We find ourselves in a special moment. As our country rethinks the way it treats youth in the justice system, removing kids and teens from registries not only resonates as practical and possible — it’s becoming a priority. For the first time in nearly 25 years, the pendulum has shifted; the time for change is now.
Bobby was 11 years old when he flashed a group of other children at a party as part of a game. A few days later, one of the girls told her mother that she had seen Bobby naked, prompting a police investigation and juvenile charges. After being adjudicated, Bobby, not even yet being a teenager, was required to register as a sex offender. He also spent several years in a Texas juvenile detention facility. When he was released at 17, he had nowhere to go. As a person on the registry, he was barred from living in “child safety zones” near schools or parks. He also couldn’t live in public housing, ruling out family members’ homes. Bobby soon became homeless. Registration laws, however, require him to provide law enforcement with a valid address every three months. Without a place to live, Bobby was arrested several times for not providing an adequate address. Bobby is 31 now and has spent nearly half his life behind bars for failing to meet the rigid requirements that come with the “sex offender” label.
Ways to get involved
Spread the word
Talk to your friends and family about youth registration, pressure lawmakers to make removal a priority, and spread the word on social media.