The Instigator
trendem
Pro (for)
Winning
53 Points
The Contender
RacH3ll3
Con (against)
Losing
52 Points

Sex Offender Registries should be discontinued.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/2/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 17,252 times Debate No: 7206
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (22)
Votes (18)

 

trendem

Pro

Definitions:
Sexual offender registries: the lists of sexual offenders that are available online. These lists include people with a wide diversity of offenses: from streaking to rape. These lists are FOR LIFE. The local police stations furnish the information for these registries.

Discontinued: Abolished, removed, stopped. Police stations will providing these lists of offenders.

Advocates of these lists argue that such lists help safeguard local societies from the offenders. I will argue that the harms of these lists far outweigh any benefits.

My arguments:
1) Dehumanization and self-fulfilling prophesy
These lists dehumanize the offenders. People who read the list, fearful and ignorant, ostracize the offenders, mock them, drive them away. Society shuns the offenders and hurts them emotionally. Their offense becomes a scar FOR LIFE. Employers fire them, however excellently they perform. Apart from the emotional, psychological and professional suffering that offenders undergo, they also succumb to a self-fulfilling prophesy, as they fail to reintegrate into society. They are more likely to repeat their sexual offenses, because everyone expects them to. More children are molested, more women raped.

2) Unfair punishment:
For no other crime in the USA does there exist a similar registry of offenders. Thieves lack an online registry; so do murderers! Our justice system becomes unfair when we infringe on the civil rights of offenders when there is no parallel procedure in other crimes. Law should be consistent.

3) Promotes vigilantism:
Often individuals take it upon themselves to eradicate these offenders. There are numerous cases where sexual offenders, even years after their crime, get murdered by their neighbors because they saw the offender's name in an online registry.

Apart from refuting the above arguments, I will place one additional burden on Con:
(a) Provide evidence that such registries WORK and are NEEDED. That they decrease recidivism, or succeed in protecting the community. Only 5% of sexual offenders repeat their crime within the next 3 years. Do registries achieve anything here?

Some evidence links on my side:
[1] http://bangornews.com...
[2] http://articles.latimes.com...
[3]http://cfcoklahoma.org...
RacH3ll3

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for starting this debate.

"People who read the list, fearful and ignorant, ostracize the offenders, mock them, drive them away." "Their offense becomes a scar FOR LIFE." "Employers fire them, however excellently they perform."
This may be true, but they did something and they have to suffer the consequences. Even if there were no list, people gossip, and they would hear about it.
"They are more likely to repeat their sexual offenses, because everyone expects them to. More children are molested, more women are raped."
Not neccesarily. They will not do it just because people know they are on the list and expect them to do it. They do it because they are sick minded.
according to
http://www.gallup.com...
44% of Americans are not at all concerned that this will lead to harassment to the people listed on this list.

you are correct when you say thieves and murderers lack an online registry. However, most thieves go to jail or get in some sort of trouble, and murderers get jail or the death penalty. Different crimes receive different punishment.

"There are numerous cases where sexual offenders, even years after their crime, get murdered by their neighbors because they saw the offender's name in an online registry."
Yes but like I said before, word gets around, and they will hear about it.
some registries tell the person before they are able to look at the registry that it may violate law to harass anybody listed on the registry.
http://www.insor.org...

Arguments:

1) sex offender registries help parents see if there are any registered sex offenders that live near them. I wouldn't want my child playing near someone's house who molested or raped somebody. Basically registries are for protection. They let you know if there is anybody in your area who you need to watch out for.

2) They let people know what the person looks like and who they target as victims. If they target five year old girls, and you have a five year old girl, you know to keep away.
http://www.highbeam.com...

3) The purpose of the sex offender registry is not to stop the sex offender from repeated offenses (that is what jail time is for) but for warning parents and children that there may be sex offenders lurking. Registries are doing their job, so why would you stop them?
http://www.nj.com...

That was my debate and I cant wait to hear from you again!
Debate Round No. 1
trendem

Pro

Thank you for good arguments. I will introduce two new arguments, refute Con's arguments and defend my previous contentions.

NEW arguments
1) Blanket punishment:
These registries are bad because they impose the same punishment on a wide range of sexual offenders, from people stopping to urinate, to rapists... even kids exchanging nude photos on their phones find a spot on these lists, FOR LIFE. Such a blanket punishment is decidedly unfair, because it punishes the lightest offenders as strictly as the highest ones. Since punishment should be fair (i.e. it should fit the crime), these registries should be discontinued.
The rapists might deserve a lifetime of social censure, but must the person who peed in a public place also undergo a similar fate?

2) Disincentivize rehabilation
Sex offenders shy away from seeking therapist help, because they fear being revealed and put on the list permanently. The families of the sex offenders cover up the sexual offender's deviance to keep his name - and the family name - off the lists. Consequently, sex offender rehabilation slows down. The offenders are more likely to commit their crime again, harming both society and themselves, again.

Defense:
3) Dehumanization and self-fufilling prophesy
Con advocates a punitive mindset. Con says the offenders "should suffer the consequences". I advocate a rehabilitative framework. Let the past be the past: our function is to reintegrate people into society as quickly as possible. A rehabilitative framework is better than a punitive framework. Rehabilation builds the future; punishment gets stuck in the past and neglects today and tomorrow.

Con says that 44% of Americans are unconcerned about the harassment that sexual offenders suffer. This evidence actually reinforces my argument, and I thank Con for bringing it up. This evidence demonstrates the DEHUMANIZATION that offenders have undergone. They have become monsters, monsters who do not elicit our sympathy for their suffering. Such dehumanization is the cause of much social evil: racism flourished because blacks were dehumanized; nazism grew through the dehumanization of Jews. I ask the reader to affirm that all humans are equal, that offenders are human and deserve our concern... that, in the words of Martin Luther King, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Con says offenders do not solely commit acts from ostracization. I do not need to prove that, however... I only need to show that ostracization leads to a lack of rehabilation, which increases sexual offenses. And this argument is obvious: sex offenders cannot get jobs, friends... they cannot live where they want, or work as they are capable of. Lonely and miserable, they are at a much higher risk of committing sexual offenses.

5) Unfair punishment.
Con is correct when she says that thieves go to jail, but so do sexual offenders! Why do offenders need the EXTRA punishment of being publicized FOR LIFE?

6) Vigilantism
Con says that society will hear about the offenders even without the registries. If this is the case, WHAT IS THE NEED FOR THE REGISTRIES IN THE FIRST PLACE? Note that Con has herself disproved the need for such registries!
No, such registries inform much more people than gossip would be able to, and thus promotes vigilantism, and murder.

Refuting Con's arguments:
I will address all 3 of con's arguments together. Con says that the only benefit registries serve is to inform parents and children that sex offenders may be near. Con admits that registries are ineffective at reducing sex crimes (and in fact, cites a study that concludes the same). I will accept this.

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS
The benefit that registries serve is far less than their harms. They only help insofar as they make people aware of sex offenders, but do not reduce sexual offenses! On the other hand, registries dehumanize offenders, increase recidivism by reducing rehabilation, and increase unlawful vigilantism.

Sex Offender Registries do little more than provide a false sense of hope; they benefit few folks others than the politicians who use these lists to make themselves look good and active.
Vote PRO.
RacH3ll3

Con

I will not have time to post a full round, seeing as I had school and then when I got home my Internet wasn't working, leaving me with only thirty minutes.

opponents arguments:
"Such a blanket punishment is decidedly unfair, because it punishes the lightest offenders as strictly as the highest ones. Since punishment should be fair (i.e. it should fit the crime), these registries should be discontinued." I agree with you, it is unfair that sexual offender is such a blanket term, but registries should not be discontinued. If you pee in public, you risk being caught and labeled as a sexual offender. Well, use your brain and DONT do pee in public. There are gas stations, parks, restaurants, etc. that someone could stop at and use the bathroom. There is no need to go in public.

"Sex offenders shy away from seeking therapist help, because they fear being revealed and put on the list permanently." They may shy away from seeking therapist help, but if they (or the family) knows what's best, they will seek help, no matter what. And if they are sexual offenders, they need to be put on the list anyways to warn the surrounding area.

"Rehabilitation builds the future; punishment gets stuck in the past and neglects today and tomorrow." punishment and rehabilitation should go hand in hand. They should put a sex offender on the list until they have been rehabilitated, and then they can be taken off the list. I know this is not the case, so they should be punished. Punishment will show them what happens when they do something like that. would you rather punish the person that hurt the child or punish the child? because not punishing the offender is the same thing as punishing the child. That is not fair that the child went through the pain.

"Such dehumanization is the cause of much social evil: racism flourished because blacks were dehumanized; Nazism grew through the dehumanization of Jews. I ask the reader to affirm that all humans are equal, that offenders are human and deserve our concern... that, in the words of Martin Luther King, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
so you are comparing people who hurt other people to Jews and blacks? Sex offenders deserve this, The Jews and blacks didn't.

Gossip is not all the time true, so if we don't have a registry, who will know what is true and what is a lie?
my arguments: sorry its not alot, again, I didn't have the time.
1) sex offender registries may stop future sex offenders from committing their crime. They will not want to be put on the list, so they will simply seek help.

2) you cant just simply stop registries. There would be to many parents who would have a problem and complain. And what would you tell them the reason that you stopped them was? Because it hurt the sex offenders feelings? Boo Hoo. There are kids out there who will never get there virginity or trust in other people back because of what these sick people did.

The websites will be posted in the comments section, I am really pushing it for time right now. Thanks.

And just answer this: If a sex offender were living by you, would you want to know?
Debate Round No. 2
trendem

Pro

Since this is my closing speech, instead of doing a line-by-line response to your argument, I will present 3 reasons voters should vote for me.

First, humanity.
By voting Pro, readers will affirm the universality of humanity and reject a world based on demonization and fear. Sex offenders are human, just as the Jews and the blacks were, and deserve our concern. We must treat them equitably: we cannot murder them to preserve our toenails, so to speak. If a punishment imposes a monstrous harm on them for the sake of a minute benefit to society, we should abolish such a punishment. If a punishment upon them is unfair when compared to punishments for other crimes, then we must abolish the punishment. If a punishment is applied indiscriminately to people who pee publicly and serial rapists, then we must abolish the punishment. You will recognize that someone peeing in the gutter is doing a wrong thing by not exercising self-control, but that the punishment should still fit the crime.

Second, the safety of the sex offenders themselves.
This point ties into my first: sex offender registries encourage vigilantism. Gossip alone would be incapable of fuelling equal levels of vigilantism, because gossip would be unable to discover accurate details about the addresses of the sex offenders (especially if they change location), physical descriptions of the offenders, or perhaps even their names. Such details are necessary for vigilantes to locate their targets. By voting Pro, you will condemn and discourage vigilantism as unlawful and unjust.

Third, public safety.
By voting Pro you are recognizing that the rehabilitation of sex offenders would benefit society , and that sex offender registries prevent rehabilitation. You will allow sex offenders the chance to get homes, friends and jobs, and a second chance to create a constructive life. You will encourage them to seek therapy as soon as possible (which sex offenders often fail to do, despite Con's assertion that they "should" do so). Thus you will prevent offenders from succumbing to the self-fulfilling prophesy and from COMMITTING FURTHER SEX CRIMES, ironically, because of the registries.

These benefits from Pro far outweigh the minimalist benefit of useless hope from registries that Con is claiming. Remember, Con has conceded that the effectiveness of registries is empirically denied. Con only claims that the lists provide parents with a useless sense of security and control; useless hope pales compared to humanity, offender safety, and public safety.

"And just answer this: If a sex offender were living by you, would you want to know?"
Instinctively, yes; but after applying logic to the issue, I would see that knowledge about sex offenders in the proximity is largely ineffective and even counter-productive, and that it engenders many social harms. And I hope that all rational people, who can overlook their immediate emotional response, will agree with me.

Vote Pro.
RacH3ll3

Con

In his closing speech, my opponent gave three reasons why voters should vote for him. He has not been on debate.org for very long, but may I remind the voters:
VOTE FOR WHO YOU THINK DID THE BETTER JOB DEBATING, NOT NECESARILY WHO YOU AGREE WITH ON THE TITLE.

Voting for Pro or voting for con does not mean you think sex offender registries should be discontinued. Remember, you vote for the better debater so we will know if we need to work on something or not.

My closing speech:

*Sex offender registries don't hurt people, they help innocent people.*

Thank you opponent and voters.

This was a good debate.
Debate Round No. 3
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by brittney11 1 year ago
brittney11
I just want to say that not all crimes on the registry require the offender to stay on the registry for life. There are three different tiers of crimes. Tier one requires ten years, tier two is twenty-five years, and tier three crimes are life. Furthermore, if a person commits a sexual act with a child, I see nothing "cruel and unusual" with them being placed on the sex offender registry for life.
Posted by PsyPhiGuy 4 years ago
PsyPhiGuy
Good topic. Good debate.

Had to go with trendem. Very convincing points.

You swayed me from undecided to your side.
Posted by buzzymom 5 years ago
buzzymom
Most supporters of the sex offender registries are uninformed to the consequences to the innocent. My daughter was offended upon by her father in an event that involved no skin to skin contact. My daughter has been unable to move on and heal because of the registry. Each time she joins a club or begins new employment, it is only a matter of time before someone is able to associate her with her father on the Internet. About the time she is getting past the pain, the scab gets pulled off with the "buzz" and the label of "the one who was abused". My son is a Jr. Recently, he received a newspaper clipping stapled to his pay stub accusing him of being a sex offender. At least once a month, he is confronted and accused of being a sex offender. I in no way justify or minimize what my husband did ten years ago; however, he voluntarily turned himself in to the police 9 years ago and has submitted himself to 6 years of therapy. My daughter and son have forgiven him and have learned to love him. My children hearts are pulled out every day when they see the father they love lumped into the same category as a rapist and treated a worthless scum of society. The registry has made my life and children's life a living hell. We have chosen a path of grace and healing and the social condemnation and demonization caused by the registry prevents us from on.
Posted by s0m31john 5 years ago
s0m31john
Another example:
http://img99.imageshack.us...
Posted by trendem 5 years ago
trendem
younstownsoldier,
mana is the Japanese art of comic books and comic strips. It is characterized by its distinctive art style. Here's an eg.,
http://media.bigoo.ws...
Posted by RacH3ll3 5 years ago
RacH3ll3
thats exactly what I was saying dragonfire...
Posted by dragonfire1414 5 years ago
dragonfire1414
I believe sex offender registries should not be discontinued. If you have a small child, woulden't you want to know if a sex offender lives near you before leaving your child at home or letting him/her play in the backyard alone? Sex offender registries keep the U.S. safer. Did you know that Myspace uses sex offender registries to filter account creation? That keeps myspace safer.
Posted by younstownsoldier 5 years ago
younstownsoldier
what the heck is manga?
Posted by trendem 5 years ago
trendem
zippo:
If I were a sexual offender, do you think I would tell you? ;)
I am not an offender; I participated in this debate merely as an interested citizen of the world.

SOIssues:
That's a fantastic site you have there! Thank you for sharing.
Posted by zippo 5 years ago
zippo
Pro: are you a sex offender?
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