Sex Crimes Under Florida Law

Sex Offender Registration has Dire Consequences for Juveniles

By Nathan Ryan LaBar | Criminal Defense Attorney
Published: 2013

Since the 1990s, every state in the U.S. has had laws requiring those convicted of certain sex offenses to register with local law enforcement and obligating police to make the information on the registries public. Many states, and some municipalities and counties within states, have laws prohibiting those on their sex offender registries from living in certain areas near schools, parks or other areas children frequent. These laws do not exclude juveniles convicted of sex offenses from registry requirements. A report from Human Rights Watch issued in May 2013 revealed the damage that being included on sex offender registries can do to juvenile offenders.

More harm than good

Over the course of 16 months, researchers from Human Rights Watch interviewed 281 juveniles who were registered sex offenders from 20 states across the U.S. The median age of those interviewed at the time they committed their offenses was 15 years old. The offenses that the juveniles committed ranged in severity from relatively minor, such as public urination or streaking, to very serious crimes like rape. Researchers also interviewed hundreds of offenders' family members, judges, police officers, sex offender experts, attorney and law enforcement members to gather information.

The report concluded that including juvenile offenders on sex offender registries ultimately does more harm than good. While the sex offender registration and public notification laws are intended to protect society, these laws end up running the lives of juveniles on the registries. They are subject to harassment and even vigilante violence. They have difficulty completing their educations, as they are often prohibited from being in schools because they are registered sex offenders. They also have difficulties obtaining employment and housing later in life. Many become depressed and suicidal. Some juvenile offenders end up killing themselves because they cannot handle the strain.

Preventing recidivism?

Sex offender registries are intended to help police prevent future sex offenses by monitoring past sex offenders. The authors of the report say that including juveniles on sex offender registries is based on faulty assumptions that teenagers are the same as adults in their likelihood to reoffend. The report cites studies that show that because of the psychological and neurological developmental stage of teenagers, they are more likely to act impulsively and irrationally than adults. Many of those who are on sex offender registries for acts committed as juveniles continue to suffer the consequences long after they have matured and are in better control of themselves - and no longer pose a threat.

Teens also respond better to treatment and rehabilitation than adults do. With proper intervention, teens are less likely to reoffend. The report stated that the recidivism rate for juveniles on the sex offender registry was between 4 and 10 percent, compared with about 13 percent among adults on the sex offender registry and 45 percent for all crime.

Contact our Experienced Juvenile Defense Attorney

The consequences of being convicted of a sex offense can be devastating. In addition to jail time and fines, obligations to register as a sex offender can ruin people's lives. If you are facing sex offense charges, seek the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney who will vigorously defend your rights. Our Central Florida juvenile defense attorney Ryan LaBar have helped many clients in the past and would be honored to help you too. Please call us today at 1-866-680-4LAW for a free initial consultation. You may also fill out our online form and one of our experienced juvenile defense attorneys will contact you shortly. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your child's situation and will keep all your information confidential.


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