On air: Do criminals deserve anonymity?

Thanks to one of our listeners EvilBobbsy (I’m sure he’s a nice guy) who suggested today’s story, it’s been trending on Twitter for two solid days now. If you commit a crime, do you waive your right to anonymity? Or do you think serving time for your crime is punishment enough and you should retain your right to privacy?

We’re discussing this today as a notorious criminal is back in the news. In the UK in 1993, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were 10 years old when they killed 2-year-old James Bulger. In a very unusual move, the judge released their names and photos even though they were children. Having served their time, at 18, they were given new identities when they re-entered society to prevent the public harming and even possibly killing them. Venables recently breached the terms of his release and is back in prison.

The UK Ministry of Justice refuses to reveal why he’s back in prison, or the prison where he is serving time or indeed his name. His anonymity has provoked a global debate on the rights of criminals.

Should criminals’ identities and whereabouts always be made public? Do the public have a right to know? Why?

The United States is well known for ‘name and shame’ registers. There is a sex offenders registry nationwide so you can easily know what offenders live in your neighbourhood. It’s pretty comprehensive with photos, addresses, convictions and dates.

Do you think that’s the right way to go? Should the luxury of anonymity depend on the level of the crime? Some argue that the more heinous the crime, the more necessary anonymity is to prevent reprisals. Do you feel the need to know information about criminals that may be in your neighbourhood. Or, do you trust the authorities of your country to protect you?

117 Responses to “On air: Do criminals deserve anonymity?”

  1. 1 steve
    March 4, 2010 at 15:18

    Well, in the US, you can lose certain rights if you are convicted of certain crimes, including the loss of the right to vote, and this is AFTER they have served their time. I personally belief that sex offender registries should only include violent sexual predators, and actual pedophiles, not someone who has sex unknowingly with a 17 year old, then gets charged with statutory rape. People can get on the sex offender registry for patting someone on their behind, or streaking the field of a sporting event. If you allow murderers to change their identity, in this case children who killed, then you’d think that sex offenders would face even more risk from the public.

    Also, in the US, for people not even convicted of crimes, just charged, the police have ways to humiliate these people, if you google prostitution related offenses, these people haven’t been convicted, yet the police try to shame them and it also makes a fair trial less possible, yet they are allowed to do that.

    • March 5, 2010 at 11:31

      Of course, Steve, these things happen in the US, which is not a democratic country in the real sense. However, where lynch mentality is rampant, it is important that those who have served the time are accorded some measure of protection from mobs. Providing anonymity is a step too far. At least the public should be aware of waht is happening in their midst and who is doing it.

  2. 3 Mike in Seattle
    March 4, 2010 at 15:32

    The use of registries and lists like this are ridiculous. By essentially branding criminals, they are prevented from normal lives and remain forever separate from society. Furthermore, it gives the rest of us a false sense of security, as the vast majority of sexual crime is committed by people known to the victim, not random strangers.

    If criminals are truly dangerous, there are methods to take care of that. Supervised release, ankle monitors, etc. Branding them like cattle serves no one and only causes more harm.

  3. 4 Roy, Washington DC
    March 4, 2010 at 15:36

    Society has a right to know who among them poses a potential safety risk. Sure, they may have been rehabilitated, but how am I to know that? This doesn’t necessarily mean they should be ostracized, just monitored.

    It’s a public safety issue. Last month, when we had the big snowstorm here on the east coast of the US, I was helping run a program where people with four wheel drive vehicles could volunteer to shuttle people to shelters. It was discovered that one of the people who wanted to volunteer was on the sex offender registry; needless to say, they were NOT allowed to help out. It’s not worth the risk.

    • 5 Chrissy in Portland
      March 4, 2010 at 19:00

      I agree with Linda’s post below.

      Having worked in probation/parole in offices with high risk sex offenders off and on for years I can honestly say I disagree with your description of how that situation was handled. I don’t know if this person was on supervision at the time but as part of their supervision, sex offenders are not permitted to be in close proximity to minors. If you were concerned about that you could have just made sure he transported adults in his vehicle. Also, did you contact your local law enforcement agency or probation/parole office to find out what he was convicted of? It’s public information and readily available. Did you also talked to his current/past parole officer who could have given you more information and/or guidance? I just hope that you made some inquiries before making your decision.

  4. 6 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 4, 2010 at 15:55

    Trials of adults are a matter of public record, and knowledge of the subsequent whereabouts of those who have been convicted of crimes is part of the price the criminal is liable to pay for his or her misdeeds.

    In general, I would exclude minors, but the murder of James Bulger was so horrific I believe the public has a right to know the whereabouts of his murderers.

    As for trusting the authorities of my country to protect me: Switzerland has a harsh climate and virtually no natural resources, yet is one of the richest countries on the planet because of its well-ordered society. Except for certain areas in the three largest cities (Geneva, Zurich and Basel), I feel absolutely safe here. This is due not so much to the “authorities” as it is to the nature of the Swiss people themselves.

  5. 7 T
    March 4, 2010 at 16:06

    35 years after being repeatedly raped, I’m thinking about pressing charges against one of the psychos that did it. I have basically two avenues:

    Get a police report and then possibly get victim compensation.
    Or, if the local district attorney won’t file charges, go to a civil court for
    damages (and then get extra compensation).

    I have many things to consider. My personal safety, facing this person again in court. My PTSD symptoms getting worse in the process. And, since this would bcome public, the whole world would know I’m a rape survivor with PTSD. Ths means I could be deemed “uninsurable” for health care. And potentially not get hired for many jobs.

    So maybe rephrase the quesiton. Do survivors of these crimes deserve anonymity? Sorry for the long post.

  6. 8 steve
    March 4, 2010 at 16:09

    If it’s about public safety, should people who have been treated for sexually transmitted diseases be made public so that they can be avoided?

  7. March 4, 2010 at 16:38

    No one has considered the fact that these two criminals, Venables and Thompson, were children of ten years of age when they committed a dreadful murder. Given the correct treatment and proper care these two boys, now young men have the potential in theory to become decent citizens. I believe we have a responsibility to try to help child criminals to because wholesome adults.

    Adult paedophiles I believe should be locked up forever, so no worry about their identity comes into the equation and no one seems to be able to ‘cure’ this condition.

  8. 11 Linda from Italy
    March 4, 2010 at 16:42

    Interesting, it seems that Roy, Washington DC, has just vindicated Mike in Seattle’s position absolutely. If this guy were on some register as a convicted sex offender, although I assume no one knows what he actually did, by refusing to allow him to play a responsible in the community he has no chance of rehabilitation. Why could he not help and still ferry people in his 4×4 with some subtle precautions? I don’t mean holding a shotgun to his head throughout the ride, but, most of these vehicles can seat at least 4 passengers, so there’s strength in numbers. Don’t pack the car full of kids or let a single passenger (of either sex) get in with him, just be sensible, but don’t ostracise the guy or he will come to hate your “community”, something that in itself could well serve as justification for doing it harm.

    • 12 Roy, Washington DC
      March 4, 2010 at 17:18

      It’s an issue of trust. If you do something bad enough to land yourself on the sex offender registry, you have shown yourself to be less than trustworthy. (Yes, it can be too easy in some cases to be labeled as a sex offender, but that’s a different debate.)

      If I’m not comfortable with putting public safety in your hands, I’m not going to.

  9. 13 Linda from Italy
    March 4, 2010 at 16:58

    Re the UK child murder case (in both senses of the term), this was indeed hideous, but I very much doubt the wisdom of the original judge in releasing the names and photographs of the two killers, although that may have a damage limitation exercise as it would have been extremely difficult to keep a secret.
    The latest development seem to be a case of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, we know who the guy is (at least his past identity) what he did all those years ago as a disturbed child, but most important, we don’t know actually what he has done that constitutes a “breach”. Neither do we know what happened to those two boys for all those years in custody. Did they receive the sort of treatment they obviously needed?
    I wonder who leaked this latest story? Seems to be an agenda there militating against anonymity.

  10. 14 dan
    March 4, 2010 at 17:00

    In the United States ALLEGED rapists, pedophiles and others accused of heinous crimes are identified BEFORE they are tried and convicted while the “victim” whether real or not is NEVER identified.
    Careers have been ruined in this way by false accusations.
    Now the children in the UK who served their time were unable to resume a normal life after being fully stripped and exposed publicly were given new identities and expected to live normal lives.
    How foolish of those think a waive of a magic wand will make all things right and felons will come out as wonderful citizens after having been revealed and unable to restart their lives.

  11. 15 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    March 4, 2010 at 17:05

    Child molesters and major sex offenders need to be monitored. According to words of experts and some of these people who have been on talk shows, there is no rehabilitation for these problems. I am for putting GPS chips on these type of people when they leave prison. I am not sure of the stats, but on the news they all seem to be repeat offenders. I will agree with Steve, that the person convicted for statutory rape might not be listed. Especially when you are talking 19 year old with a 16 or 17 year old. If you look on the registry, most of these cases are a one time deal.

  12. 16 Andrew in Australia
    March 4, 2010 at 17:06

    I have mixed feelings on this. As someone with no criminal record or activities I often feel that self-righteous imbeciles who form lynch mobs and go about shouting and screaming at offenders who have served their time are either sublimating their guilt for soemthing they have done or thought about or plain stupid as this serves no real purpose. You have done your time and now released. On the other hand I would prefer to know if someone near to me was a criminal and what type of crime they committed. I wouldn’t daub their walls or throw bricks, but at least I would be forewarned. The debate reminds me of Woods and the people’s desire to know and I am of the opinion that no one really has a right to privacy and if right minded people with no malice in their minds can expect to be open to the public then why shouldn’t those like the 2 subjects who murdered James Bulger. These 2 didn’t just steal a car or even kill someone in a drunken act. For these 2 personally I have nothing but contempt and disgust and feel they should have been left to rot in jail, never to be released. Some people lose their right to any sort of freedom as defined by their act regardless of age. Their identities should be made know as they must face the consequences of their actions.

  13. 17 Andrew in Australia
    March 4, 2010 at 17:08


    Would you want to know if someone who is handling your food has Hepatitis? This is transmissible easily and a serious health issue. I would want to know so yes, I could avoid anyone like that. If I was seeking a relationship with a girl, i would want to know if she has an STD, why wouldn’t i? It could risk my health or even kill me as I assume most people would not be forthcoming about revealing such matters.

    I would want to know if the pilot of my flight is an alcoholic, or my bank teller had been convicted of theft, etc.

    March 4, 2010 at 17:14

    The hiding of identity should be discouraged. People should be known for crimes that they have committed. I like what is happening in Rwanda where the victims and criminals can speak openly about past crimes or victimization – its a big lesson all of us can learn from.

    Some past criminals in my country have taken their own initiative not to hide their past crimes and are open about it and in this way they are free to demonstrate repentance. Some have stopped completely and have contributed positively to society – it has not prevented them from marrying and having families.
    The society benefits through getting informed to be defense in case there is deviance recurrence on criminals or help victims to cope with life without getting hounded by shame.

    Its true that there are those who do not recover completely from deviance but very little can be done about them – but hiding their identity does not help unless it is a case of mistaken identity.

  15. 19 Andrew in Australia
    March 4, 2010 at 17:18

    Ultimately people who commit serious crimes shouldn’t feel they have a right to be held up along with the rest of the world who have lived an honest life, never acted criminally or hurt anyone.

    I think it is an insult and an affront to many people who lived honest decent lives to then see that those who for whatever reason could not control themselves are then the subject of mass sympathy. I don’t apologise for thinking that why is it I can lead a decent life and not impose myself adversely on others only to see those who didn’t have any shred of consideration being given consideration they couldnt find for others. If you in a society act against it, then you on a lower rung to those who don’t.

    We here are having a rising problem with knife crime and recently a school girl was stopped after threatening a fellow student in school grounds. No charges against her or sanction by the school. What message is that giving out? What about the security and well-being of everyone else, apparently doesn’t compare to someone ready to hurt others.

  16. 20 Guido, Vienna
    March 4, 2010 at 17:20

    If a full criminal register were available, would you check your neighbours? I certainly not.

    The call for a public criminal register is the main reason why I am against it. A criminal who served his sentence has the right to lead a normal life.

  17. 21 Clamdip
    March 4, 2010 at 17:26

    Sexual offenders can’t be rehabilitated so they should not even be released back into the community. In general, the shortened sentences and mayhem perpetrated by offenders seems to have been planned from the outset. If people are afraid knowing that murderers and rapists are freely roaming the streets, citizens will naturally turn to the state for protection then the government will control everything.

  18. 22 Linda from Italy
    March 4, 2010 at 17:37

    I think this is really about how much we trust our society to deal with offenders in such a way that they are given a change of rehabilitation. Young offenders are particularly vulnerable, (agree with Millytante’s first point 100%), but if a justice system is truly that, it has two purposes:
    1) protecting the public from criminal acts
    2) rehabilitating offenders so they are able to return to society and play a useful role.
    If someone has been convicted of a crime and received a sentence, that should be that once the sentence is served and it is no one’s business what went before.
    If the crime is a serious violent one against people then the justice system should have inbuilt checks and balances to ensure the public’s safety at the end of the sentence.
    Some form of monitoring may be in order, but this should be a matter for the interested institutions (probation service etc.), on no account should “hate lists” be published as people who have served their time and are indeed ready to try to pick up the pieces again will themselves be in danger from the more vigilante-minded sections of the community.

  19. 23 DaveUK
    March 4, 2010 at 17:46

    It is obvious the breach by Venables as he was known if revealed will allow the victim/s witnesses or even new jail mates to guess who he was. I believe first of all he should not be walking the streets anyway regardless of his age when imprisoned it was not long enough. Now that he has breached his terms of release he should be named and shamed as obviously he has not been rehabilitated or wishes to be. I accept there is the danger he is not able to adjust to civvy life and therefore a mental assessment should be carried out to establish his suitability to be back in civilisation and any further danger he poses to the public. There are secure institutions where he could be kept and his notoriety would not necessarily put his life in danger if his past is known but, society needs to know his latest crime and be assured he offers no further danger to them

  20. 24 Dan from Boston
    March 4, 2010 at 18:11

    Venables and Thompson are monsters who should never have been released. Whether they should be in prison or in a mental health facility is another question, but they should never have been allowed to rejoin a society to which they do not belong. Regardless of their age at the time, their crime is too heinous for them to ever be considered “rehabilitated”. Some crimes are just too evil, and this is one of them.

  21. March 4, 2010 at 18:15

    Normally children(under the age of eighteen) have to be protected from the glare of publicity even when they commit crimes. However when they commit gruesome crimes like murder, it should be up to the judges to decide whether their identities should be concealed. In this case after being found guilty at the age of ten of a heinous murder of a child and violating strict conditions of his parole, Jon Venables is back in prison. we are still unaware what conditions he broke. Now as an adult of 18, he should be aware of the horrid crime he perpetrated. The fact that he continued to defy the restrictions placed on him shows his total disregard of the restricting conditions on him. He does not deserve any sympathy at all.

  22. 26 Elias
    March 4, 2010 at 18:24

    There are several points that needs to be answered. The fact children at a very young age commited the crime, as children do not know much from right or wrong in anythining they may do, mostly television watching shows of criminal acts are rampant and deplorable, it is most probable these children have been watching these programmes. They should have complete anonimity accordingly due to their very young age and their privacy preserved.
    The public have every right to know why one of them is back in prison and how did he violate the conditions of his release.
    The name and shame registers in the United States is justified for certain crimes like sex offenders, for it is a known fact they are apt to offend again and again, no amount of therapy will help in deterring them. Certain extreme criminal acts should be also registered for the public awareness. Regretably the authorities have several times failed in the past to protect the public.
    However, a criminal who has served his time for a small crime such as burglary, should have complete anonimity.

  23. March 4, 2010 at 18:29

    How easy it is to wander off subject and get lost in diversionary gossip that has absolutely nothing to do with the main issue.

    Present circumstances confirm that the original crime has already been dealt with and can not be changed, now it is mostly a question of cost and the continued cost of legal aid and expenses should be avoided as much as possible, as we all know how much the legal system costs the ratepayers to defend and keep even the worst criminals.

    The benefit to the public by hiding their identity does actually keep the costs down,but at no cost at all, the latest crime of Venables can be revealed and at least one major concern of the general public would be dealt with immediately. Especially if it is merely a matter of a breach of discipline and if it is not; for public safety it must be made public knowledge immediately,

    If it is another serious crime the matter must go to court and it will be fully exposed in due course.,but if it is once a charge has been made reporting of it will have to be be curtailed any way.

    All sympathy belongs to the toddler’s mum the killers should for ever have none, and how long will it be before media cash obtains the photos that they will in due course of time obtain and possibly have to sell abroad?

  24. March 4, 2010 at 18:32

    Criminals do not deserve anonimity. The public should be able to know the identity and crimes committed by every criminal.

    I think members of the public should have the right to demonstrate against the actions of criminals,and they should be allowed to do that outside the homes of criminals or those who let criminals into their homes. People who cause physical harm to or damage the property of criminals, are themselves guilty of crimes, so they should be punished for their actions.

  25. March 4, 2010 at 18:32

    i wish we didn’t have to register sex offenders but sadly, the evidence that they re-offend is overwhelming so it is a comfort for me, as a mother of two young children, to be able to go online to see if any sex offenders live near us. we do need to change the laws because it seems too many people get registered as sex offenders who are just young people who were a year or two older than their partners.

    Salem, Oregon

    • 30 Mike in Seattle
      March 4, 2010 at 19:19

      Elizabeth, what evidence have you been reading? The current literature states that the vast majority (80%+) of these cases are committed by people you already know and trust.

  26. March 4, 2010 at 18:37

    I think the more henious the crime, the more the identity of the offender should be publicised!

  27. 32 subra
    March 4, 2010 at 18:39

    Not revealing the identities of criminals is dangerous and unacceptable. People should know who is who so as to be cautious and prevent more crimes from past offenders.
    Even all those religious priests and bishops who have committed sexual crimes must be known to the public so as to avoid molestation.
    Criminals have acted against society’s norms and decency; their anonimity places society in a more dangerous situation.

    • 33 Linda from Italy
      March 4, 2010 at 18:56

      Subra please “even priests etc”????? As if these are someone deserving of better treatment?
      These particular rapists are arguably worse because they abused a position of very particular power, namely religion, with all the cultural baggage that entails, because it depends on belief not rational logic.
      The point about the abuse within the Catholic Church is that most of the perpetrators where never subject to due process, had they been prosecuted in a criminal court as they should have been, they would have served a sentence then the anonymity/rehabilitation arguments would apply equally.

  28. 34 steve
    March 4, 2010 at 18:41

    @ Clamdip

    That’s a pretty broad statement. You think that someone who streaks a soccer field should be locked away for life? Sexual “offender” includes that, someone who unknowingly has sex with a 16 year old, someone who pats someone on the behind, etc.. Not all sexual “offenders” are hide in the bush rapists or adults having sex with infants.

  29. 35 Cabe UK
    March 4, 2010 at 18:47

    Society doesn’t really have a right or – to be more precise a * NEED * to know anything! The ones with it’s hand up Societies media-hungry Glove-puppet backside is the Media themselves and They only want to know because of Profit.
    It makes not one JOT of difference whether we “know” or not as tomorrow something else will have happened and we’ll have forgotten about what went on today…
    Criminals lose their right to freedom not their Human Rights and if they are eligible to be set free some day, then putting them on public lists is not the way to police them. Its just another way to convince you that you need the “Big-Brother mentality” to watch you all the time. Society and people everywhere need to look to themselves because somehow we are responsible for this generation as our parents were responsibile for the last generation of thinkers, creators and destroyers. The Media have trained us to have an opionion so they can sell their stories – and as you can see from some of the ‘DOH’ opinions from Twitter and Facebook its not necessarily a good thing. – If details of everything were suddenly disclosed to you – then quite honestly – What difference would it make to you personally or your life ??? None !

  30. 36 nora
    March 4, 2010 at 18:57

    We do not know how to handle it when very young children commit terrible crimes. It speaks of lack of nurture, raises questions about television influence, why were they not supervised, etc. They are ours, and we must claim them, attempt to rehabilitate them. Any other road leads inevitably to more crime.

  31. 37 caydaruus
    March 4, 2010 at 19:00

    i believe, any criminal is criminal no matter where or who committed it. my view is that if no one’s fault is not put into the public then the crime would be endless chain that would be a thing people would be proud of rather than hanging their head in shame!!!!!!!

  32. 38 caydaruus Elmi Yousf, Somalia
    March 4, 2010 at 19:04

    i believe, any criminal is criminal no matter where or who committed it. i would be very happy to see criminals punished rather than concealed

  33. 39 Linda from Italy
    March 4, 2010 at 19:06

    We seem to have a lot of “us and them” going on here: us = innocent paragons (anyone ever lied to the taxman?); them = criminals = another race, species, aliens, extra-terrestrials?
    People who commit crimes are just that, people, human beings, and any sane society has a duty of prevention by trying to find out why these people do terrible things and trying to prevent the crimes happening in the first place, particularly when people who go so wrong are children.
    This is not a gush of sentimental, “bleeding-heart” sympathy, just a rational plea for an orderly, compassionate society.

    • 40 Mike in Seattle
      March 4, 2010 at 19:20

      I for one constantly drive 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit. How many here think my name should be on a public list?

  34. 42 Zuzanna
    March 4, 2010 at 19:07

    I was extremely saddened and shocked when I read the story of the toddler killing by two 10 year old children. This was a planned crime, evil, and extremely cruel at that. First of all I don’t belive that they should have been let out of prison, second, if they have been, then no they should certainly not have anonimity.

    Yes, anonimity should be based on the crime, or better yet, on a crime trend. killers and sex offenders should be public knowledge. If they committed such a crime, why would they expect any rights. If someone else wants reprisal, I would not blame them one bit. protecting criminals is shameful, since after all the people they did hurt were never protected. You reap what you saw, let them have what is coming to them.

    Perhaps my words are harsher because I am a mother of a 2 year old, but in my book, criminals like these two kids should not be allowed to ever live a normal life again.


  35. 43 Cabe UK
    March 4, 2010 at 19:08

    Its interesting in a way but we wouldn’t really need ‘Registers’ if the police, therapists, prisons, and probation did their job properly. There are better ways of ‘policing’ than lists and disclosure. The reason why we have ‘lists’ and whole streets of people spying and grassing on each other with Neighbourhood Watch etc is because the police now put that responsibility onto us while they themselves are more interested in County milestones/ projections and targets. We are doing their job now so it’s only natural that they’ve got to give us more details in order to do it?

  36. 44 Peter
    March 4, 2010 at 19:12

    Isn’t prison used to protect public from Criminals ? Well, keeping anonymity would contradict the all point of keeping them in prison as this would mean that once they are free , the general public would be unaware of them !Once a convict is always a Convict!

  37. 45 steve
    March 4, 2010 at 19:13

    By that standard, yousef, EVERYone is a criminal. Ever driven above the speedlimit? Ran a stop sign? a red light? copied a DVD, downloaded an MP3? If I transported myself to saudi arabia, I would be a criminal most friday nights as I tend to drink those nights, so my actions are criminal in saudi arabia.

  38. March 4, 2010 at 19:13

    Do Criminals deserve anonymity?
    No,even if someone is cautioned their name should be printed in a newspaper.
    I remeber living in a town in the USA where the names of people with STDs/VD were published in the local newspaper.
    “Name and shame” does work ,it is not about stigmatising anyone permanently just raising community awareness about an individuals character at a particular time.
    If someone is caught speeding,driving by a primary school,why shouldn’t there name be published,they have to appreciate their actions effect everybody in society.

  39. March 4, 2010 at 19:14

    No! i don’t think they should be granted anonymity, some of these people commit very serious crimes including murders and rapes, so their identities should be made public but there should be some parameters set, because you wouldn’t want to overload and confuse the system with minor and petty crims.

  40. 48 Steve G 0 Cleveland
    March 4, 2010 at 19:15

    If a person is CONVICTED of a crime in court, the proceedings are PUBLIC records. These records are available to anyone. Just as other public records are available such as births, deaths, marriages, title transfers, tax delinquencies etc. these records belong to all.

    If the question is “Should a judge be permitted to seal from public view records of a trial?” Then the answer is different. A judge does have the right to seal records to protect individuals who may be at risk. The default is open disclosure.

    If after being convicted of a crime, serving time and subsequently becoming an asset to society an individual should be able to “cleanse” their record, again using the courts and showing how this would serve the greater good.

  41. 49 steve
    March 4, 2010 at 19:15

    Why lock two kids up for life? I’m reading a lot of comments that 10 year olds should have served life in prison, yet I recall other shows where people, possibly the same people, had no problem with mass murderers getting off on compasionate grounds (Lockerbie bomber) or a Baader Meinhof member who murdered 5 people in cold blood and served only 25 years for those crimes she had no repentance for.

  42. 50 Bruce
    March 4, 2010 at 19:20

    I don’t believe that public nowledge of where a criminal lives adds to the safety of the public. The public says that they feel safe knowing the info is available but once they look and find one of them (sex offenders in WA) is near them, they no longer feel safe!
    I don’t see any problem with the police knowing the info as it will make it easier when they have DNA that links them to a crime.
    The state of Washington publicly registers sex offenders and we have had several deaths of those registered sex offenders due to that info, so thatis a good reason for not making the info public.
    Here the rate of re-offense is 24% for sex offenders while other offenders re offend at the rate of at least 70%. Those who have committed rape re offend at the rate of 2.5%.

    • 51 Steve G 0 Cleveland
      March 4, 2010 at 19:51


      So. Ignorance is bliss! If you do not know that the new neighbor was convicted of a crime you are blissfully unaware …… and that is good?

      We recently found that an ex convict in town killed 11 women. (actually he has not been convicted but they found 11 bodies buried in his house) I’m pretty sure that the folks in his neighborhood would disagree with your Point of View.

      If we have to err, let’s err on the side of protecting the people who have NOT shown themselves to be criminal. Let’s focus first on protecting the innocent.

      • 52 Bruce in Wasjington
        March 6, 2010 at 20:03

        What you are proposing is like hollering FIRE in a movie when you only thing you smell smoke. There are exception to every thing. The case you report told that the offender was registered, the public could have known but didn’t.
        If some one is going to re offend, it doesn’t matter if he is registered or not. I don’t have any problem with registering, only making it “public”. If registered and the poilce find DNA etc, then they can quickly find the offender. The bodies found in the case you mention were not from the neighbor hood where the offender lived! The neighbors knowing would not have made any difference in the outcome.

  43. 53 Bert
    March 4, 2010 at 19:20

    I think a lot depends on (a) the crime, and (b) whether or not others feel that criminals are ever truly rehabilitated.

    Simple example: pedophiles. Few people, including your guest, seem to feel that pedophiles can ever be rehabilitated. Therefore, should the neighbors be allowed to defend their kids? Or does the criminal have greater rights?

    It all depends.

  44. 54 John in Salem
    March 4, 2010 at 19:21

    Parents have the primary responsibility for the safety of their children.
    So…. should a parent be charged with recklessly endangering their child by hiring a convicted pedophile as a baby sitter if there was a registry available that wasn’t checked?
    Or, if the state knowingly withholds information that could have protected a child by not posting a registry, does that mean no one is responsible?
    Bottom line – I might WANT to know if the CPA I’ve hired to do my taxes has been convicted of fraud, but as a parent I NEED to have all the information available to protect my child. You can argue the merits of anonymity vs. public interest all you want but when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, access to information is everything.
    The fact that rules and definitions of who gets registered need work doesn’t make registries a bad idea.

  45. 55 EchoRose in Florida
    March 4, 2010 at 19:22

    For those who think criminals don’t deserve anonymity, they should watch the movie “A Clockwork Orange” and see how “normal” people turn into animals to “punish” someone who has been reformed.

    However, I have a hard time with the idea of giving a cold-blooded murderer any rights considering they cold-heartedly took the rights of an innocent.

  46. 57 Cabe UK
    March 4, 2010 at 19:27

    I have worked for Prison Reforms and Trusts so know a tiny bit of how it slots together. and I have bad news for you – Peodaphiles can be and are rehabilitated and those that are – do not reoffend – and I repeat – They Do Not Reoffend! – – – it is just that the public and the Media don’t want to hear this. !!
    It’s bad news because everyone will have to change their attitude and its far easier to hate and kill / destroy something you continue to perceive as ‘evil’ than to turn your thinking around ! Someone said that ‘the evidence that they re-offend is overwhelming’ – it probably is, but you have to look closely where that evidence is from and what steps have been taken to help that offender. In the UK they recently said they were stopping a certain type of sex-offender therapy because its results were not good. Unfortunately I suspect the results were quite good its just that they were not given the true picture by prisons.
    Prisons in the UK are nothing to do with rehabilitation and all to do with money. They are more happy to keep people in prison say 10/20 years over their tarrif because (1) it is more profitable to do so instead of actually doing something to encourage people to better themselves and leave prison and (2) Most prison officers hate sex-offenders and will do everything in their power to hinder them..
    Their behaviour ultimately has a very damaging effect on our society. Especially when one is released and goes on to reoffend.

  47. 58 Bruce in Washington
    March 4, 2010 at 19:30

    Here sex offnders who have gone through the Sex Offender Treatment Program have a re offending rate of 14%. That means that 86% don’t re offend. That should convince you that they can be treated and or cured!

  48. 59 Chintan in Houston
    March 4, 2010 at 19:31

    The punishment applied to a criminal should fitthe crime and the judicial system needs to do that.
    Having a registry or any kind of public record basically denies a person a chance to normal life. The system still assumes them to be criminals even after they have been released.
    It is unfair and inhuman. Forgiveness is a human virtue and thats what all of self righteous people who advocate keeping such records need to consider.

  49. 60 EchoRose in Florida
    March 4, 2010 at 19:32

    If the crime is murder (and not in self-defense or defendable in any way) or rape (non-consensual), then I think the right to a life with standard rights is a little too much to expect.

    However, I think we do a very POOR job of making it easy for standard convicted criminals to re-acclimate to our soceity and become the people we DEMAND them to be. It is harder, especially with the economy the way it is right now, near impossible, for Felons to get jobs and even the right to vote. It’s ridiculous. By holding these people back, we create the desperate situations for crime to come to fruition thereby ruining our own soceity even more.

  50. 61 Paul Gunning, Jamaica
    March 4, 2010 at 19:33

    In Jamaica, due many of our crimes are committed by repeat offenders,
    We are a developing country, and those who tend to infract the law, often come out of prison more dangerous than they went into prison initially.
    Felons who commit dangerous crimes should be named and shamed to encourage them not to be repeat offenders.

  51. 62 sms England
    March 4, 2010 at 19:35

    I am probably in the minority but I what I want to know is why people are putting adult moral values on 2 10 year olds, ok there is no condoning what they did, but they are now adults. I have seen many aduilt killers go free after killing either adults or children and they are left alone – what they did was horrendous, but no worse than many other have done in the past and will do again in the future – why are so many on a witch hunt these were children who have now grown up and probably are as horrified by what they did back 17 years ago as the rest of the world is. They will never have a life, it will always be dogged by their past, Why do people have a right to know who and where they are – I don’t believe they do – why does the mother of James Bulger have a right to know – I don’t believe she does, they went to prision, they will live an existence under false identities – but will never have a normal life – so what if we all do know who and where they are what’s going to happen some vigilantie is going to end up in prison for murdering one or both of them – and what would that have achieved – nothing more runined lives more hurt and pain for more families – leave them alone – move on it happened 17 years ago – not yesterday

  52. 63 Kate M.
    March 4, 2010 at 19:35

    I think it should depend on the crime. If someone in my neighborhood is a sexual predator I want to know. There is no rehabilitation that works for them. A drug dealer or a car theif can be rehabilitated.

    • 64 Bruce in Washington
      March 4, 2010 at 20:07

      Kate, you are wrong! I am a sex offender and have gone through treatment. As a result, I know the what, why and how behind my crime. I know that I will never againg be a sex offender. In the state of Wa., those who have gone through the treatment program have a sucess rate of 86%!
      The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Statistic did a study and showed that those who commited rape are back in prison at the rate of 2.5% That means that rapists do not re offend as a rapist t the rate of 97.4%. That study was done across many states in the country. The report is available from their website. Drug dealers, and those involved in distribution, possesion, etc have a rate of over 70%. Where is the cure?
      While in prision I interacted with those druggies and they all consider their 1,2 and 3yr sentence as a vacation. They are not rehabilitated! The 30% that don’t re offend are generally over 45 years old!

      • 65 Kate M.
        March 4, 2010 at 21:09

        I am referring to the group of individuals who repeatly commit crimes. Serial rapist, those who molest generations of children in their family, etc. There are those who repeatly commit these crimes and are free.
        How did treatment work for them?

      • 66 Bruce in Washington
        March 5, 2010 at 19:18

        Kate: I see where you are coming from. I had in my treatment program an older man who had offended against his daughter, grand daughter and greate grandaughter. Through treatment he understood his what, why, and how. He has not reoffended in at least 3-4 years. More time will tell. However, how one is treated when released is very important. He has been accpted by those he offended against and other members of his family because they too know the what, why and how.
        In treatement we learn about, among much more, “US VRS THEM”. Examples are black vrs white, spanish vrs black/white/asian…..These are the cause of many problems in prision. When any offender is not accepted by the community, they feel that it’s ME vrs THEM. THEY won’t let me live where I would like, they won’t allow me to get a job in a profession I would like. Why should I care what I do to them because they are treating me in ways I don’t want to be treated. So, they fall back into old habits and possibly ending up re offending. The same is felt by YOUNG drug offenders. They have a re offending rate of over 70%, mainly, I think, because they can make more money faster and easier in the drug business.

  53. March 4, 2010 at 19:37

    If a society believes that their penal system works, and rehabilitation is a component of that system, then anonymity should be granted to rehabilitated prisoners who transition back into a life of freedom.

    If a society believes that prisoners give up their anonymity for life once they have been convicted of a crime, then that society does not believe that rehabilitation works. Why were they released at all? For felons convicted of sex crimes, the same should be true.

    Either keep felons in prison or rehabilitate them and let them go. The police can and in some cases — like child sex offenders — should be aware of these individuals, but not the general public.

    It all boils down to trust in the system. A society based on distrust is not a safe or healthy society. Do you trust that your society’s penal system works?

    • 68 Bert
      March 4, 2010 at 20:04

      No, certainly not always. There is no question that “rehabilitation” is too often a mere buzz word.

      But I agree with you that trust in the penal system doing any “rehabilitating” is key to how one answers the original question.

  54. 69 Dennis Junior
    March 4, 2010 at 19:39

    Of course, no! the criminal does not deserve anonymity….

    (Dennis Junior)

  55. March 4, 2010 at 19:40

    No. You should loose all of your rights when you take the rights of someone else by committing a crime.

  56. 71 Sylvia
    March 4, 2010 at 19:40

    If crimilas would only leave jail when reformed then they deserve anonimity. The problem is how to tell if they have changed…

  57. 72 Steve G 0 Cleveland
    March 4, 2010 at 19:40

    In case it was not clear….

    Court proceedings in the pubic record should be Felonies not Misdemeanors. I’m not sure anyone cares if someone gets a parking or traffic ticket.

  58. March 4, 2010 at 19:40

    I completely agree that everyone should have their rights protected. It is a big controversy that the sex offender’s have to register in each country and have their information public, Nonetheless, I feel so safe knowing where sex offenders live in my country. When it comes to it, I would rather the children of this country be safe. I don’t care if this policy ruins the life of the sex predator, if for return an innocent person’s(children) life can be saved.

  59. 74 Mohamed
    March 4, 2010 at 19:40

    Life for life its simple as that! why protect the criminals

  60. 75 Kevin Casey
    March 4, 2010 at 19:45

    John, the ex-prisoner (from NY, I think) doesn’t seem to see the contradiction in his argument that convicted criminals need to be given a clean slate.
    He admitted that he murdered the alleged rapist of his girlfriend wihout the victim being ried in a court of law. Why wasn’t this man (the rapist) given a chance to repent and start anew? John should perhaps think about how the parents or siblings of his victim are viewing him. Would they be willing to listen to a lecture on tolerance from him?

  61. 76 James C
    March 4, 2010 at 19:48

    It depends on the crime, simply put. Sex crimes or serious violent crime do not deserve anonymity. We must also look at what we can offer reformed criminals in the way of earning a living. If we cannot provide a way for a former criminal to make an honest living, they will find another way to do it. No matter how many police officers we hire or prisons are built.

    Here in the USA we can just bring in more people from other countries to replace the locked up person. Plus, there is BIG money to be made in the prison industry complex. Much like the military complex.

    At what point does the critical mass of prisoners become too large for even our advanced prison techniques?

  62. 77 tekkoo
    March 4, 2010 at 19:48

    I believe this subject should be looked at as case by case issue. Any solution seems to be as a sword of double edge, on one hand we would definitely like to protect the community by exposing the identity of criminals and there whereabouts. This way we deprive them of any chance of come back to the right way. One the other hand if their identity are kept anonymous, then we might but community on harm ways.

  63. March 4, 2010 at 19:49

    No. You should loose all of your rights when you take the rights of someone else by committing a crime.

    If you don’t want to be shut out of society then don’t be an offender. The deterrent is important.

  64. 79 Darren
    March 4, 2010 at 19:50

    Right now there is a case in Calif. where a criminal (sex offender) was released, and now it seems that he abducted, possibly raped, and then murdered a 17 year old girl. Does he deserve annonimity? I think not…perhaps that girl would still be alive had people know this deviant was no longer behind bars.

  65. 80 syrena
    March 4, 2010 at 19:55

    I volunteered at a prison facility in Hawaii that specialized in rehabilitation and socialization of sex offenders. The recidivism rate by ex-offenders from this facility was below 5 percent. I would feel safe living in a community where one of these men was living because of the education and training they received through the program. This facility has since been closed by the state of Hawaii, and I believe that the communities of Hawaii will be adversely impacted by its closure.

  66. 81 Sabine
    March 4, 2010 at 19:56

    In the US The recidivism rate for prisoners released from prison in 2006 within one year was 44.1%; this number rises to 67.5% within three years of being released from prison.
    One of the repeat offenders lived close to my friend and broke into her house, pointed a gun at her and robbed her. His mother told my friend that her son suffers from a mental disability (undeveloped prefrontal cortex) and is not really at fault when it comes to committing crimes…. he got a minimal sentence because of this and will be out among us again soon, getting the same “care” he got before (counseling, checking in with professionals to keep track of him, blablabla). Do I want to know about people like this living near me? YES! He will always be a danger to others!

  67. 82 John from Cardiff
    March 4, 2010 at 20:00

    If an ex-convict has done his sentence, if they are stigmatize, rejected and have no way of reintegrating society… should they commit suicide to bring total justice to their victims?

  68. 84 Emily Oberholtzer
    March 4, 2010 at 20:00

    It is a grave endeavor to deprive someone of their liberty. It is impossible for a person to reintegrate into a society that entirely rejects them. If you want a person to continue to be a criminal then treat them like a criminal. It is simply not helpful to the society, useful or effective for victims or felons to continue to disenfranchise them.

  69. 85 A. Nonymous
    March 4, 2010 at 20:03

    I think criminals deserve a certain level of anonymity, depending on the crime convicted of. Remember, conviction does not always mean that a person actually committed a criminal act. I have a friend who was convicted of statutory rape. Now, he has had a hard time when applying for work and other things. He’s a very bright, skilled, able-bodied guy, but because of this statutory rape conviction he’s had many hardships, preventing him from getting further in his life. Is that really fair???

  70. 86 linda archer
    March 4, 2010 at 20:04

    i,m a volunter for a exoffender program and we have alot of sucess story,s.but we need to educate the society instead of scaring them .

  71. 87 Mo
    March 4, 2010 at 20:27


    I think the answer is yes and no given the situation. The two then children in UK one would say they did not do it consousely it could be a terrible accident. They did not know what they were doing please let the children grow and learn their mistakes. I think the two fellows need to be protected from the angry mob, which is justified to be angry, but let us look into this.

    People are being killed in Afganistan and Iraq and everywhereelse around the glob and people just walk away as if nothing has happen.

    If you are considerd to be old enough to make a decision and take the responsibility then everyon e has to know who is this monster so that we should protect ourselves and our families.

  72. 88 Cabe UK
    March 4, 2010 at 20:31

    I do not tolerate sexual crimes but I do try to understand why they happen. Mainly to see how we can begin to eradicate them. From what I have learnt during my many years working with the Prison system, probation, forensic pschiatrics, psychologists and charitable prison trusts in the UK I can say with some insight that people who commit sexual crimes are not born evil. They unfortunately are made that way when still young and impressionable by those around them whom they love and trust, usually a parent or a close-to-the-family person. Sexual crimes are learnt from others and assimilated into a form of ‘how adults perceive love’ so the behaviour is taken as normal and then translated and evolved into their adult life – even though they may know in the back of their minds it is wrong, its a learnt behaviour difficult to control BUT CAN BE UNLEARNT !.
    Abused children will ultimately go on to emulate the behaviour that was shown to them, get caught and go to Prison. In Prison sexual predators, offenders, perverts call them what you will, are usually treated in the most horrendeous way by staff and inmates alike who will bully, beat, abuse, rape them etc etc. Good you say because this is what they’ve done to their victims..? But they themselves were also victims. Those who can rehabilitate will, and those who can’t because of learning disabilities, reading skills etc, well – can’t. Say they are released and come into society and SOciety finds out. They are hounded, beaten, abused, attacked their homes torched, sexual decapitation, lynching etc. Basically what I am saying is that Society continues to abuse them when they are grown. Nothing changes in their minds, and what we do to them is compounding their idea that it’s ok to keep doing this to people because everyone else is doing it to them and always have been….
    You also have to ask yourself another question. When all the very publicised and very welll helped victimes of this present generation of abuse (as opposed to other generations of abuse who got no help ) – grow up to abuse themselves – say it’s your child? – how will you treat them and what will you do about it ???
    We don’t need lists for grown up abused children. They must be monitored better and not be in any position at all where they come into contact with children. Sorry don’t want to cause WW3, its just my point of view ! Have a nice day!

    • 89 Linda from Italy
      March 5, 2010 at 08:16

      Brilliantly put and logically argued Cabe. Interesting that in your posts and those of other people with REAL experience with these unfortunate victims of cruelty and abuse whose natural social instincts have been warped by some horror in their early lives, you are able to argue authoritatively and cogently about the possibility of rehabilitation.
      I agree absolutely, but having no direct experience of this situation my arguments have to come out of my own human instincts and what I have observed of the societies I have lived in over nearly 60 years on this planet.
      Trying to combat the vigilante mentality and the utterly obtuse “once a criminal always a criminal” logic will never be easy but civilised people have a duty to try.
      Someone quoted A Clockwork Orange in another post as a lesson in how not to rehabilitate, I would like to recommend The Woodsman as a very thought provoking examination of a sex offender and his struggle to reintegrate into society. It doesn’t duck the issue of the offender’s continuing impulses and the ending is rather facile, although it is a shorthand artistic device to demonstrate that if people can be helped to see and, more importantly feel, the real harm they have done to real people, the penny eventually drops.
      If you do start WW3, I’m on your side!

  73. 90 tekkoo
    March 4, 2010 at 20:40

    t seems that people tend to forget – we are all created by God. Being created as the best person in the world, the worst or in-between was not my choice nor anybody’s. We should act humanly as far as we can and have forgiveness and tolerance, that is what humanity is all about. Likewise, must not lower our guard in protecting our children and community. Harm keeps coming in many ways and forms, and it is impossible to immunise ourselves completly.
    Recently, the news of children abuse by priest have had captured the head lines of news media. If we are helpless to protect our children from such supposedly outstanding people, how on earth, are we able to protect them from criminals.
    The law can electronically tag them so that their where about is known in real time. That is a viable procedure that can be explored.

  74. 91 steve
    March 4, 2010 at 20:42

    The state of massachusetts is considering banning male circumcision, and providing no religious exceptions. So not only would a parent be a criminal, but would they be considered sex offenders given the part of the anatomy this involves? Should parents who circumcize their sons be put on public lists?

  75. 92 Alexis MR
    March 4, 2010 at 21:13

    Its come up because one of the, now men, broke their parole conditions?

    I’m sorry but – [b]This has nothing to do with the stupid mistake they made as children![/b]

    Really, minors make mistakes all the time as much as adults, the difference is as a child you can’t know the magnitude of your mistake as an adult would because adults have *experience*.

    Its sick and wrong to parade these mens past wrongdoings around as if it were still relevant, its just sick tabloid editors distracting you all from the [u]real issues![/u]

  76. 93 Newslover
    March 4, 2010 at 21:14

    No, who minds about them? Because they have done wrong should be exposed and be exaple to others. I cant find any rational behind their anonimity. Crime is a dirty game those who play it must exposed.

  77. 94 Clamdip
    March 4, 2010 at 23:48

    One could argue that the compulsion to streak across a soccer field nude or to pat someone’s bottom could stem from the same compulsion. Why would someone feel they have the right to touch another person’s body without permission? Or does a streaker ever consider that others might not want to see their ugly body? Maybe the definition includes compulsion. I don’t know but it is these sort of unconscious, mindless acts that the laws are trying to prevent.

  78. 95 James
    March 4, 2010 at 23:50

    I hate the idea of lists like this and dislike the sex offenders register the right to privacy should never be taken away, and if the crime committed is seen as “bad” enough to go on a list/register then why the hell are these people being released from prisons?

    two further points.

    1) does anyone else think that lists sounds alot like Joe McCarthy? Therefore something that the judicial/legal system should avoid like the plague.

    2) I think all court cases, charges and convictions should be made anonymous. I.e. the facts should be presented but the victims names and defendants names should be withheld. Also linked to this any persons freed from prisons or convicted of crimes when appling for jobs where CRB’s are required should be given a CRB that does not state the crime committed but rather yes or no to them being suitable for a given job.

  79. 96 Clamdip
    March 4, 2010 at 23:55

    Recidivism is low in Hawaii because Hawaiians don’t play like ‘dat. They dissapear into a Puka, Hawaiian Style.

  80. 97 Kindi Jallow
    March 4, 2010 at 23:57

    All criminals should to treated equally once you have commited a crime big or small your freedom should be seized and your name in (name and shame) register in this way will help identify and prevent a repeat of a similar crime again.

  81. 98 Kenneth Ingle
    March 5, 2010 at 07:25

    No! The world would be a better place, if the money now spent protecting criminals was used to help their victims.

  82. 99 James Ian
    March 5, 2010 at 07:30

    We all need to know who the criminals are. How we treat them after knowing is a personal issue, but we should all at least know who the wolves are and be able to associate with them to our own comfort leavel.

  83. 100 Ekohl Eden, Kampala,Uganda
    March 5, 2010 at 08:44

    Criminals should not be given blankets to hide behind because it would be like appreciating them for the crimes they committed. I would tell my wife to take better precaution if i know my next door neighbour was a sexual offender who had served time for rape. Many experts say its very to learn a crime but equally hard to unlearn it. Lets expose criminals and not give them space to breathe.

  84. 101 Brian Bevan
    March 5, 2010 at 08:53

    There are many many situations and as such each situation has to be decided. My opinion is that as a general rule there should be no anonimity. All criminals once convicted should be logged so that permanent files are kept. Even after any prison sentence the file is always updated and held to be fully available to any legal enquiry agency at any time also internationally available so that the persons whereabouts are always known. Serious cimes and their perpertrators should always be available to the general public

  85. March 5, 2010 at 09:57

    the criminals have a abnormal pshycological component in their subconcious mind,they need psyhcoanalysis cause of violence with hypnotherapy or regression therapy to be taken into past lives as the violence first occurs in the subconcious than in words and than comes in deeds.

  86. March 5, 2010 at 10:09

    nobody can stop rumour mongering and gossip.

    TV(tambua village/jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  87. March 5, 2010 at 10:11

    what anyone must do is to be careful with the gossip or rumour he/she gets…..even governments do gossip and pass rumours…..listen and be careful to judge..it may be false.

  88. 105 Cabe UK
    March 5, 2010 at 12:04

    Thanks Linda! – WW3? I think we will be in the tiny minority!

    Sorry I digress – Anonimity – should released prisoners have it? Well in reality None of them have it anyway and it looks like no one wants them to have it so what is the problem…. ???
    What is in question is should people who have done horrendeous crime be released under anonimity? We have some heavy duty dude’s here – Myra Hindley who fought to be released but died in prison, Peter Sutcliff, the Yorkshire Ripper who’s just served 30 years and wants to know when he will be released etc, – well if they have done such horrible things I don’t believe they should be released. Their nortoriety is too famous and the public’s trust is based on that ‘fame’ (I remember a young girl committing a murder decades ago – sorry can’t remember her name, and was released under anonimity – well people are still hunting her now and lots of innocent would-be ‘look-alikes’ are caught up in that hunt). … Then again we had the Train Robbers who got 30 years which was waayyy too long by todays standard of crime. People like the two children above is slightly different. The tabloids stir it up too much so we never get the real truth or the true ‘feel’ of something. They were too young to have a life sentence, but now that one is back in prison, I think some indication should be given as to why he’s back, but his identity kept private. I think it is right that the media don’t have it entirely their way.

  89. 106 Subhash C Mehta
    March 5, 2010 at 13:53

    It depends on the age of the criminal and the type of crime he/she commits; There are types of those, who just do not deserve any right to privacy or anonymity.

  90. 107 steve
    March 5, 2010 at 15:09

    At the University of Michigan, on the last day of the winter semester, there is the “naked mile” where students run around naked. Should they be all on sex offender registries and named so the public can know who they are?

  91. 108 Bryan
    March 5, 2010 at 19:11

    Fine, let them remain anonymous but there can only be one reason for not informing the public about what he did to break his parole and be imprisoned again – and that is to hide the failures of the “justice” system from the public eye. As the old saying goes, justice needs to not only to be done but seen to be done. The appalling Labour “government” does not appear to understand that basic principle.

    The case of these two is tricky because they committed their crime at such a young age but I don’t think they should ever have been released.

    On the other hand, the case with adult murderers is clear cut, or should be: if you take a life you forfeit your own. In the case of premeditated murder with no extenuating circumstances there can only be one just outcome – and that is the death penalty. There is something obscene about a murderer sitting in one of Britain’s Holiday Inns getting three square meals a day, a warm bed at night, exercise, entertainment and the option to study while his victim lies in a cold grave, his life cut short.

  92. 109 Clamdip
    March 5, 2010 at 19:19

    I understand what you’re saying but how does society help children understand subtle differences and nuances. For example, streaking around a university as a prank compared to sexting some girl a teen boy might find attractive. It’s difficult for young teens to understand the unspoken rules of society. Part of it has to do with our schizophrenic laws that condone sexual behavior in one instance and criminality in another. Its also hard when sex is crammed down the publics throat by the media because some powerful entities think sex with young girls is acceptable and they want to change society’s taboos. I know there is a lot of sexual violence in American culture that isn’t adequately addressed. Giving teen boys double messages doesn’t help.

  93. 110 EBAYTKMAX
    March 6, 2010 at 10:33

    We should know who the dangerous people are for how can we keep ourselves safe? They shouldn’t be allowed to even cover their heads, why should a person be protected all their lives. If I was bad & I knew that the country was paying millions to stop people knowing who I am that would make me even more naughty. And as for that nonsense of they are too young for us to name them! If they do an adult crime they should be named, if it involves sexual assult or murder we should know, if they are hidden from us then the child grows up still bad & its not stopped untill they do serious harm. Adults should not be protected either to keep them hidden is not money well spent. I hope we find out soon, why this young man has gone back to jail.

  94. March 6, 2010 at 13:20

    Its a moot point if all criminals are justly convicted hence the arguement that they should or should not be given anonimity. I have seen no stats whatsover on those who are justly or unjustly convicted. Why are they never produced?

  95. 112 Caroline
    March 6, 2010 at 14:03

    “Fine, let them remain anonymous but there can only be one reason for not informing the public about what he did to break his parole and be imprisoned again – and that is to hide the failures of the “justice” system from the public eye.” – Bryan

    A less paranoid interpretation could be that if there is going to be a trial revealing more details could seriously undermine the chance of it being a fair trial.

  96. 113 Laura
    March 6, 2010 at 22:43

    Jon Venables was given every chance. He spent years being looked after and rehabilitated. He then was given a new identity. Now he blew it. He is 27. Sorry mate but you had your chance. Time to take the consequences of your actions.
    He should be identified and jailed according to the severity of his offence.

  97. 114 Cabe UK
    March 8, 2010 at 14:41

    I find it interesting that Jamie Bulgers mother is demanding to know what crimes John Venebles is accused of now. In Theory she really has no right to that information as this accusation has nothing to do with her or her family now. She is saying she needs protection from him (now that he is in prison?) yet was not to worried when he was free.
    My heart absolutely goes out to her and for the stirring up of memories but – – publicity pays a big part in shaping and being a vitcim and for Victims continuing to want to be a ‘victim’?
    There was a woman on the BBC news the other day that said it’s time Victims got a fair deal! I have to disagree because victims get an exceptionally fair ‘deal’. The whole system is geared towards and for them, and they get all sorts of support, sympathy and attention and grants and compensation from Government, Police, special Victim units and Charities etc, etc. Criminals on the other hand get very little real support. They may get support from Probation when released. That is why the Government has to step in to *protect* them and to try and keep it balanced.

  98. 115 Steve Skeete
    March 8, 2010 at 15:00

    In my opinion anyone who is charged and convicted of a crime should have his/her identity disclosed in the interest of the public. If a person comes before the court for breaking and entering in my community I want to know who that individual is, so that at least I can be on my guard.

    However, once that person has paid his/her fine or served time, the powers that be should leave them alone except in the interest of further rehabilitation or help for that individual if he/she is still considered a threat.

    I am not against offender’s “lists” if by this we mean that there is a record kept somewhere that persons can access if they are suspicious of someone in their community. I am however, against making people suffer continual punishment, shame and harassment for crimes for which they have duly paid their debt to society.

    This is what the sexual offender’s list does; and even though it is intended to serve other purposes, it degrades the individual and deprives him/her of several rights, including the right to live, work and socialize where he/she chooses. It also tends to treat all sex offences the same way and seems not to take into consideration the fact that some people do change.

    In the effort to safeguard the rights of the community, we must avoid trampling on the rights of the individual.

  99. 116 Cabe UK
    March 8, 2010 at 15:23

    @ Laura – looks like John Venebles was not ‘rehabilitated’ that well if he came out to reoffend?

  100. 117 patti in cape coral
    March 8, 2010 at 15:44

    I have mixed feelings about this, and after reading all the comments, my feelings are still mixed.

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