There are good reasons to reconsider some aspects of the 1994 Crime Bill, because we’ve had a chance to see the unintended consequences.
Here’s some context. Violent crime rates in the United States began a steep climb in the mid-1960s and reached their peak in the early 1990s. Americans were extremely worried. Donald Trump, for example, recommended bringing back New York’s death penalty in response to a much-publicized Central Park attack. Politicians listened. Many states passed tough anti-crime measures, and in 1994, the federal government got into the act. Though Republicans criticized the federal crime bill for gun restrictions and what they called “pork,” the measure passed the House on a voice vote and the Senate by 61–38 with many Republican votes.
One feature of the 1994 law that has had baleful unanticipated effects was the adoption of sex-offender registries. At the time, experts advised that sex offenders never reformed. To protect the community from those found guilty of such offenses after their return to society, registries would require them to identify themselves (sometimes even with signs in their windows). Understandably, penalties were particularly harsh for anyone who harmed a child sexually.