Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween now national PR day for sex-offender registries

It seems like Halloween has become a national PR day for state sex offender registries.

This morning Grits typed the phrase "Halloween sex offender" into Google News and half a dozen stories came up with a link that said 503 more were available if one wanted to "Explore in depth." So the meme appears to have hit critical mass.

As I've written before, "The annual demagoguing over sex offenders at Halloween is a classic example of what security expert Bruce Schneier calls 'security theater,' hyping (and pretending to solve) a threat that in reality is extremely remote, even to the point of diverting resources from policing activities like DWI enforcement that would protect more people and save more lives. The approach is dumb, it's wrong, and it makes the public less safe."

As a partial antidote to this foolishness, check out Michael Hall's excellent story in Texas Monthly about a man on the Texas sex offender registry who is pretty clearly innocent but subject to registry conditions, anyway. The guy's life has been a living hell. Read the whole thing, Mike did a great job with it. MORE (10/28): See a Marshall Project article on Halloween sex-offender restrictions.

Since Grits has addressed this sort of Halloween hype many times in the past, rather than repeat myself I'll refer readers to these prior, related posts:


Anonymous said...

A dim light of reason glows in California

A compromise was reached Monday afternoon at the Southern District of California regarding whether to halt one of the restrictions enforced by the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDRC) during “Operation Boo”, an annual program that enforces special Halloween restrictions for sex offender parolees.

State attorneys decided the sign requirement would not be enforced this Halloween.

Sex offenders are not required to post signs on Halloween

Sex offenders not required to post signs on Halloween
With Halloween right around the corner, children are looking forward to trick or treating.

Anonymous said...

Some cities in Texas have an ordinance for anyone on the registry to post a 'no candy' sign during Halloween. Doesn't matter what the offense was and it doesn't matter if you're not on probation or parole. Edinburg Texas is one enforcing such an ordinance.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many sex offenders actually committed an offense on halloween night using candy to lure in their victims? Bet the number is less than 1% of the total sex offender population.

Reading between the lines here but don't these halloween operations convey the notion that sex offenders are being "seriously" monitored on halloween night but only less than moderately monitored for the rest of the year?

IMO - Media hype is to blame for continuation of these halloween ops.