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(Washington, DC) – Harsh public registration laws often punish youth sex offenders for life and do little to protect public safety, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. A web of federal and state laws apply to people under 18 who have committed any of a wide range of sex offenses, from the very serious, like rape, to the relatively innocuous, such as public nudity.
The 111-page report, “Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US,” details the harm public registration laws cause for youth sex offenders. The laws, which can apply for decades or even a lifetime and are layered on top of time in prison or juvenile detention, require placing offenders’ personal information on online registries, often making them targets for harassment, humiliation, and even violence. The laws also severely restrict where, and with whom, youth sex offenders may live, work, attend school, or even spend time.
“Of course anyone responsible for a sexual assault should be held accountable,” said Nicole Pittman, Soros Senior Justice Advocacy Fellow at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “But punishment should fit both the offense and the offender, and placing children who commit sex offenses on a public registry – often for life – can cause more harm than good.”
For more information, visit HRW website: www.hrw.org