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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Staff Editorial

Budget cuts shouldn’t endanger public safety

Texas is in the final stages of implementing an overhaul of the sex offender registry, which will allow some offenders to remove themselves from the list, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

The Council on Sex Offender Treatment is holding a meeting on Feb. 26 to finalize the new plans to deal with low-level sex offenders. The council’s current plan is to allow offenders off the list after an unspecified amount of time and therapy.

According to Allison Taylor, executive director of the Council on Sex Offender Treatment, the list adds about 100 names a week and the cost of maintaining and managing the database is becoming unreasonable.

“This is a more common sense approach, we have to balance public safety with a limited amount of funds to ensure the maximum amount of public safety,” Taylor said.

While hosting a database may become a hassle, allowing people to deregister isn’t the best idea.

It may cost more money to maintain, but it protects the public — murderers aren’t allowed out of prison just because there’s no space left.

The list of offenses that are qualified as low-level include compelling prostitution, possession or promotion of child pornography and sexual performance of a child. None of these sound particularly friendly.

The removal process is estimated at around 10 years, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. It will require counseling and institutes a probation period similar to parole.

The question is, does the cost of running the list outweigh the benefit to society? In this situation, the answer is no.

Protecting children is not something that can be measured in dollars. Some things simply cost money — maintaining a list of sex offenders is one of them.

Texas is facing a budget crisis, true, but that is no excuse for lowering sex offender guidelines. There are other ways to cut costs; lowering the safety of children should not be one of them.

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