Laws requiring registration and community notification for convicted sex offenders are not constitutional. Megan’s Law deals with child molesters and sex offenders by requiring a public registration when they are released from incarceration. The concern with registering sex offenders has progressed to a nationalized level, with the government requiring every state to have some form of law that deals with Megan's Law (Menendez, 251). However, is this law constitutional? In this position paper the laws of being notified of sex offenders and their registration, and their accordance with the constitution will be evaluated.
It is the argument of this essay that making the offenders register and then notifying the surrounding society of their convictions is an added penalty that solely convicted sex offenders deal with and the law needs to be abolished. After a crime is committed someone is penalized for it. For most people who have committed a crime, as soon as they have carried out their sentence, they are in essence free. Of course there are some exceptions with some criminals not being allowed to vote or buy a firearm, those of which are the norm for people who have done a particular type of a crime.
Megan's Law goes above and beyond that. It concentrates on a single type of criminal, and creates even more of a punishment for sex offenders. Those that assisted in putting Megan's Law into action think that what the sex offender did was so terrible that everyone in that person’s community should be aware of them and that they deserve to continually pay for what they did. Megan's law completely disregards a person’s right to privacy and the Constitution (ACLU). No one wants to have their right to privacy violated but for those convicted of sex offenses they are not allowed the same degree of privacy.
Even thought this right is supported by the Supreme Court it has been taken away from sex criminals, while no other convict is put through this kind of punishment. No other type of criminal is required to deal with anything even slightly resembling this law. Someone paroled or released from prison after being been convicted of manslaughter is not obligated by law to register with authorities. They are not even required to let the surrounding community be aware of their previous actions when they move into their neighborhood. They should be capable of moving on with their life since their sentence has been filled out.
Of course people would want to be aware that a convicted felon has moved into the neighborhood, but it does not happen. However, that is not the case with sex offenders. They have already done their time and they should be allowed to live a normal life. Regrettably, laws requiring that they register with the police and give notification to the community, they are not able to move on. Privacy is becoming a larger and larger problem in the United States. Americans have taken advantage of the constitution and mistreated our rights by creating a law that takes away basic rights for sex offenders.
This law only focuses on those certain criminals, which is incredibly inconsistent not to mention unfair. They have done their time, and if the system we rely on so much actually works then there should be some faith that they have been rehabilitated and will not commit another deviant act. Hopefully laws such as this will not lead to the most extreme outcome involving a country having no more privacy. References ACLU (1999, January 19). Megan's Law Prompts Fairness Question in Online Notification of Sex Offenders. USA Today. Retrieved September 12, 2008. Menendez, B.
(1998). The Constitutional Implications of Megan's Laws: Permissible Regulations or Unconstitutional Intrusions. New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, 24, 249-278. Vogts, M. (2000, December 5). Sex Offenders have the Right to Privacy. The Daily O'Collegian. Retrieved September 3, 2008. Vosburgh, M. (1999). Megan's Law Under Attack in Ohio; Appellate Judges Equate Sex-Offender Notification With 'Police State'. The Plain Dealer, Pg. 1A. Winton, R. (2000, August 30). "Sex Offender Protests Called Troubling Trend" Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 14, 2008.