Sex Offender Registry

Government Wants to Brand Sex Offenders on Their Passports

Shameful and unnecessary.

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Passport
Dreamstime

The government may start stamping "sex offender" on the passports of citizens who were convicted of a sex offense against a minor. Yes, that would include high school seniors who slept with their freshman girlfriends.

The rationale behind the International Megan's Law is that these people could be traveling for sex-trafficking purposes. (See Reason staff editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown's fantastic piece on the overblown myths about that crime.) But as I write in today's New York Post: "The problem is that the sex-offender label in no way reflects a person's risk of re-offending — or even whether they ever committed what I'd consider an actual sex crime." For instance, I don't think consensual teen sex is a crime.

What's more: 

The general belief is that sex offenders have one of the highest recidivism rates around — that they get out of prison only to offend again. Surprisingly, the opposite is true. A report by the Bureau of Justice followed almost 10,000 sex offenders after their release from prison. It found that 5.3 percent were rearrested for a sexcrime within three years. That means 95 percent of those labeled "sex offender" didn't re-offend — a recidivism rate lower than for any other crime except murder.

There are almost 850,000 Americans on the Sex Offender Registry, up from 750,000 just a few years ago.

About a quarter of them got on the list when they were juveniles themselves, because young people have sex with other young people. Labeling all of these offenders' passports means branding hundreds of thousands of citizens who won't commit another sex crime.

The branding—which already passed the Senate last month and is awaiting a vote in the House—will affect even Americans whose offenses aren't crimes in the countries they're trying to visit:

For instance, I have a friend who had sex, once, with a 14-year-old when he was 19. If he had done this in Austria, Germany, Portugal or Italy, it wouldn't have been a criminal act at all. The age of consent there is 14.

But here in America he went to prison — for nine years. He spent his 20s in a cell for one act of consensual sex between two teens, and now that he's out, he remains on the Sex Offender Registry for life. What a country!

If my friend's passport is stamped with "Sex Offender," any country he approaches will assume he's a monster trying to get in.

Oddly enough, that country won't be alerted if a visitor has served time for, say, mugging old ladies. No one's American passport will be stamped with "Drug Dealer" or "Drunk Driver" or even "First-Degree Murderer Who Used a Pitchfork!"

Call it the Scarlet "S.O." But considering there are already federal laws in place requiring registered sex offenders to notify the Department of Justice if they're traveling outside the U.S., what purpose does this shaming serve?   

Only to help politicians claim that they care about kids, even when the evidence shows they're doing nothing. Nothing, that is, except grandstanding. 

NEXT: Friday Funnies: ATF

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  1. The rationale behind the International Megan’s Law is that these people could be traveling for sex-trafficking purposes. (See Reason staff editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s fantastic piece on the overblown myths about that crime.)

    Overblown myths like Bill Clinton’s frequent trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s pedophile rape island?

    1. It’s only trafficking when they bring the kids to rape island. Clinton just visits.

    2. When does that little nugget become a campaign talking point, I wonder? And will it take a Trump-led ticket for it to happen? Because if so, I might vote for the fucker.

      1. Cruz might bring it up. Rubio probably worked there as a teen. Christie is too afraid to blow his invite. JEB! hasn’t read about it the paper yet. And Carson is too busy hanging with Black Jesus to care.

        1. You left out Rand! You fucking monster.

          1. He’s still running?

            1. He’s just waiting on the derp singularity in the debate he gets left out of, to destroy the aforementioned and pave the way to victory.

              It could happen!

              1. I want to see Rand go Trump-level crazy on Hilary. Just hit her constantly and hard. Just crack her. Get her to start screaming or have a stroke.

                1. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.

                  1. Last game of the season, you can’t hold anything back.

      2. It would actually take a Trump-led ticket, because he is the only one who will go after the Clintons without regard to phony concerns about propriety. I’m sure the Clintons were blindsided by Trump bringing up Bill’s treatment of women when Hillary tried to play the vagina card, because they know that no establishment Republican would ever go there.

        1. I don’t think propriety is the reason the other republicans won’t go there. I think the party elites are convinced bringing it up will just result in another Monica scandal that helps the Clintons. They’ve failed to notice how the Democrats young voters have no problem tar and feathering anyone accused of rape no matter what their status is as long as they are male. The defenses used by the Clintons last time around won’t play well with anyone but their opponents.
          Trump on the other hand knows how to have a pissing match. I don’t know if he realizes why the attack worked, but he knows how to double down when someone squeaks at a hit.

          1. They’ve failed to notice how the Democrats young voters have no problem tar and feathering anyone accused of rape no matter what their status is as long as they are male.

            Let’s wait and see on that one. I think your statement would have been more accurate if you had said “male and conservative”. They still consider Bill Clinton a progressive idol even though he’d have to run as a republican today.

            1. If Bernie weren’t a option I might agree, but the head of the DNC has been blatantly shilling for Hillary and she can’t get the majority of young female voters in her party to like the woman more than Bernie.

            2. Also, they recently took down that progressive PR Hero. It took years, but it was the young women that said fuck no to being asking for naked pictures at an interview. The older women just kept their mouths shut, until the young girls started pitching a fit.

      3. “And will it take a Trump-led ticket for it to happen?”

        Yes. I disagree with Trump on many political issues but I respect him. One reason I respect him is that, unlike most politicians, he is willing to tell it as he sees it. No other Republican candidate would go after Hillary for that. Trump would.

    3. That’s what’s known as a humanitarian mission.

  2. you US people need to get another passport. US is one of the worst. First FATCA makes you an international financial pariah and US global taxation is outrageous.

  3. Why do you want children to be raped Lenore? Why? Don’t you care about the children?!

  4. WHYCOME WE DON’T STAMP MOOSLUM ON DEYR PASSPORTS?!?

    1. THAT’S NOT HOW U SPEL TERRIST!!11!!!

    2. WHYCOME WE AIN’T STAMP PROGGIE ON THEM PASSPURT!?!

      1. Cosmodrome! Two yokels enter, one yokel leaves!

  5. But here in America he went to prison ? for nine years. He spent his 20s in a cell for one act of consensual sex between two teens, and now that he’s out, he remains on the Sex Offender Registry for life. What a country!

    Wait, so Yakov Smirnoff hangs around with registered sex offenders?

    1. I suppose you think unlimited Russian comic immigration is a good thing.

      1. I thought we reached Peak Russian Immigrant Comic in the early 80’s. Are you telling me that they’re like oil?

        1. Yes. Russian comics are created by bacterial action deep within the Earth’s stuffed crust.

          1. Earth’s stuffed crust? Next you’re going to claim it’s a deep dish planet

            1. If the Earth is flat, you’re on the bottom. Have fun on ButtEarf.

          2. ::sigh::

            I really expected a “greaseball” or possibly even a “bohunk” from that softball.

            It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.

            1. Look, if you don’t understand the SCIENCE maybe you should just bow out before you embarrass yourself.

    2. In Soviet Russia, sex offenders stamp you!

      1. im not sure what that means, but i like it

  6. We should list a person’s entire criminal past, sexual past, and their entire medical history on their passport as well. If you are coming into my country, friendo, I want to know whether or not you have been arrested for DUI, whether or not you have ever had a case of crabs, and I want to know if you are into Asians.

    1. If porn tells us anything, it is that virtually everyone is into Asians.

      1. You no what I would chip in for? An orgy with every race in it. We could call it a rainbow orgy or something. Maybe a buffet orgy.

        1. Good lord… Know not no

          1. Kumbaya

        2. It would really be inspiring to see the world come together!

    2. Don’t forget to add whether the passport owner owns guns.

  7. I bet the large “United States” stamped on the front would earn more ill will in many countries.

    1. In 2009 President Obama gave the “A New Beginning” speech in Cairo, a speech that mended America’s relationship with the Middle East, therefore re-gaining the world’s respect. So, I am pretty sure the United Stats does not earn any ill will anymore.

      1. United Stats. I like it. Our Top Men can use them to guide the country to prosperity.

  8. Wouldn’t it be even more saferer to require sex offenders to sew a large scarlet S on all of their clothing?

    1. Did you make that up yourself or is it from a book or something?

      1. Reading is for fags, NutraSweet. I got it from that movie where Demi Moore doesn’t get naked but Gary Oldman does.

  9. In case anybody on here was wondering if this was a left-right culture war issue, wonder no more.

    It passed the House 409-0.

    1. Not even Amash or Massie was there to vote against it?

      1. I was hoping they were among the 21 no-shows, but it looks like they both voted for it.

    2. Et turn Rohrabacher? I’m pleased Brat was a no show.

  10. There’s actually a tradition of this.

    1. Where’s Aldo Raine when we need him?

  11. Fun Facts

    If you’ve ever been convicted of a DUI, Canada doesn’t want your tourism dollars

    A person may be denied a visa, or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), refused entry to, or removed from Canada on any of these grounds:

    security reasons, including
    espionage
    subversion (attempts to overthrow a government, etc.)
    violence or terrorism, or
    membership in an organization involved in any of these
    human or international rights violations, including
    war crimes
    crimes against humanity
    being a senior official in a government engaged in gross human rights violations or subject to international sanctions
    committing a serious crime that would be punishable by a maximum prison term of at least 10 years in
    having been convicted of a crime, including driving while under the influence of drugs or
    organized crime, including membership in an organization that takes part in organized criminal activity, people smuggling or money laundering
    health grounds ? if their condition is likely to:
    endanger public health or public safety, or
    cause excessive demands on health or social services
    financial reasons ? if they are unable or unwilling to support themselves and their family members
    misrepresentation, which includes providing false information or withholding information directly related to decisions made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
    failure to comply with any provision of IRPAFootnote 4 or
    having an inadmissible family member.

    1. That’s actually supposed to say drugs or alcohol.

      Bah, link here

  12. We had a sex offender at our seder.

  13. I’m with you on this… but :

    It found that 5.3 percent were rearrested for a sexcrime within three years. That means 95 percent of those labeled “sex offender” didn’t re-offend…

    It does not mean anything of the sort. I think it’s reasonable to assume that some…even many, didnt get caught.

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