The sex offender registry is a national database which serves as a list of convicted sex offenders that many interested parties can use to know who is in the area and what they might have done in the past. Parents like to check it out if they have kids, so they know who is in the neighborhood and community around them. Many employers also run background checks against it, even for positions that might not deal with kids or women.
The criteria for getting on a sex offender registry do vary. Not all cases are the traditional image of a violent rape. Many who are convicted of a sexual offense of a violent nature spend time behind bars but are registered after they are released back into society. Also, some registered sex offenders were convicted of things like having sex with a person unable to give consent.
The list carries stringent repercussions with it, as registered offenders have trouble finding dates if they are looking for a romantic relationship. Prospective dates in this day and age often check the backgrounds of their dates, and when they see something like this often, wisely, decide to make other plans that evening.
Jobs are not only hard to come by for registered sex offenders, but housing can be a pain too. Some states and municipalities have requirements that registered sex offenders not live within a certain distance of parks, schools, or even houses of worship. This can seriously limit where they can live.
Unfortunately, some are on this list under questionable circumstances. Here, for example, men busted for public urination are sometimes put on this list. Also, if a state’s age of consent is 18, but the partners are 17 and 18 in age, the 18-year-old can be convicted, even if only a year older. Like this famous example from the news: