the next county or state over.

There is another element to this. Everyone recognizes that not all released sex offenders are complying with the registration requirements. But at the same time, many of them (from 50% to 90%, depending on the jurisdiction and the presence of other factors such as the NIMBY, feel-good, useless and counter-productive "zoning laws") are.

The re-confirmation requirements of this bill will do nothing to make the scofflaws repent, but it will send a powerfully strong message to those who are working to "go straight", to wit:

No amount of repentance and good behavior will prevent things from getting worse for you.

With that as an expressed and personally-felt reality, what incentive is there to live within the law? Things are getting worse and there is no way to avoid them -- so long you live within the law; the better way is "outside."

Congress and enough of the American public seem to be much too readily lured by Kipling's "loudest throat." They're decreasing, not increasing, public safety.


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