There are currently more than 200,000 people who are listed for life on sex offender registries for acts committed when they were children. There are widely documented negative and lifelong consequences for youth placed on registries that seriously affect social, physical, and cognitive development and mental health. These youth are trapped in a broad net that was cast more than 30 years ago, when less was known about the extremely low recidivism rate of youth who act out sexually, and during a period when the United States was politically tough on crime. In this session, we will review the research on juveniles who act out sexually from clinical, legal and policy perspectives. We will introduce the public policy concept of ‘crime control theater’: laws with no demonstratable effect that are too popular with the public to repeal. We will present preliminary results of data looking at trends in juvenile sex -related charges in a state where youth are no longer placed on registries and conclude with specific calls to action for advocates.
Area of Focus
Child Sexual Abuse