Does Michigan need a murder registry similar to our Sex Offender Registry?

That is one concept that is being discussed in the halls of our legislative buildings.

I recently read an article in MLive.com by Angie Jackson discussing this issue.  According to the article “hundreds of Michigan residents are on active parole for second-degree murder and manslaughter. The number totaled 539 last fall, according to Department of Corrections data released to MLive and The Grand Rapids Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.”

Currently there are others states, including, including Illinois and Indiana, which do provide a murderer registry to their citizens.

Is it time for Michigan to create and maintain one?

The states that have a murder registry via an online database contain the listing of the convicted offender's name and address, as well as a physical description or photograph.

Currently Michigan does have a database of information on violent criminals which is available to the public online in only a piecemeal fashion.   The state's Offender Tracking Information System, which is a public website, currently allows people to look up information on inmates currently in prison and those who have been discharged from parole or otherwise in the last three years.  After the three years they drop off.

It shows the name, age, photograph of the felon and their crime and sentencing information.  Although if they have been paroled, it does not include their current address. Unfortunately unlike the state's sex offender registry, there is no option to search for offenders by geographic area.

The question on the mind of the critics of this murder registry is if a person has served their debt to society when is enough an enough?

In my opinion that is a valid question but what about their victims who are left with emotional and psychological scars for the rest of their lives?

Some opponents of the murderer registry concept believe it could create a stigma and publicly brand offenders as they attempt to re-enter society.

According to the article “former state Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland, a vocal advocate for prison reform, said a public murderer registry would "just perpetuate a problem of making people afraid of people that they don't need to be afraid of." It could lead to harassment from neighbors and further stigmatize ex-convicts who have worked hard to turn their lives around, he said.”  He went on to say "And ultimately it will have the adverse effect, making them more apt to reoffend because they have a harder time functioning in society,"

Do you believe a searchable murder registry open to the public is a good idea that is needed in Michigan?

Do you agree with critics of the murder registry idea that it will only further stigmatize the ex-felon and make it harder for them to re-enter society?

How can we balance the rights of the convicted murderer who has served their time with the attempt to protect Michigan citizens?

What are your thoughts?

Let’s discuss this today on my show the Live with Renk show, which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts at (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.