Registration requirements for sex offenders in Virginia Essay

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR SEX OFFENDERS IN VIRGINIA

State regulations that are specific to registration of the sex offender in Virginia.
An individual convicted on or after July 1, 1994 for a sexual offense should register and reregister in the Virginia State Police and will be included in the Public Notification Database.

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The following information are required from the convicted sex offender: fingerprints, latest photograph, DOB, SSN, complete address of residence, place of employment and a description of the offense for which the individual is was convicted, email address, and the institution of higher learning both that the individual attends (if applicable). Also, any changes in the information regarding the individual, he/she must duly notify the Virginia State Police within three days from the occurrence of the said changes.

It is the responsibility of the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) of the Virginia Department of State Police to notify those who are conducting any forms of child-minding services, elementary and secondary schools, and foster homes of the registration of a sex offender residing within the same or contiguous zip code.

            The frequency of registration of an individual is dependent on the severity of the sexual offense that he/she was convicted. For Tier 3 violent sex offense, the individual must re-register with the state police every 90 days for the rest of their lives. For Tier 2 or federal offenses involving a minor in sex trafficking; transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; abusive sexual contact, solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution, or production or distribution of child pornography, the individual must re-register every 180 days for 25 years. Tier 1 offenders or those convicted of lesser sexual crimes, must re-register once a year for 15 years.

State the procedural guidelines related to the implementation of the registration/publication program (how long they have to register? Who pays for registration/publication?).
An individual must register upon conviction and/or suspension of sentence. The registration should be accomplished within three days of release, establishing new residence, or changing address. The state of Virginia claims full responsibility of any cost that might be incurred in the registration or publication of the information regarding the sex offender. If in the event that the offender is to move out of Virginia, the offender must report to their local law enforcement agency where he will resides and must complete a registration form 10 days prior to moving in to the new area of residence.

What are the penalties for noncompliance?
If an individual, who is a convicted sex offender intentionally failed to register or reregister, or deliberately provided false information to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry as is required by the law, will be charged with Class 6 felony. For class 6 felony, the court may decide between one to five years of imprisonment or jail sentence of 12 months and a fine of 2,500 US dollars.

Are there constitutional challenges and concerns?
The government claims that the purpose of sex offender registration is to prevent the convicted sexual offender to commit another sex related crime again. The justice department terms this as recidivism rate or the tendency on an individual to lapse into a previous behavior. As for the case of the sexual offenders, their tendency to commit another sex crime. Some argue that according to a recent study by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, in a span of three years,  44.1 percent of released sex offenders had no further criminal case after their conviction, compared to 22.2 percent recidivism rate of offenders of other crimes. If this is the case that sexual offenders rarely lapse to their old behavior, then sexual registration merely adds shame and dishonor to the individual. The registration also meant that the individual can not start afresh. There will always be a stigma to the individual that might prevent him/her to get a new job or to settle into a new community.

Give your opinion about whether the legislation regulating sex offender registration/publication is constitutional.
Sexual Registration adds stigma to the individual. Granted that the individual was guilty of his/her first crime, the registration system simply says that the individual will again commit another sexual crime. This system, in a way, already puts a label on the individual even before the crime is committed. In a way, this form of labeling or stigma to a person, is like branding an individual guilty even before an offense is committed.

Moreover, the publication of the details of the convicted sexual offender is a breach of that individual’s privacy. All the personal contact details are available for everyone to see. A convicted individual may lose some of his/her rights during his incarceration but the moment that the individual has met out his/her sentence, his/her rights must also be restored, including privacy rights.

Works Cited

Dorren, D. (2002). Evaluating Sex Offenders (Practical Aspects of Assessing & Treating). CA: Sage Publications.

Flora, Rudy. (2001). How to Work With Sex Offenders: A Handbook for Criminal Justice, Human Service, and Mental Health Professionals. NY: Haworth Clinical Practice Press.

Laney, G. (2009). Sex Offender Registration. US: Nova Science Publishers.

Saleh, F., et al. (2009). Sex Offenders: Identification, Risk Assessment, Treatment, and Legal Issues. UK: Oxford University Press.

Wright, Richard. (2009).Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions. MA: Springer Publishing, Co.

 

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