Sex offender lists in schools – Do they really work?

I have been watching the headlines to articles over the past 12 months increasingly make claims that your school is safe from sex offenders and after seeing the headline below I had to write an article to understand what actually happens with a sex offenders list, why it is being sold as a good idea and what are the issues.

The Article…..

New tool allows schools to immediately identify sex offenders.…The officer will scan the ID in the visitor management system which will alert the officer if the visitor is a registered sex offender or presents another safety concern.

So I started to read many articles about the actual system itself, “the sex offenders list” only to discover there are many unconnected lists tracking sex offenders that are simply not connected. How can this work if there are multiple unconnected lists?

I have seen the following on multiple articles…One big reason offenders could be missed is that the state and local databases that track inmates, from the courts to the jails to the registry, all use different systems that speak different languages. Articles go on to say how the data is simply not kept updated so not only are there multiple databases not connected now the data that is in each data base is questionable.

So multiple databases exist across the whole of the United States and they are not connected….how can you possibly state “New tool allows schools to immediately identify sex offenders”

Instantly the system is flawed with multiple unconnected sex offender systems carrying incomplete lists of sex offenders. I guess every system is only as good as the input and it looks like the input to these systems is questionable at best. How can a system work when only in 35 states out of 50? The US Department of Justice operates a free national sex offender public website (NSOPW) and mobile app in 35 of the 50 states.

I believe a visitor management system with a sex offenders list is one of those items that is sold to customers because there is a need however what is being sold is so incomplete and in such bad shape that customers don’t know what they don’t know. For me and my research it really does appear the value in not in the solution offered, the sex offenders list has to many issues.

In Australia Derryn Hinch has been pushing for many years for a single national database of sex offenders, just like USA this system will only ever be as good as the data that is entered. Hopefully Australia can learn from the mess that is the USA sex offenders list