This might seem insane to some, but I don't think sex offenders who have served their jail time really need to register. Not if the Justice System and parents are doing their jobs. How it currently works, or at least as best as I can understand it, sex offenders who have served their sentences are released and required to register based on three different levels. The levels rank from 1-3 and determined by the ex-criminal's likelihood to re-offend. A Level-3 registered sex offender is considered most likely to re-offend. So, why are we letting him out?
I don't believe that this system helps protect my children in any way. Sure, its nice to be able to pull up the information online before renting or buying a new home. You can easily determine what kind of risk would be involved in having your child ride their bike down the street. However, knowledge of this information only serves to give many parents a false sense of security. For starters, many offenders are released with no home to move to - they register as transients. The other problem is that a neighborhood that does not show a list of registered offenders in the area could also mean that are lots of UN-registered sex offenders. Remember, all the registered sex offenders were once un-convicted and living in homes at one time or another.
So what is a parent to do? Most importantly, I think parents have to keep an constant eye on their kids. Do what I do - assume that everyone in your neighborhood is an un-registered level three sex offender. Now make your decisions accordingly. Also, talk to your children about what they would do in different situations. For instance, involving strangers or even someone they know, wanting to do things they aren't comfortable with. Let's not leave our children's safety and our peace of mind in the hands of a system that knowingly tags and releases predators in our neighborhoods.
Suggested Reading: Your Body Belongs to You