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Georgia Mayor Has Plan To Round Up Town's Sex Offenders on Halloween

Another Halloween, another unfounded freak-out over sex offenders.

Johannes Schmitt-Tegge/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomJohannes Schmitt-Tegge/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomA small-town Georgia mayor plans on confining the town's sex offenders to city hall for Halloween night, despite evidence that there's no spike in sex crimes against children on the holiday.

"In order to ensure the safety of our children, all sex offenders in the City of Grovetown area will be housed in the Council Chambers on Halloween night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.," Grovetown mayor Gary Jones announced on Facebook Monday morning. "There are approximately 25-30 offenders and they will be overseen by 4 officers from Georgia Probation Department and one Grovetown officer."

The policy will only apply to offenders who are on probation, not all registered sex offenders in the town (a move that would have almost surely been illegal).

In any case, the move is yet another hysterical response to a largely mythical fear: the incurable and irrepressible pedophile who targets random children on Halloween.

The thing is, data just doesn't back up those fears. Study after study has found that same-crime recidivism rates for sex offenders hover between 3 and 4 percent, lower than other types of crime and nowhere near the 80 percent rate once falsely cited by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, for instance.

As Reason's Lenore Skenazy recently wrote about Patch.com's regrettable tradition of publishing the addresses of sex offenders on Halloween, there's also no evidence that sex crimes against children rise on Halloween:

[A] thorough study of 67,000 cases of child molestation found zero increase in sex crimes against children on Halloween.

The vast majority of crimes against children are not committed by strangers, but by people close to the kids. Stranger danger is actually pointing worried parents in the wrong direction.

What's more, sex offenders are not especially likely to go after kids on Halloween. Contrary to popular belief, "across the board the majority of sexual offenders do not go on to reoffend," says Jill Levenson, a professor of social work who has studied Halloween crime.

"The research is very clear: There's no increased risk to children on Halloween," says Sandy Rozek, communications director for the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws. "Virtually all sexual offenses against children are committed by those in their lives, those they already know or are close to—often family members, peers, and authority figures."

But the lack of data—or the data flat-out contradicting popular belief, to be more precise—hasn't stopped public officials from thinking about the children.

For example, because of Miami-Dade County's incredibly broad restrictions on where sex offenders may live, many have been forced to survive in constantly shifting homeless camps, hounded by police from location to ever-more-remote location.

As The Washington Post's Radley Balko wrote last year, there is something fundamentally at odds with our concept of justice in America to release sex offenders from prison, which for every other type of offender signals that they have paid their debt to society, and then continue to punish them in perpetuity:

There isn't much sympathy out there for sex offenders. But if the public wants to prioritize retributive justice over all else and put every sex offender away for life after the first offense, then let's have that debate. I wouldn't favor that approach. But that at least is a much more honest discussion than how we've approached this issue for the past 30 years or so. What we've done instead is allowed sex offenders to be "released" from prison, but then made it impossible for them to live anything resembling normal lives. Casting them off and marginalizing them after they're out, regardless of the nature of their crimes, isn't just cruel; it doesn't make society any safer, either.

Who cares about nerdy studies and abstract concepts of justice, though, when you can fear-monger on the spookiest of nights? It's a surefire recipe for votes, but not much else.

Photo Credit: Johannes Schmitt-Tegge/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In order to ensure the safety of our children, all sex offenders in the City of Grovetown area will be housed in the Council Chambers on Halloween night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m....

    Crowding out the offenders who usually inhabit the space.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "Crowding out the offenders who usually inhabit the space."

    I think he simply called a City Council meeting for those hours. Get the offenders off the streets and get a little business done at the same time. Two birds, one stone...…..

  • Juice||

    A small-town Georgia mayor screams "LOOK AT ME!!"

  • Juice||

    all sex offenders in the City of Grovetown area will be housed in the Council Chambers on Halloween night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    By the way, is this legal?

  • darkflame||

    Since its only the ones on probation, possibly. Probation give the govt a lotta room to screw with you.

  • Juice||

    Ah, I didn't catch that part.

  • James Pollock||

    That part wasn't featured very prominently. It's certainly not in anything the Mayor's putting out.

  • Whorton||

    " It's certainly not in anything the Mayor's putting out."

    Clever choice of words there!

  • WC46||

    The rationale is that it's no different than requiring them to report to their officers at any other time. The only thing different is that they are being held for 3 or 4 hours.

  • WC46||

    The rationale is that it's no different than requiring them to report to their officers at any other time. The only thing different is that they are being held for 3 or 4 hours.

  • n00bdragon||

    He will make it legal.

  • Tony||

    Well that could be a fun night for them.

  • ||

    It sounds like the plot to a bad horror film.

    They really should consider housing them at the local High School gymnasium or the abandoned camp grounds near Crystal Lake.

    I've got to admit that the idea is so bad that if the lights go out and it turns into a bloodbath, I'm going to have to stifle laughter.

  • Eddy||

    Please, the safest place to detain them is the abandoned fairgrounds just on the edge of town, you know, the one with the Hall of Mirrors so the offenders can be seen better.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tomy, does your town do anything with you? Or have you not been caught yet?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Tony may be a jerk (like this Mayor), but I know of no evidence that he is a sex offender, much less one on probation. Of course the broad standards for what gets a person on a 'sex offender registry' combined with the near impossibility of getting OFF one make it quite possible that he is on such a registry, and doesn't even know why.

  • Rich||

    there is something fundamentally at odds with our concept of justice in America to release sex offenders from prison, which for every other type of offender signals that they have paid their debt to society, and then continue to punish them in perpetuity

    Exactly. Force *every* convicted person to be tracked forever, starting with criminal legislators.

  • 1980-f||

    "there is something fundamentally at odds with our concept of justice in America to release sex offenders from prison" is what most Americans believe, I think.

  • ||

    "In order to ensure the safety of our children, all sex offenders in the City of Grovetown area will be housed in the Council Chambers on Halloween night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.," Grovetown mayor Gary Jones announced on Facebook Monday morning. "There are approximately 25-30 offenders and they will be overseen by 4 officers from Georgia Probation Department and one Grovetown officer."

    The policy will only apply to offenders who are on probation, not all registered sex offenders in the town (a move that would have almost surely been illegal).

    Realizing that the fictional 'Arkham Asylum' didn't bring violent felons together frequently enough nor re-release them onto an unsuspecting populace often enough, the Mayor of Grovetown came up with a different scheme...

  • Eddy||

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

  • BigT||

    "Who cares about nerdy studies and abstract concepts of science, though, when you can fear-monger day and night all year round, like the AGW crowd."

  • Trigger Warning||

    C.J. C'mere. I gotta special lollipop for ya. Gonna show ya how to turn a trick into a treat.

  • Longtobefree||

    How about just cancel allowing masked vandals and panhandlers to roam freely one night a year?
    How about that?

  • Eddy||

    How else are people supposed to celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest's birthday?

  • Whorton||

    You mean kids still go door to door? The Midwestern town where I live has not had trick or treaters in several years. Maybe it's just the name of the town, Haddonville, Ill. . .

  • Robert||

    I'm just sad a small town has 25-30 on probation for sex offenses alone.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Yes, I'm sure the chamber of commerce is pleased this info is nationwide now.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Not all sex offenses are the same.

    Furthermore, the sex registry is unconstitutional.

    This is an example of why.

    The constitution specifically prohibits bills of attainder.

  • WC46||

    Explain how the registry is a bill of attainder.

    A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial. As with attainder resulting from the normal judicial process, the effect of such a bill is to nullify the targeted person's civil rights, most notably the right to own property (and thus pass it on to heirs), the right to a title of nobility, and, in at least the original usage, the right to life itself.

    Those who committed sexual offenses and either plead guilty, nolo contendere, or were found guilty by bench or jury trial went through court. I can see ex post facto violations for those who have been retroactively added to the registry, but those who either plead out or went to court were not declared guilty without a trial.

    I am totally against the registry in all its forms and for any reason. I just want to know how the registry is a bill of attainder.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Just remember that Georgia has plenty of old Democrats who love that power trip.

    We call them RINOs simce they are so different from Republicans and Libertarians in Georgia.

  • ||

    I wonder -- do any of those officials have a drug possession charge in their history, or perhaps have admitted to using drugs when younger? Would they be okay with being held against their will on April 20th, to ensure they aren't recidivists?

  • FlameCCT||

    I get your point however I doubt any of them are on probation.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Lock them up with the politicians.

  • cheapmcmbelt||

    I agree!!! You can discuss with other side. That's how you learn and expand your view points. http://www.mkoutletfire.com/mi.....-blue.html

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