France creates sex offenders registry

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France creates sex offenders registry

PARIS, Sept 23 (AFP)

France will create a comprehensive registry of sex offenders in order to keep tabs on convicts once they are released from prison and crack down on reoffending, Justice Minister Dominique Perben said Tuesday.

In an interview with the popular French daily Le Parisien, Perben announced the measure as the key element of a government plan to combat sex crimes, which also will include better psychiatric care for convicted rapists and paedophiles.

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Start or join a discussion”On the one hand, we must improve medical-psychiatric follow-up for these individuals and on the other hand, we must put in place a system that allows us to know where they are so we can help investigators do their jobs,” he said.

The justice minister said the measure came in response to the soaring number of sex crimes convictions in France. In 2002, 24 percent of defendants found guilty and jailed nationwide had committed rape or sexual assault.

Data for the national registry of sex offenders will be drawn from existing police records and constantly updated and will also include DNA samples taken from convicts while they are in prison, Perben said.

The list, which will contain the name, address and profession of those convicted of sex crimes, will be available to investigators and judges and indirectly, through police, to employers hiring people to work with children.

Inclusion on the registry will be at the discretion of the country’s magistrates.

“I believe in the deterrent effect this registry can have and I’m convinced that it will facilitate the work of investigators,” the justice minister told Le Parisien.

Perben and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy will present a draft law to parliament in the coming months to put the sex offenders’ registry into effect.

In the United States “Megan’s Law” – the 1996 federal law named for a seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by a repeat sex offender – allows public access to information about convicted sex offenders in all 50 states.

© AFP

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