No matter what type of tool is used, trying to do too much with it can be counterproductive. That is why the current legislative proposals to be more selective about who gets placed on the Missouri Sex Offender Registry have gained support from a number of different groups. Those groups range from law enforcement authorities to advocates for victims of crime.
The sponsor of one of the proposals, State Rep. Don Phillips, is a retired highway patrol officer. His concern is that lumping anyone convicted of a sex offense into one category results in an overly expansive registry. Under the proposal offered by Rep. Phillips, as many as a third of the approximately 14,000 people on Missouri's sex offender registry would be eligible to apply to have their names removed - perhaps not right away, but at least after a period of time.
Another legislative proposal is every more far-reaching. It would give everyone on the sex offender registry a chance to file a petition to have their names removed, pending the results of risk assessments to be conducted by professionals experienced in mental health issues.
Both of these bills have been passed out of the relevant committees. So it is up to legislative leaders to decide which bill should be brought before the full Missouri House.
Of course, given the sensitivity of sex offenses, what the legislature will ultimately decide is uncertain. There is, however, a national trend toward reviewing the effectiveness of sex offender registries that may be overly expansive.
Please visit our page on sex crime charges.
Source: "Missouri considering changing its sex offender registry rules," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4-1-13