Pokémon Go ban senseless, useless, political theater


Last last month, two state senators in New York—Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino—issued a report laying out an apparently scary set of numbers. In New York City, Pokémon from Pokémon Go were spotted in front of the homes of 57 people on the state sex registry. Fifty-nine Poké gyms or Pokéstops and 73 other Pokémon items were within a half-block of a registrant’s residence.

To be clear, there have been no reports of Pokémon-related sex crimes. The senators’ document does cite the case of a man on Indiana’s sex registry who was found playing Pokémon Go near where a 16-year-old boy also was playing. In another case in Arizona, the game developers put a Pokéstop at a historic hotel that has since been turned into a halfway house for 43 men on the state registry.

That was convincing enough for New York governor Andrew Cuomo to issue an order banning sex offenders on parole from playing Pokémon Go this week. On Wednesday, Klein, Savino, and additional senators introduced state bills that, among other things, would ban game developers from putting “in-game objectives” within a hundred feet of the home of a registrant.

Why target those with a sex crime on their record? A spokesperson for Klein’s office told VICE this is because of the “very high” recidivism rates of sex offenders compared with other criminals, citing data from a report that Klein co-authored last year. That document notes a re-arrest rate of 48 percent within eight years for those on New York’s sex registry, based on 2007 state data.

But that re-arrest rate includes charges for any crime—not just sex offenses, the target of the legislation. And it confirms a fact that recidivism researchers have long known: When sex offenders do commit another crime, it’s far more likely to be a non-sexual one. (Continue reading at Vice.com)

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