Sex offenders with mental illnesses may be unable to comprehend or comply with rules governing sex offender registries, the Tennessean reports. Some advocates for the mentally ill are concerned that the law may need to be changed to deal with repeat offenders who lack the mental capacity to follow it. “It’s inconceivable that anyone could meet the requirements if they’re mentally incapacitated,” said one service provider.
There’s no way to track how many people on the sex offender registry have mental illness, but an analysis of the database showed that 9 percent of the 1,300 offenders in Nashville list themselves as homeless. Roughly 50 percent of those homeless offenders have been arrested for violating the laws of the registry. About 30 percent of homeless people have a severe mental illness, says the National Alliance on Mental Illness.