Ashoka Mukpo, Grace Choi, and Andrea Holley provided invaluable production assistance. Over the past decade, several horrific crimes like Jessica's murder have captured massive media attention and fueled widespread fears that children are at high risk of assault by repeat sex offenders.
We want to acknowledge our special gratitude to Patty Wetterling, Alisa Klein, Jim Rensel, Nancy Daley, Dr. Levenson for providing guidance and insights in helping us to shape the research and writing of this report. Politicians have responded with a series of laws, including the sex offender registration, community notification, and residency restriction laws that are the subject of this report.
The United States is the only country with a registry that is publicly accessible; all other countries in the English-speaking world have sex offender registries only accessible by law enforcement.
Three differing systems exist in determining offenders' inclusion in the registry: risk-based, sentence-length-based, and offense-based.
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Sometimes, these include (or have been proposed to include) restrictions on being in the presence of underage persons (under the age of majority), living in proximity to a school or day care center, owning toys or items targeted towards children, or using the Internet.
“When you criminalize HIV or stigmatize people who have HIV it encourages people not to get tested, to stay in the shadows, not to be open about their status, not to seek treatment.”Currently, those convicted of felonies can be sentenced up to seven years in prison.
Between 1988 and June 2014, there were 357 convictions in California for an HIV-specific felony that would have been downgraded by SB 239, according to a study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, which conducts research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.
The report was written by Sarah Tofte with the assistance of Jamie Fellner, director of the US Program, who also edited the report. Patrick Vinck, director of the Berkeley-Tulane Initiative on Vulnerable Populations at the Human Rights Center, University of California-Berkeley, tabulated the data for Human Rights Watch's study of North Carolina's online sex offender registry.
Ashoka Mukpo, US Program Associate, and US Program interns Anjali Balasingham, Andrea Barrow, Madeline Gressel, and Kari White provided important research assistance.