It’s surprising to hear it, but juveniles can actually be placed on sex offender registries. Despite the fact that a minor may not fully comprehend what they’ve done or could be falsely accused, it’s still possible for them to end up on the registry.
Using the registry is supposed to be a way to help people identify those who could pose a threat to their families or communities. This isn’t the way that a registry works for juveniles, based on past research.
According to the American Bar Association:
- Studies have confirmed that repeated sex offenses among juveniles are low. A juvenile offends has only a 3% to 5% chance of reoffending in the future.
- The severity of the crime isn’t indicative of the potential to reoffend.
- Juveniles who commit sex offenses are often motivated by curiosity and impulsivity, not predatory characteristics. In studies, it has been shown that a better understanding of human sexuality, along with maturation and better impulse control, stops those behaviors in many minors.
- A study in the mid-2000s determined that registering youth as sex offenders did not change the potential for recidivism. Recidivism was actually found to be lower in states where youth offenders were not registered.
This information all points to one thing: Registering a youth offender may not be the right option. If your child, a teen or young adult, has committed a sexual offense, it is worth looking into alternatives and ways to keep them off the sex offender registry. It can have a negative impact on their life for the foreseeable future, which is why it’s always essential to put together a strong defense if the registration is a potential outcome in the case.