The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The publicly available sex offender registry should be abolished.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/14/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,148 times Debate No: 79597
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




Acceptance locked, please comment to be accepted to this argument. This was an open argument before, but the last person who accepted this debate never gave a single reply.

I oppose the existence of a publicly available sex offender registry. Note that this argument deals only with a registry that all citizens can access. I am not arguing that a record should not be kept by law enforcement. I also oppose background checks, but that is not material to this argument. I am confining the scope of this argument to publicly available sex offender registries. This in no way suggests that I am okay with rape or any other sex offense. To assert that would be to assert a false dilemma. I could as easily say that if you don't support cutting off hands for shoplifting, then you support shoplifting.

1)Sex offenders have an extremely low recidivism rate.

Sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rate of any group of offenders, and it isn't even close. All legitimate sources will confirm this. (Note: blogs, random websites, and the Huffington Post are not legitimate sources for data, criminal databases are.)
If the numbers were not available, we could simply think about the rational effect of a registry. The registry causes these people to become social pariahs, so their options for consensual relationships are severely curtailed if not completely obliterated. The problem with this is that if they will now have the option of no relationship or forcing their way on someone. If someone has been rehabilitated and is then thrust into this situation I would suggest their odds of reverting to their former state rises. Thankfully the rate of recidivism is, as previously stated, very low, but it would seem that the registry is more likely to raise the rate of recidivism than lower it.
The registry does not really protect anyone, it is just extra punishment beyond the prison time that the offenders serve. These offenders have already served their time, and if qualified professionals (ie psychiatrists) think a person is still likely to be a danger to society but has served his sentence, he should be getting therapy to treat his disorder and possibly confined in some way(eg a tracking ankle bracelet or confinement to a facility to treat these offenders).
If you disagree with my conclusion that the registry should be abolished as it is cruel and unusual punishment, then it seems to follow that you should think anyone convicted of any offense should be put on a registry because any other offender is far more likely to re-offend.

2)The sex offender registry is horribly abused by the public.
What is the real use of the sex offender registry? We brand sex offenders with a scarlet letter(the sex offender registry). This is then used by bullies and sadists so they can find someone they can harass or attack while claiming that they are doing something heroic. In truth, they are just cowards looking for approval. Similarly, those who set up stings to catch pedophiles online have been shown to falsify information and entrap people as was the case with Letzgohunting when they made a profile of a person of legal age then when the meeting was scheduled sent a text minutes before the meeting telling their mark that the girl was "actually" 15. They then chased him around town filming him and sending the film to his place of work to shame him for a thing he did not do all in the name of seeming like heroes for attacking someone they falsely claimed fit into a group that society deems worthy of harassment and attacks. I do not have statistical data on how common these attacks are. I know they exist based on news reports, but I have no way to compute their frequency.


Before I begin I would like to thank the pro for choosing me for this debate. In this debate I will be giving reasons as to why sex offender registry should be publicy available.

Rebuttal 1-Sex offenders have an extremely low recidivism rate.

The pro did not list any sources as to how low recidivism rates for sex offenders are so it is truly hard to know what "low" is, but I will do my best to rebut this."The 61 studies provided information on 28,972 sexual offenders, although sample sizes were smaller for any particular analysis"."When recidivism was defined as any reoffense, the rates were predictably higher: 36.3% overall (n = 19,347), 36,9% for the child molesters (n = 3,363), and 46,2% for rapists (n = 4,017). These averages should be considered cautiously because they are based on diverse methods and follow-up periods, and many sexual offenses remain undetected."[1] After reading through this paragraph there are a few things we will look at to do some calculations recidivism of any offense is 36.3% out of 28,927 sex offenders which is equal to 19,347. As of 2015 there are 811,389 registered sex offenders in the U.S[2]. So if we take 33.3% of 811,389 we get 270,192 repeat offenders. This is a fairly large number even though the Pro stated that there was only a small percentage of repeat offenders.

The pro states "The problem with this is that if they will now have the option of no relationship or forcing their way on someone." If a former sex offender chooses the latter of these two options wouldn't that mean that te had never changed to begin with. With this in mind wouldn't it be better for people to be aware of possible threats?

Next the Pro stated "If you disagree with my conclusion that the registry should be abolished as it is cruel and unusual punishment, then it seems to follow that you should think anyone convicted of any offense should be put on a registry." This is quite untrue due to the fact that many crimes such as theft are nearly impossible to prevent, so a registry for that wouldn't matter.

Rebuttal 2- The sex offender registry is horribly abused by the public.

The talks about the Letzgo Hunting group is irrelevant due to the fact that they do not use the sex offender registry to find their "victims", but rather set out to find unregistered offenders by using chat rooms.

Argument 1- safety

The registration of sex offenders is very important for safety reasons. For example when moving to a new city with your family(if you don't have one you can imagine) wouldn't you want to know how safe it is. Of course you can check how many burgularies, grand theft autos, and murders occur but you would still be missing the amount of sex offenders in the area. Due to this you wouldn't have even been able know if it was safe let your children walk to school, or walk down the street to the store. For this reason public access to the sex offender registry is a necessity. I await the pro's response.


Debate Round No. 1


Your first rebuttal seems to have things backwards. You found statistics to tell you how likely a sex offender is to commit a non sex related offense. What would be useful is to know how likely a non sex offender is to commit a sex based offense.

Here are some appropriate numbers:

"Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime"

"Within 3 years, 2.5% of the 3,138 released rapists were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2% of the 4,443 persons who had served time for homicide were rearrested for a homicide. Among other offenses, the percentages rearrested for the same category of offense for which they were just in prison were 13.4% of released robbers 22.0% of released assaulters
23.4% of released burglars 33.9% of released larcenists 11.5% of released thieves of motor vehicles 19.0% of released defrauders 41.2% of released drug offenders."

As you can see, the only group less likely to repeat their crime are murderers. Every other category is significantly more likely to repeat their crime.

As to people who had not been reformed, I already clearly said that people should be evaulated and possibly monitored by law enforcement, but not by regular citizens.

Personally, I think a very easy way to make burglary less likely is to not move into an apartment that houses burglars. A registry would be very helpful with this. Also, what makes you think it is easier to prevent a sex crime than a burglary? If someone breaks into your house to commit a crime whether it is to rape you or to rob you, there is not much you can do about it at that point.

To your second rebuttal:
The point of the Letzgo hunting group is that they are a symptom of the idea that attacking sex offenders is acceptable which is perpetuated by the registry which flags the second least likely group to repeat their crime as the most appropriate people to target.

To your safety argument:
You can already get the rate of sex offenses in a city, you do not need the individual names of offenders to know how likely rape is in the community. Additionally, the registry only lets you find these people at their home and place of work. It does not help you identify them anywhere else. A new haircut, not having mugshot face on, or wearing sunglasses will make the person anonymous, so knowing the individual's information will not help you in places like parks or outside of schools.

Another problem is that this suggests that if nobody has yet been convicted of a sex offense in a community it would be a good idea to let small children wander around unsupervised. Sex offenders are not born on the registry, they need to offend before this happens, so assuming that nobody on the registry means kids won't be raped is not a particularly good assumption. Using a registry to guess that your kids will not be assaulted is not a good way to prevent assaults. Making sure they are supervised is.

Another problem is even if you personally knew and could identify every single past present and future offender in your town, that leaves one big gap. Somebody could just go and do his raping in a town where he would not be recognized. Again, a registry would not help you.

One thing must be pointed out at this point, not every sex offender is a child molester. Sex offenses happen to children, adults, men, and women. You seem focused on one subset of offenders.

My conclusion at this point is that the registry does not make you any safer, it still only provides a means to harass people who have already served their sentence and prevent them from leading productive lives once they are allowed back into society.


TBSmothers forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I will add a few things here. The false sense of security that people get from the registry makes them and their kids less safe.

I would not steal a loaf of bread today because I have access to food, but if I became impoverished and was starving(in a non welfare country), I might. This is analogous to the idea that stamping ex offenders with a scarlet letter could be raising the probability of recidivism.


I regret saying this but, due to my 2nd round forfeiture I concede all 7 points to the pro.
Debate Round No. 3


TBSmothers forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TBSmothers 2 years ago
sorry about thew forfeit. I didn't have time to post in the one day period
Posted by IndianaFrank 2 years ago
The sex offender registry places a person on probation for the rest of there life. I can murder someone while young and serve a sentence, then a short probation and I'm off the hook. But if your placed on the sex offender list that's the same as getting a life sentence. The fault lies with the prosecutors who are simply looking to convince people they are doing there jobs and to re-elect them...
Posted by TBSmothers 2 years ago
I don't have any other debates going on right now so I wouldn't mind arguing con in this debate.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
KasiaLynne, do you with to take the side of con in the argument?
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
So agree. It was intended to be a good thing that tracked child molesters, but liberal judges fvcked it up by putting streakers, and statutory rapists on there, as well as people taking a pee in public.
Posted by KasiaLynne 2 years ago
I support having a sex offender registration. You should know the type of people living around you if you have kids. People need to take into account what the offense was ie 16 year old dating an 18 year old or a 40 year old having sex with an eight year old. If it was gotten rid of than there would not be a way for parents to see how safe their neighborhoods are.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
The fact that it makes any sex offender register is one of the problems with the system and could make a good separate argument, but I am opposed to the registry for any level of sex offender for the reasons stated in my argument.
Posted by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
I would revise it based around the idea that it doesn't matter what the offense is, or when it was done. That being unless the outraged resident is diligent enough to look up a criminal record, people immediately assume "pedophile" when it very well might have been something innocuous, such as a 18 year old senior dating a 16 year old. Or a 15 year old and a 16 year old, in some states.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
I edited the argument it to clarify the cases when I think stuff like HP is useful and when it is not. It can bring you information about individual events, but for research data, you should be using primary sources.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
I have read that article, but I would prefer primary sources of data even if dismissing news sites hamstrings me. If the news site cites the source for their data, I can go directly to that source and if it is a legitimate source, I can use that data. There is nothing wrong with starting out with a source like Huffington post, but the data is not verified until you go to the original source. :)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded "all seven points to the pro".