Almost every state in the U.S. has a sex offender registry, where those convicted of sexual related offenses are listed for the public to see. In a similar way, Ohio employs an OVI Repeat Offender Registry. Any person who is convicted of 5 DUI offenses within a 20 year period is added to this database. Their information, including their address, can be accessed by the public through this online listing. Once 20 years have passed without the offender committing 5 DUI crimes, their name is removed from the registry. The database was established to help law enforcement keep track of repeat offenders and keep Ohio’s streets safer.
However, recent analysis of the registry has revealed that it is largely incomplete and outdated. Many of the counties throughout Ohio, including Delaware County, are not listed at all in the registry. In fact, The Columbus Dispatch cites that only about half of the counties are represented in the list, and many habitual offenders are not properly included.
The registry was created in 2008, and each person listed must have committed at least one DUI offense since that time. Currently, there are about 520 individuals registered in the database, and not all of the information is accurate.
According to the Dispatch, the Ohio Public Department of Public Safety assembles the entries for the registry from information sent to it by the individual courts throughout the state. There is currently no penalty against courts that do not provide repeat offender information to the state, and there seems to be confusion amongst many counties as to whether they have been or are even able to submit the required information for the registry.
This raises some important concerns about the use of this public database. Not only is the registry surely missing many offenders, it may also contain incorrect information about those who are listed. With the inaccuracy of the record so high, it seems to currently be a drain on taxpayer’s money and the court’s time. If the database cannot be relied upon for accurate information, it ceases to be a database of any value to attorneys, law enforcement, and the general public.
Those who support the use of the registry are seeking out answers as to why it is not maintained and hoping to reform the procedures involved. For those already registered or facing addition to the untrustworthy records, a system so out of date is cause for concern.