"The Missing 100,000 Sex Offenders," the Political call to action myth. The myth originates from a 2003 telephone survey by Parents for Megans Laws. A 2003 CBS News article explains exactly what transpired back then, it says:
"It (Parents for Megans Law)found that states on average were unable to account for 24 percent of sex offenders supposed to be in the databases. ..."In other words there were former offender who the states believed should be in their databases, but were not. i.e., missing sex offenders.
At that time it was reported that there were between 400,000 and 500,000 registrants: see "Parents for Megans law estimates that 24% or between 100,000 and 150,000 aren’t even registered, meaning over 100,000 sex offenders are roaming the streets unknown to local law enforcement." Sen Schumer's website (July 2005). Also eAdvocates list of "Assorted Quotes of Missing Sex Offenders also that time frame; 2005-2006"
PML also found that, many former offenders who were registered (i.e., in state databases) had not updated their addresses. These folks are not the focus of this discussion, here we are focusing only on the "Missing" i.e., roughly the claimed 100,000 sex offenders missing and not in data bases.Since that time Congress has appropriated millions and millions of dollars so that States and the U.S. Marshals could find the missing 100,000 and that war cry has been used to get law after law enacted, including the Adam Walsh Act.
Daily I read news reports and I am always looking for any comment with respect to the capture of someone who "MAY BE" one of the alleged 100,000 missing. Never have I found a single comment eluding to the capture of such a person. Yes, there are many comments about capturing folks, who were in a registry but failed to update something they were required to update, but these are not the missing 100,000 folks (remember they were not in any state database, according to PML 2003 report). So the myth lives on.
Dr. Jill Levenson has addressed the myth in two of her papers and also concluded she could not find anything to substantiate the myth. see "100,000 Sex Offenders Missing . . . or Are They? Deconstruction of an Urban Legend" and "Who are the people in your neighborhood? A descriptive analysis of individuals on public sex offender registries.."
Remember, we know that the 100,000 are not in any database. Are these folks ghosts and if so, why do we continue to chase ghosts, or dead people? Reality, these are the Politicians' Ghosts, thats why, and they need them to enact further laws!
Lets roll forward in time to the enactment of the Adam Walsh Act, the Final Guidelines - pages 6-7 which seems to address former offenders who are no longer in the system. See the following:
The proposed guidelines require the application by a jurisdiction of SORNA’s requirements to sex offenders convicted prior to the enactment of SORNA or its implementation in the jurisdiction, if they remain in the system as prisoners, supervisees, or registrants, or if they reenter the system because of subsequent criminal convictions.
Moreover, the specific provisions of the guidelines relating to ‘‘retroactivity’’ incorporate some features that may limit their effect on sex offenders with older convictions. While SORNA’s requirements apply to all sex offenders, regardless of when they were convicted, see 28 CFR 72.3, the guidelines do not require jurisdictions to identify and register every such sex offender. Rather, as stated in the guidelines, a jurisdiction will be considered to have substantially implemented SORNA if it applies SORNA’s requirements to sex offenders who remain in the system as prisoners, supervisees, or registrants, or reenter the system through subsequent convictions. So the guidelines do not require a jurisdiction to register in conformity with SORNA sex offenders who have fully left the system and merged into the general population at the time the jurisdiction implements SORNA, if they do not reoffend.
Guess what, states are not required to register them because they are no longer in the criminal justice system, so sayeth SORNA. Only if they commit another crime will they be brought back under the harmful umbrella of SORNA. Why are we spending millions (by now Billions) of dollars looking for people (Political Ghosts) who are not required to register because they are out of the system, or have died?
Further, Congress has yet to prove, or even try to prove, that these folks even exist, remember it was nothing but a "state's belief that they existed." But we also must remember, Congress needs a bad guy, a group to perpetuate fears, and pass newer laws.
For now have a great day and a better tomorrow.