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In Georgia, it's even worse: A homeless sex offender must register every time he changes sleeping locations within just 72 hours. Oakland Police Department's current voicemail message for sex registration-related inquiries states that in order to register, one must make an appointment at least a month in advance.
It is hard to understand how one can be expected to register within five days of changing addresses if an appointment takes a month to set up.
I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.
With age comes memory loss — which often means trouble remembering to register.It encompasses those who, have been convicted of sexual assault, but also people who committed even minor, misdemeanor conduct.There are the crimes one would expect to see labeled as serious sex offenses — rape, child molestation, sexual assault — but there are also offenses like peeing in public, which can qualify as indecent exposure.For nearly 50 years, only four other states followed suit, until a handful of high-profile child murders in the 1990s began fostering a cultural fear of "stranger danger." In spite of evidence that most sex offenses happen by those known to the victim, this developing panic over the image of nearby, lurking sex offenders led to broader sex offender laws.In 1994, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Act, which was named for a missing boy assumed — but never proven — to have been kidnapped by a local sex offender living in a halfway house.
So even if you are, like many of my clients — homeless, mentally ill, and too poor to own a phone — you are nonetheless expected to either call a police station or show up in person, make an appointment over 30 days in advance, wait for hours at the police station on your appointment day (hardly a comfortable place for most of us, let alone someone with a criminal record), read and understand legal jargon on lengthy documents, and continue to do so every few weeks for the rest of your life.