Baltimore Sun - August 4, 2005
As I was reading "Registry for sex offenders has gaps" (July 28), I couldn't help but ask myself if Maryland is a "sex offender-friendly" state?
It's really pretty scary to think that out of the 4,300 registered sexual offenders in the state database, 3,000 are no longer supervised.
I believe that sex offenders need to be monitored for life.
According to a 1997 study, the recidivism rate for child sex offenders over a 25-year period is 52 percent. Given such statistics, how can it be that Maryland only requires sex offenders to be on the state registry for 10 years?
I agree with Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. that we need specialized training for parole officers who work with sex offenders and better treatment for sex offenders while they are incarcerated.
The problem is that as of today there is no known treatment for sex offenders that is really effective. Research in treating offenders is still very much in its infancy.
I believe it is imperative that parole officers visit offenders in their homes at least once every six months, as a way to verify the offender's residence. I also believe that a sex offender should automatically be placed on a registry and that this should not be left up to a judge.
Let's remember that the goal is to protect unsuspecting individuals (adults and children) from becoming the next victim of sexual violence.
The writer is executive director of The Awareness Center Inc., a Jewish coalition against sexual abuse and assault