The Issue Of Registered Sex Offenders Being Issued US Passports

by erin on July 22, 2010

Passports have become increasingly prominent in the news, especially regarding those who can and cannot receive passports. Should those convicted of particular crimes be prevented from traveling out of the country? One of the leading examples of this case is the recent issuance of US passports to sex offenders. In the year 2008, of the 16 million passports issued, 4,500 were given to sex offenders. How do you feel about sex offenders getting a U S passport?

First, it’s important to understand the definition of, “sex offender.” This is an incredibly broad term that covers many different degrees and types of criminal activity. Everything from the guy who relieved himself outside of a bar caught for indecent exposure to convicted pedophiles and rapists is covered by this phrase. The United States Department of State grants passports to any of these cases, except for those specifically guilty of sex tourism. While it seems unfair to tag the indecent exposure case with the same title as the cases involving sexual abuse of children, some say it’s difficult to draw the line.

There are many different opinions concerning this subject. There is an opinion that feels that sex offenders should be allowed to come and go and if they are arrested in a foreign country while committing a similar crime, they will have to pay the price as that country deems it. Other countries have justice systems that are much stricter than our justice system here in the United States. Often their prisons are also not as nice as here in this country. Many feel that if you do the crime, you should do the time in accordance with whatever country you are in.

Another viewpoint is this: if a criminal is caught, convicted, and put in jail for a certain amount of time, they have paid their debt to society once they are released. Whether it’s a guy who spent a night in jail for dropping his trousers on the side of the road or someone who has spent fifty years behind bars for a sex crime, the people behind this view believe that they shouldn’t be further ostracized from their rights as American citizens by being denied passports. They believe that while a criminal conviction can potentially keep them from getting a job or a place to live, they shouldn’t be denied access to the world.

Because of flight risks, there are some groups who are denied passports but this is a very small group. They include those who have neglected child support payments, drug traffickers, sex tourists and those who are currently in prison or jail. These do not meet the new passport requirements. Yet it is important to note convicted murderers and those who have committed other serious crimes can get passports once they are out of jail.

You can see that a United States passport is a very valuable booklet and some feel that the privileges it gives should be withheld from sex offenders while others do not share that opinion. The American passport requirements have been established to keep passports out of the hands of criminals and terrorists but those who have already been caught and punished for their crimes are still given this privilege. Many who are not permitted to have them manage to obtain stolen or forged passports to conceal their identity and further enable them to perpetrate their crimes. This is certainly a very important question that needs an answer.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: