Ohio Juvenile Sex Offender Ruling Spotlights National Policy

Juvenile sex offenders in Ohio will no longer be required to register as sex offenders for life, the state’s Supreme Court ruled last week. The 5-2 decision ruled the lifetime requirement is cruel and unusual punishment, reigniting a national debate on how young people convicted of certain sexual offenses should fare under the criminal justice system. The majority opinion found certain parts of the Ohio Adam Walsh Act enacted in 2008 unconstitutional. Many states expanded laws pertaining to juvenile sex offenders following federal legislation in 2006 that sought to standardize how young sex offenders were classified and registered across the nation. “Registration and notification requirements frustrate two of the fundamental elements of juvenile rehabilitation: confidentiality and the avoidance of stigma,” Ohio Justice Paul Pfiefer wrote in the court’s majority opinion.

Sex Offender Registration Act Grant

Jurisdictions that are either developing or trying to enhance programs designed to implement the Sex Offender Registration Act may want to consider applying for a grant sponsored by The Office of Sex Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending and Trafficking (SMART) Support for Adam Walsh Implementation Grant Program. The Sex Offender Registration Act was put in place so it could provide a legal means to protect children from sexual exploitation and violent crime, prevent child abuse and child pornography and promote internet safety. It also helps build a comprehensive national system for the registration and notification of sex offenders.

Juvenile Sex Offenders [INFOGRAPHIC]

The OJJDP released a report titled "Juveniles Who Commit Sex Offenses Against Minors." The following infographic is a breakdown of some of the statistics from the report. What can you glean from this data? Is this a problem that needs more attention? How should these crimes be handled?