A House committee looks at sex offender facts to determine if registry and compliance laws need to be changed. The state is working to cut down on its corrections costs … and the House Interim Committee on Criminal Justice is looking at whether the state’s sex offender laws should be revamped.
Former Corrections Director Gary Kempker, who now does consulting on a nationwide basis, presents legislators with the facts … and the myths. He says one belief is that strangers are the biggest threat, when in reality, only about 34 percent of sex offenses are committed by strangers.
Kempker tells the committee one startling set of statistics is that incarceration — while appropriate — does not reduce the recidivism rate for sex offenders.
He says what does reduce the likelihood that sex offenders will re-offend is supervision once they’re released, good relationships between corrections, parole, law enforcement and treatment providers, as well as ensuring offenders’ stability of employment and housing upon re-entry into society.
“A lot of jurisdictions, including this one, use polygraphs,” he says. Another system many states are using is GPS.
A multi-faceted approach to supervision, prevention and rehabilitation is required to cut crimes and cut costs, he says, that that includes a unified collaboration between investigations, sentencing, prosecution, assessment, registration, victims’ centers, having specialized knowledge in law enforcement, supervision, and treatment.
Kempker points out that Missouri joins a host of other states in tackling the issue: Corrections costs and sex offender registry were both in the top ten concerns analyzed by legisltors in the U.S. last year.
The state, while looking at preserving public safety and reducing corrections costs, also wants to make sure it’s in compliance with the federal SORNA Act, the Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act.
Lawmakers are also compiling data compiled by the PEW Research Center, which is working with a group of state officials on analyzing numbers from Missouri’s corrections facilities and inmate populations. Among those studies breaks down crime by type, recidivism and costs.