Britain Rejects Version of 'Megan's Law'

In the U.S., tragic crimes too often spawn criminal laws that are based on headline potential rather than sound policy. In the wake of a murder committed by a pedophile in Britain, a British proposal ("Sarah's Law") to emulate the American approach to sex offender registration has been rejected on the sensible ground that open registries cause more harm than they prevent.

The NSPCC, a leading children's charity, welcomed the development saying "open access" could force convicted paedophiles underground and place youngsters at greater risk of assault.

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    Coincidence? (3.00 / 1) (#1)
    by 1980Ford on Sat Jun 09, 2007 at 04:16:59 PM EST
    Britain rejected wholesale eugenics as well when it flourished in the States. Maybe liberty would flourish if we flush the Bill of Rights and replace it with common sense.

    non sequitur (none / 0) (#6)
    by mack on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 01:53:58 PM EST
    What a perfect example of a non sequitur.

    Google should link to your post as an example whenever someone does a search for the definition of the term.


    RE: (none / 0) (#7)
    by mack on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 02:17:23 PM EST
    By the way, I was replying to this statement:
    Maybe liberty would flourish if we flush the Bill of Rights and replace it with common sense.

    It just now occurred to me that your statement could have been sarcasm; if this was the case, I apologize for my original response.


    Good. (none / 0) (#2)
    by manys on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 04:10:04 AM EST
    Megan's Law isn't anything but a form of headlines for authoritarianism.

    It's not often (none / 0) (#3)
    by HK on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 05:04:44 AM EST
    these days that I'm proud of what my government has done, but this is one of those rare moments.  As a supporter of the NSPCC, I was also pleased that they spoke out against this madness and did not bow down to tabloid newspaper support of this proposed law.  The Times of London reported yesterday that research in the US leading up to the consideration of the proposal of Sarah's Law showed that up to 25% of paedophiles went underground when such measures were brought in (unfortunately I can't find it on their website, but the article appeared in print).

    re Megan's law (none / 0) (#4)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 09:57:21 AM EST
    Should the US drop sex offender registration altogether?  Or, have the sex offenders register with authorities but not be publically known?

    I could be wrong, but I thought that in Britain, persons convicted of certain crimes already were obligated, after their sentence was over, to register.

    For me, as you know, I think that about 1/4  of so-called sex crimes shouldn't be considered crimes.  However, whether we prosecute real criminals or some others also, what is best for society in terms of "registration," afterwards?

    In Britain (none / 0) (#5)
    by HK on Sun Jun 10, 2007 at 10:45:07 AM EST
    a judge can give a person a custodial sentence and state that their name must go on the sex offenders' register.  It could be that the offender is required to register for a certain number of years or an offender could be required to register for life.  The information on the register is not publically available, but can be accessed by the police at any time.  Certain people such as headteachers are told about paedophiles in their locality on a confidential basis.

    Those employing people to work with children or vulnerable adults can request a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check.  They will then be told whether there is anything in a potential employee's record that indicates they are unsuitable to be working with children or vulnerable adults, including whether their name is on the sex offenders' register.  Individuals cannot request CRB checks on other individuals (for example, a parent looking to hire a nanny) but organisations can request CRB checks (such as nanny agencies).  A CRB check cannot be done without the permission of the person whose record is being checked; usually if you are applying for a job which requires one, you have to tick a box or sign to say you agree to it being done.

    Here is an excellent article from The Guardian explaining how the sex offenders' register works in Britain.