The state nonetheless treats all members of this "sex offender" class harshly, regardless of the underlying offense.
All "sex offenders" must comply with strict requirements, including regular registration, residency restrictions, and lifetime consequences damaging their personal and professional lives long after they've served their time, including the public shaming of having their names, faces, and addresses plastered online by the government.
In Georgia, it's even worse: A homeless sex offender must register every time he changes sleeping locations within just 72 hours. Oakland Police Department's current voicemail message for sex registration-related inquiries states that in order to register, one must make an appointment at least a month in advance.
It is hard to understand how one can be expected to register within five days of changing addresses if an appointment takes a month to set up.
As a result, I've had clients who continue to get arrested regularly for failing to register simply because they cannot remember to do it as frequently as they are required to and end up back in prison, where their health continues to deteriorate.
The real problem emerges once someone fails to register — which can be frequent for people who are homeless, disabled, or elderly.
For nearly 50 years, only four other states followed suit, until a handful of high-profile child murders in the 1990s began fostering a cultural fear of "stranger danger." In spite of evidence that most sex offenses happen by those known to the victim, this developing panic over the image of nearby, lurking sex offenders led to broader sex offender laws.