“If a person wants to straighten out,” a Maryland resident said, “they should be given the opportunity to straighten out, but it’s important for people to know things like that.” The Marylander was referring to the location of people who have been classified as sex offenders, who may live nearby.
As Daniel J. Gross reports for the Gazette, there are more than 8,000 people throughout Maryland classified as sex offenders. These people are required to be on the sex offender registry, which lists the person’s home and work addresses, as well as the person’s birth date.
Officers then check in on the registered person from time to time to ensure compliance.
The length of time a person must be on the sex offender registry depends on the nature of the conviction. As Gross reports, a fourth-degree criminal conviction will require a 10-year registration period, while a first-degree sex offense like rape will require registration for life.
The quote at the beginning of this post about a person “straightening out,” while at the same time the public is notified of that person’s whereabouts and what he or she has been convicted of, highlights the tension between doing the time for a conviction and yet still being punished for it in the long-term.