Since its creation and adoption in 1993, the registry has become more controversial, mostly for two reasons: The high level of public access to the information, and because every offender is listed without classifications.
A lot of changes have been made since Idaho adopted this law. In 1998, registration became mandatory for convictions for crimes from rape to enticing a child over the Internet. In 1998, there were around 1,800 registered offenders, and now there are nearly 4,000 registered offenders statewide.
Offender: 'I really feel that the system, other than the list, was good to me'
Larry Robinson has been on the registry since it began. He was registered because he was still under corrections supervision (probation) when the list was created in 1993.
Robinson offended three decades ago. He admits sexually abusing a young female family member off and on for years.
"Aside from the fact that I am truly, completely repentant for my past deed, I don't want to get into the system again," Robinson said.
In the mid-2000s, ISP put every sex offender online, making it simple to find who's on the list and where they live. Before that, you had to fill out a form with your address and driver's license number to get this same information.
"You have this mark of Cain on your forehead and you just can't get away from it," Robinson said. "People from my church found that I was on that up here. I went out with this outdoor group for nine years. Somebody found I was on it, and boom, I was out of the group."
Robinson says jail time, treatment and religion changed him years ago, and his victim has forgiven him. But he says forever, his neighbors will know, and sometimes judge him by his old actions.
"I richly deserved to face my issues. I absolutely believe that the jail time was a good thing for me because it brought me to my knees and that brought me to Jesus Christ," Robinson said. "[But] If you have a proven track record of socially and legally acceptable behavior, I don't believe that should go on indefinitely like it does."
Despite the fact that most sex offenders would like to have this information removed from the internet, later this summer you'll start seeing more changes to the registry statewide to increase public access. These changes will allow you to sign up for notifications of when a particular offender moves -- or if someone moves into your neighborhood.
Unfortunately the increased awareness has done little to curb first-time offenses in the state. For example forcible rape rates in Idaho fell the first few years of the registry but haven't been that low again. However, the increased awareness is a valuable tool in preventing repeat offenders.
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