About 3,600 people on the Texas sex offender registry were added as juveniles, says the Houston Chronicle. Juvenile registration has been debated by lawmakers, child advocates, and crime victim proponents for the past decade. Supporters contend the community has a right to know about dangerous sex offenders – adult or juvenile. Critics argue that the negative consequences on juveniles and their families far outweigh any benefits to the community. No research suggests registration makes communities safer, they said.
Access to court records for juvenile delinquents are restricted, to protect them from shame and to give them a fresh start. But anyone can access the state’s online sex offender registry and see the juvenile’s criminal charge. The registry, which went online in 1997, makes available the juvenile’s address, where he attends schools and annual mug shots. “I feel like this is totally inconsistent with the way we as a society have determined is the right way to deal with juvenile behavior,” said Theresa Tod of the Texas Network of Youth Services. “To protect juveniles from public derision is our job.”