Risk assessment will improve sex offender registry
Your article April 1 and editorial April 2 regarding the reform
of the sex offender registry brought some needed attention to the
issue. The Missouri Legislature will soon be making a decision
regarding the registry, and it is important that legislators make
the right one.
Congress passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification
Act in 2006. States were given until 2009 to come into compliance or
lose 10 percent of certain grant funding for law enforcement. Not a
single state complied, and the deadline was extended. Even today
only 16 states are in compliance. Missouri is one of them.
So many states have rejected SORNA because its provisions are
abhorrent and the cost is many times greater than what's lost in
funding. The registry can become bloated with nonviolent offenders
and require considerable law enforcement resources. For example, a
teenager having consensual sex with another teenager who is under 17
years of age can be charged as a criminal and end up on the registry
Two bills in the Legislature would make changes to how the state
would operate its registry. One would keep the state SORNA-
compliant and retain its bad features. The other bill, HB589, is the
better bill as it would use risk assessment an objective analysis
of the danger that an offender presents and the likelihood of re-
Risk assessment allows the true threats to society to be
separated from the youthful indiscretions. This is not only better
for public safety but would save millions of tax dollars. HB589 is
the bill that should be approved by the Legislature.
Sharie Keil Dixon, Mo.
France's education system is a good example
Regarding the April 2 editorial concerning pre-kindergarten
education ("America's 4-year-olds need more high-performing
My daughter has lived in France for over 25 years, and I have
grandsons who are approaching high school and college age. I have
been privileged to witness the amazing cradle-to-grave support given
by that country in educating their citizenry. Every aspect of the
education system is staffed by highly trained and well-schooled
professionals, starting with a day care system, "crche," with a
sliding scale cost to the parents. Children graduate to preschool at
an early age and are more than ready for kindergarten, proceeding up
to postgraduate levels.
Education is paid for by the state with each student earning
their way by diligence, hard work and competing for good grades and
ranking, not, in the end, burdened by exorbitant student loans.
Unencumbered by the high cost of their own education, graduates are
free to use their talents and training, in return, to provide the
staffing for the whole system of education from the youngest age.
It's the old adage, "what goes around comes around."
Do we want what comes around to be a large part of our population
unprepared to give back to our country?
Charlene Schneider St. Louis County
Former presidents deserve financial support
Regarding Bill McClellan's column "Start out by cutting aid to ex-
presidents," April 3:
In my opinion, stopping all support of former presidents is one
of Mr. McClellan's sillier, wrong-headed ideas. To focus on saving
under $4 million in a $15 trillion economy is trivial. Moreover
employers generously compensate their executives in retirement;
should the United States do nothing for its chief executives in
return for their service? …