Sarah Stillman on Minors on the Sex-Offender List

It’s tempting to divide the world, in its unyieldingly complexity, into "good guys" and "bad guys." This provides endless plots and ratings for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but it often hides the messy reality of our criminal justice system, where overzealous prosecution can make new victims out of innocent people. Sarah Stillman is an award-winning journalist and staff writer for The New Yorker, with a talent for bringing clarity and nuance to murky topics. The last time Stillman joined the show, she had written a gripping exposé on civil asset forfeiture – the unconstitutional takings of private property by police from suspects who have not been convicted of any crime. Now, she joins Bob to discuss her latest New Yorker piece, *The List,* on an even more delicate subject: minors placed on the sex-offender registry for their youthful mistakes. Stillman reports on a sampling of tragic cases, which cast doubt on laws that lead to harsh sentences and life-long scarlet letters for kids – some as young as 10 years old. We all want to protect victims. Tune in, and you may be surprised to learn how poorly the system works, even by that measure.


The List - The New Yorker, March 14, 2016 issue

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