ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Alarming numbers released in a recent study show the longer some sex offenders are out of prison the higher the chance they'll strike again. That has a state representative looking to toughen up the law.
There are hundreds of convicted rapists and child molesters who live in New Mexico and are ordered to register as sex offenders. The type of crime they’re convicted determines if they need to register for 10 years or for life.
It’s a requirement by law to keep better tabs on them so they don't claim more victims.
That's the main focus of a new study released by the New Mexico Sentencing Commission. It compiled information from studies that looked at more than 200 registered sex offenders, some just released from prison and others had been sentenced to probation.
The study showed five years after parole or probation begins about 15 percent reoffend. They study shows after 25 years back on the streets, that number jumps to 60 percent.
The study caught the eye of Democratic Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque.
“Oh no, it's very alarming,” Maestas said.
Maestas said it shows New Mexico laws for registered sex offenders need to be tougher and more effective. He said they could start with adding a third tier to the state’s system. He thinks some on the list for 10 years maybe need to be on the list for 25.
“Maybe so, maybe so, and at the same time maybe some life-timers may be on the 25,” Maestas said.
He's considering adding that three-tier system for registering and he wants more requirements for those registered.
“IP addresses from their computer,” Maestas said. “Palm prints, updated photographs.”
However, he's up against a nationwide group called Reform Sex Offenders Laws. That group is completely against sex offender registries saying they're a second sentence and not effective.
RSOL Executive Director Brenda Jones said other studies show forcing molesters and rapists to register can lead to them reoffend because they claim it destabilizes them.
Jones said more restrictions would also be unconstitutional.
“Any kind of restriction after they completed their sentence after probation or parole is unnecessary,” Jones said.
The House bill Maestas is putting together would also require child predators who use the Internet or a phone to go after children to register as sex offenders.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.