At the April 5, 2012, meeting of Nevada’s Advisory Committee to Study Laws Concerning Sex Offender Registration meeting, psychologist Stephan Brake, Ph.D., who has worked extensively with sex offenders, presented a study he conducted analyzing research that has been published on recidivism rates of adult sex offenders. His presentation did not come to any conclusions regarding the recidivism rates of adult sex offenders and seemed to suggest nothing more than that some sex offenders reoffend sometimes. When questioned about the effect of registration on recidivism, Dr. Brake admitted that there was no conclusive evidence that registration had any effect on recidivism. Data like these have been used to base profoundly stricter sex offender registration and reporting laws across the country.
AB 579, which retroactively re-classifies sex offenders into strict tiers based on convictions, was passed in the Nevada legislature in 2008. The ACLU of Nevada, which was represented at the April 5 meeting by Legal Fellow Katrina Rogers, has fought tirelessly to prevent these unconstitutional and punitive laws from being implemented. As of now, there is a permanent injunction in place that prevents these new tier classifications from being used.* However, there is a possibility that AB 579 could be put into effect in the future. At the April 5th meeting, there was discussion regarding proposed legislation that would carve out an exception for juvenile offenders. While this is still in its very beginning stages, the ACLU of Nevada would support such a bill in order to ensure constitutional protections for youth in Nevada.
There is a great need for the ACLU to continue to monitor and influence sex offender laws around the country. The ACLU of Nevada has always stood for the rights of the marginalized and unprotected members of America’s citizenry. The ACLU of Nevada will continue to work hard to protect the rights and liberties of all citizens of Nevada.
*The permanent injunction was lifted by the Court on April 11, 2012.