To many, sex offender registries seem like a good way to prevent people from committing repeat sex offenses, thereby keeping the public safer.
In New Jersey as in most states, there is a sex offender registry that was created by a "Megan's Law." These laws were enacted after a 7-year-old girl, Megan Kanka, was raped and murdered by a man who had been convicted twice of sexual assault. The law requires all those convicted of qualifying sex crimes to register their whereabouts with the state and allows public disclosure of that information.
When Adam N. was arrested for exposing himself to a neighbor, it was hard to understand it as a sex crime. Adam is 32 but functions at the level of a 10-year-old. His mother says that the neighbor was actually abusing Adam and coerced him to expose himself. Adam pled guilty, however, and was sentenced to two years of probation and 10 years on the sex offender registry.