This year, New York lawmakers did what many legislatures across the country have done: expanded the laws for monitoring sex offenders to protect the public, reports the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. But those new laws may have an unintended consequence. Because so much work has been added for local police and probation officers, the laws could make it tougher, instead of easier, to monitor registered sex offenders. The paper explores the subject with a multimedia package.
“While the laws have been changing very rapidly and creating a whole host of new tasks and challenges for (local) officials, there are not new resources being allocated, which leaves local police and probation…holding the bag,” says Richard Tewksbury, a professor of justice administration at the University of Louisville. By their very nature, sex offender registries grow every year, as more people are arrested for sex crimes. But by taking steps to keep low-level sex offenders on registries for decades, lawmakers ensure that sex offender registries will grow even more. That means more work for police and probation officers who have to respond when sex offenders disappear. The same police also are the first line in notifying a neighborhood when a sex offender moves in.