Major tip-of-the-hat to GriftDrift, who compiled the following links you should read.
While the nation is shocked, and will continue to be shocked at the horrific case of kidnapping and sex slavery coming out of California, we are again called to try and understand why some sex offenders are ever let out of jail and why it is so difficult to keep up with them.
Helpfully, the State of Georgia provides quite a good example. We don't track dangerous sex offenders well because we are too busy tracking people who aren't really sex offenders.
Yup. Let that sink in for a moment.
Right now, dangerous sex predators roam the streets of the Peach State, while someone who made a bad decision as a teenager sits in jail because she can't make her $10,000 bond. Worst part of this? The sex crime she was convicted of IS NO LONGER A CRIME IN GEORGIA THAT REQUIRES REGISTRATION AS A SEX OFFENDER.*
Most people registered as sex offenders aren't really sex offenders as the term is usually defined by the public. When you hear that a "registered sex offender" has moved to your neighborhood, you think the worst: child molester, rapist, felon. You don't think, "teenager having sex with another teenager," "public urinator" or "individual who visits prostitutes." Yet, that's the majority of "sex offenders" in our nation.
Once such a determination is made, Georgia (and many other states, to be fair) then spend millions tracking and legislating the lives of these people. This is expensive and time consuming. The bigger the floor, the more cracks. The more cracks, the more a determined predator is able to get through them, and wreck some child's and some family's life forever.
An official state agency admitted that, of Georgia's 17,000 registered sex offenders, only 30% were potentially threatening, only 5% were clearly dangerous. "Just over 100" were considered "predators."
Which individuals would you want your state to focus the majority of its legislation and law enforcment capability on?
Oh. You don't believe me? You think I've officially jumped the shark and am advocating or excusing the worst behaviors imaginable? Quit your inferred justification.
I want law enforcement and legislators to coordinate their practices most effectively to make society safer from legitimate threats. This is no boo-hoo rehabilitation-based progressivism on my part, this is about using government resources where they are the most effective and eliminating inefficiencies that directly lead to the harm of children and citizens.
Update: A fantastic open letter to Governor Perdue from Icarus at Peach Pundit.
Update 2: The original post stated this as "NO LONGER A CRIME IN GEORGIA." This type of activity is still a crime under sodomy statutes in certain instances based on age. However, most of these crimes are considered misdemeanors now instead of felonies, and some misdemeanors do not require registration as a sex offender. No one writing the law, however, seemed to understand the concept of ex post facto, to extend the new rules to crimes already on the books.