On May 22, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Federal Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2017. The House’s judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations worked to reauthorize the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, the only federal law that requires states, tribes and other jurisdictions to register children who have committed sexual offenses.
By removing one paragraph from Section 111 in the Adam Walsh Act that broadens the definition of “sex offender” to include adjudicated juveniles, our elected leaders could have ended this wasteful and ineffective policy.
On May 3, 2017, the South Carolina State Supreme Court upheld lifetime sex offender registration for behavior committed as a child. The court made this finding despite a decade of scientific research that clearly and consistently points to the failure of juvenile registration policies to improve public safety in any way. That much of this literature was based on data from South Carolina only heightens the distance between this ruling and the countervailing scholarship.
Read the rest of this post at Psychology Today column, Prevention Now.