Online Bounty Hunting

Addressing the House of Representatives earlier this week, Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus, announced that “high-tech bounty hunting is now occurring in the United States.” He went on to laud the role of the Internet (mentioning LexisNexis in particular) in protecting children from convicted sex offenders:

The Internet allows law enforcement to track down known sex offenders in the United States. States can find convicted sex offenders that must register under the new Adam Walsh Child Safety Act. Failure of a child molester to register is a Federal crime.

So these convicted sex offenders who do not register with local authorities are now being arrested using LexisNexis Internet tracking.

Florida police were hunting for a known sex offender. They traced him to Illinois, but Illinois officials claimed the offender was dead. The Internet search tools tracked the child molester to Indiana, where he was arrested for absconding and for failure to register as a known sex offender.

Studies show that convicted sex offenders often remain dangerous and become recidivists once released from prison. Sex offenders are now being held accountable for failing to register; law enforcement is informed of known sex offenders’ whereabouts; future recidivism is prevented; and, meanwhile, children are safer because of high-tech bounty hunting.

Of course law enforcement and others have been making such use of online resources for several years now. But with all the recent headlines touting the “evils” of certain Internet destinations, I thought Congressman Poe’s positive remarks merited some attention here.

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8 thoughts on “Online Bounty Hunting

  1. quote:

    “Studies show that convicted sex offenders often remain dangerous and become recidivists once released from prison.”

    Can I get the source for these studies? The only credible ones I have found were from the DOJ statistics that cite a 3.5% recidivism rate for sex offenders. Something is amiss.

  2. Thanks for your comment Michael.

    Congressman Poe made that statement on the House floor. Perhaps if you contacted his DC office (link to his homepage is included in my post) someone could identify the studies the Congressman was referring to.

  3. The often recidivist comment is BULL hockey. The Department of Justice places sex offender recidivism at 5.3 % after three years post release. This number creeps after several years but these offenders as a whole have a much lower recidivism rate than any other offender save homicide. Get an education please.

  4. My comment is not directed at the author of the blog, but at those politicians who prostitute themselves for votes by quoting false information and fomenting an atmosphere of hysteria.

  5. I am very much in agreement that sex offenders need to be on a registry but that it should only be accessible to law enforcement individuals. The common person on the street does not know how to handle the information available. There is no way to actually hold someone accountable for threatening, assault, or even murdering a convicted sex offender once the person has the offender’s address. Yes, it is horrific when a select few are made an example of through their own actions by murdering his or her victim but one punishment for all is wrong. Nobody can predict the future as to who will offend (or re-offend) but people like John Walsh constantly pushing his own highly-biased agenda is wrong. Yes I feel for him in his loss of a son but to regularly call the people he wants caught as “scum” is an opinion he ought to keep to himself. There is no way that suspect can ever get a fair trial once the “All Powerful Mr. Walsh” has spoken……..He ain’t the Wizard of Oz and definitely isn’t God. Everybody is supposed to be innocent until PROVEN GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT IN A COURT OF LAW WHETHER JOHN WALSH THINKS SO OR NOT!!!!!!!
    With instances of family member being threatened, homes being burnt down, former offenders being stalked and murdered and sometimes an address being WRONG, where is the justice in that? Who holds some nut-job accountable for his or her actions handing out vigilante justice. That is what the court system is designed for. If an offender has done his or her time according to statutes already in place, that does not give anyone else the authority to decide otherwise.
    Several years ago, Suzanne Geha, an anchor for WOOD-TV in Grand rapids, Michigan had Senator William Van Rigenmorter on the show and when asked about recidivism rates for sex offenders, Sen. Van Rigenmorter stated that they have “the second highest recidivism rate for all crimes.” Obviously, this was a lie and he knew it. Playing off of his constituent’s fears, he used this forum to push for stiffer penalties.
    A friend of mine who knew he lied about the rates for sex offenders sent a letter to Ms. Geha and asked her to challenge the senator on his statement. She chose not to do so since this was at a time when America was trying to be tough on crime and reporters chose too often not to create ripples as looking soft on the issue. Look at the prison population growth for Michigan (and the budget) since the mid-90’s and you will see that what has happened is a total failure. My opinion is that reporters are to assemble the FACTS, report their findings, and let the public form an opinion based on the facts only.
    Sex offenders have the second lowest recidivism rate not the “second highest” as Senator Van Rigenmorter inaccurately stated. They are second to murders (who, by the way, are usually locked up for decades or life.) How many times do you hear of some drunk driver or drug pusher getting hit with 2nd, 3rd, or even 10th offenses and still get back on the street to do it all over again???
    When the State of Michigan pays an average of over $30,000 per year per inmate to house, feed, provide medical attention to (which by the way, inmates are having to pay a portion themselves out of any money they receive from friends or family), and there are over 50,000 inmates locked-up, it comes down to $1,560,000,000 per year (approximately). With the current budget for the Michigan Department of Corruption, I mean Corrections being close to $2 billion a year, just where is the half-billion dollar difference going? Is someone skimming off the top somewhere? It is not overhead for that is applied to the $30,000 already being spent per inmate.
    It is time for Michigan to wake up and smell the coffee when it come to the MDOC. Quit trying to spread fear among Michiganders that the culprit is sex offenders being so awfully terrible. Yes, some should never see the light of day again but these are a very small fraction of the entire group as a whole.
    What each inmate needs is therapy to better control their life and decision-making skills so that when they are released (and almost every one of them will be eventually) they can be a productive member of society rather than a leech sucking the blood through every citizen’s wallet and consciousness.
    One last word, all sex offenders are not child molesters!!! Yes, some rape, some are caught up in false accusations from divorce proceedings, some got caught having sex with a gf/bf who was not of legal age yet by as little as a single day, some had a full bladder and stepped around the corner in an emergency and now have to register for 25 years or more……This has got to stop!!! Now you know why so many residents in Michigan are heading elsewhere……We are tired of paying more and more of our tax dollars for stupid crap like this. I’d leave too if I could afford it but because of not finding a job for so long, I have had my only running vehicle repossessed, have filed for bankruptcy, and now am stuck in a state I want nothing to do with anymore!!! If your state is better, be thankful. If all your state wants to do is tax the living crap out of you and misuse these funds without any accountability of the people spending it….yell loud and clear……ENOUGH!!!

  6. Hi,

    Social scientists say that one of the things that make it difficult to stop sexual predators is the fact that their anti-social behavior is mostly invisible to most, except, sadly, to their victims. They are not the type of criminals that are easy to spot or who act suspiciously and avoid coming into contact with law enforcement officers or agencies. On the contrary, many Sex offendershave established
    themselves and are familiar figures in the community or neighborhood. They make their dark side known only when they strike. Oftentimes, they are people whom their victims trust – uncles, neighbors, teachers and the like.

  7. Where DID they get those statistics from? Where all politicians get them from. It started with John Walsh, believe it or not. He’s been spouting a 90% recidivism rate for years on that money making show of his. He spouts it on any of the shows he’s asked to be on and he screamed it the whole time he was pushing for his Adam Walsh Act.

    Problem is, the politicians didn’t check up with their OWN government agency, the Department of Justice. I mean, why bother, 90% is only about 16 times what it actually is…no biggie.

    The issue of sex offenders has created a LOT of money making opportunities for all kinds of agencies, especially DOC’s across this country, and now even private entrepaneurials (sic) are getting into the act to see who can make the most money by duping “sheeple” into paying for something they can get for free.

    We, at Soclear Media Productions, have had enough of the exaggerations to out and out lies. We are speaking out and telling the truth in whatever venue we are given access to. Come December, we will be gathering at the statehouse in Columbus to stand up for civil rights, and to say that Ohio’s RSO’s will be “Silent No More”.

    Being silent got millions of Jews killed in Germany, we’re headed in the same direction, it’s just IN America this time.

    Everyone can take a stand against the injustice. Whenever you hear someone spouting a falsehood, gently correct them by giving them facts and where they can find them.

    Respond, as I am right now, to blogs, editorials, and articles. Write to reporters of stories that are giving out these lies, let them know that not EVERY person in America is a “sheeple”. Let them know you are watching…

    If we stand silently by, watching these injustices occur, we are just as guilty as the actual perpetrators of that injustice.

    Stand Up Speak Out

    Jackie Sparling
    Chief Operations Officer
    http://www.soclear.org

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