Texas’ sex offender registry has grown at a rate of about 12 new names every day. A 2005 law allows low-risk offenders to apply for removal, but little effort is made to inform them. Only 58 offenders have been permitted to deregister so far , under 0.1 percent of the current registry, reports the Austin American-Statesman. “At the current rate,” said Aaron Pierce, a Waco psychologist and sex offender expert who consulted on the law, “it will take forever to clean up the registry.”
Despite their low utility, the registries continue to balloon in size. As of June 1, Texas’ stood at 87,686, 35 percent higher than five years ago. Maintaining the growing lists is increasingly expensive. In 2006, the Texas Department of Public Safety assigned 10 staffers and spent $343,000 to manage the registry. By last year, it required 21 employees and nearly four times the money. Local law enforcement agencies, where offenders must periodically check in, bear the bulk of the costs. The Houston Police Department, which monitors more than 5,000 registered sex offenders, employs 14 people — 10 of them officers — who do nothing else.