Report: Nebraska’s Adam Walsh Act Was Based on Emotion, Not Good Science


A new released report questions whether public safety has improved since Nebraska adopted a state law that requires all convicted sex offenders to be listed on a public website, reports the Omaha World-Herald. Nebraska’s 2009 version of the Adam Walsh Act has been criticized as being too harsh on former offenders who committed minor crimes, are low risks to reoffend, and have become productive, law-abiding citizens. An Omaha man who completed his probation four years ago for two federal child pornography convictions, said that being listed on the state's sex offender registry has been a “horrific” nightmare for him and his family.

A report from the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Consortium for Crime and Justice Research concluded that the Adam Walsh Act “was founded more on public emotion than good science, which is its fundamental shortcoming.” The report said the state’s previous system of sex-offender registration, which required only that the highest risk offenders be listed publicly, “did not seem to be broken.” The report stated that it could not be determined whether the previous or new registration system was superior in deterring repeat sex offenses.

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