Disaster Relief?

September 7, 2014

A bit of a change of gears here. Many of you are familiar with blogs I have written about injustices for those who appear on sex offender registries or their families, or who are prisoners or former prisoners. I have also written about those who have been attacked for being different.

I’d like you to consider another category of people. I’d like you to look at fishermen and the businesses shoreside which depend upon them.

As happened a number of years ago, the small guy is being pushed out of the business of supplying food by regulations which ignore the big corporations. Agribusiness now runs large swaths of farming lands, which have largely been abused by corporations who care only about today’s profit, not the productivity of the land by practices of crop rotation and other organic NON-GMO means of crop protection. The result: perhaps the loss of bees, perhaps the loss of Monarch butterflies, perhaps the new dust bowl that seems to be occuring in the midwest. It’s hard to say what the result is because no one wants to anger the agribusinesses that are producing our food by researching these topics. Perhaps they are too big to fail?

In the oceans, the same thing is now happening. Unfair quotas which keep fishermen from landing catches don’t apply to the huge businesses which can sell what they catch in some foreign port because they have permits from several countries. The big factory fishing vessels use drag nets, which pick up everything in the ocean without regard for size or location. Gill nets, which most smaller fishing vessels use, stand still on the bottom. The mesh size keeps fish of the wrong size from being caught. Smaller fish swim through the meshes, while larger fish “bounce” off, like it was a wall.

Now the individual fishing vessels in the Gulf of Maine qualify for disaster relief because the government has restricted their fishing so much that they can no longer make a living by fishing. The disaster relief funds are largely a joke. They amount to, maybe, a month’s worth of income as it was before quotas. Forty years ago, we were saying that the oceans represented limitless supplies of protein. Now, because the patterns of fish migration make it look like the stock is decreasing, we say that no one can catch very many fish and land the catch at an American port. By the way, did you know that in the colonial period, they thought that they had “fished out” the cod fish from the Massachusetts coastal waters? Obviously, they had not. It was a normal cyclic maneuver by the fish. It has happened before and will happen again.

Then, to add insult to injury, the disaster relief funds do not cover shore-based businesses which depend upon the small fishing vessel for their livlihood, like people who hang nets for those fishermen. Shouldn’t disaster relief include all those affected by the disaster? When we give disaster relief for a hurricane, do we cover only those affected by water, but not those affected by wind? Of course not. A disaster is a disaster and all affected by it should be covered by the relief funds.

Simple justice requires that all affected be equally treated.

I don’t see many such instances, where all are in fact treated the same. Perhaps it is time we got back to that practice.

My Job as a Christian

February 23, 2014

I have found out lately that many supposedly Christian ministries have opted to exclude from those they minister to those who are listed on the sex offender registry, no matter how minor their crimes.
This means that, for instance, housing may be unavailable in the most inhospitable of climates. I live in Maine. In this state, no homeless shelter, no Christian men’s shelter, no addiction ministry will accept persons who are homeless and on the sex offender registry. We have recently gone through nearly a month where the weather has been brutally cold. I have no idea how many men who have been listed on the sex offender registry in this state will have frozen to death because they could not find a place to shelter away from the cold. Last year in California, a dozen homeless persons froze to death. I have no idea how many of them were on the California sex offender registry, though it would not surprise me to find out that at least some of them were.
In some cases, these are people who have done nothing more than urinate in public, have consensual relationships with people who were their contemporaries or play doctor when they were as young as eight years old.
Other crimes include locking a teenager in their own bedroom for as little as 10 minutes; having accidentally downloaded some images of 17 year old teens with some images of legal pornography; having swatted a child who was misbehaving on the buttocks once through the clothes. All these can get a person the obligation to be listed for life as someone who has “abused a child”, even though most reasonable people would agree that these things should never have been prosecuted, let alone listed on a sex offender registry.

So, what is my responsibility as a Christian in regard to other people?
Should I judge them? No. The Bible clearly states “Judge not lest ye be judged.”
Should I protect myself from them? Possibly. I don’t think I need to put myself alone with a violent person, nor should I allow someone to be alone with a child unless I am reasonably certain that they will not harm them.
But should I refuse to allow them food, shelter, employment? No. These are the very things which will keep those who have offended once from offending again. Studies in recent years have proven what Christians SHOULD have known for years:
When you welcome someone back into the community, when you feed, house and offer a job to them, you have greatly lessened the likelihood that they will offend again. After all, didn’t Jesus say “Neither then do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

What Rational Purpose?

January 31, 2014

I come here today to ask you a question: What possible rational public benefit can be derived from requiring that an 8-year-old child be deprived of food, shelter or an education? For that matter, what benefit can be derived from doing that to any person?

You may say that we do not do that in this country. But we do. I have been informed that “this is part of the price that is paid for committing” certain crimes.

But what crime can be so heinous that it requires that someone either starve to death or commit another crime, such as prostitution or theft or illegal drug sales, in order to survive? If someone has committed such a crime, won’t they be locked up in prison for the remainder of their lives?

Let me tell you about some crimes in this category.

Public urination. This includes urination in the woods. In at least 13 states, this will get you placed on the sex offender registry.

Swatting a child on the buttocks while he/she is fully clothed.

The purchase of a certain coffee table book in a legitimate (not adult) bookstore, removing it from the country and then bringing it back. This is now considered transporting child pornography into the United States.

Engaging an adult prostitute.

Playing doctor.

Taking a picture of yourself in a suggestive pose, if you are under 18. Or receiving said picture, even if you did not want it.

Skinny-dipping in your own pool, in a fenced-in back yard in the middle of the night.

Grabbing a child by the arm to keep said child from darting out into the street in front of a moving vehicle. This is called restraint of a child.

Locking a 17-year-old in her own bedroom by herself for 15 minutes while you cool down from an argument with her. Again, this is called restraint of a child.

For these crimes, and many more, you can be denied SNAP benefits (food stamps), public housing, or admittance to a shelter during freezing weather, tornadoes, hurricanes or other disasters.
What rational public benefit does this serve?

It does not rehabilitate the criminal. It does not reintegrate the criminal into the community. It does not encourage productive things.

This is continuing retribution, long after the debt has been paid. This encourages further crime. This swells the ranks of the imprisoned by forcing criminal enterprise. This tears families apart, for what mother with a child of 8, 10, 16 would refuse the child food just because he can’t be considered for food stamps? What father would stay with his family if it became necessary to apply for food stamps, knowing that his presence will reduce the amount of food stamps they will get?

What rational purpose does this serve?

I say, none.

Fairy tale

September 13, 2013

I would like to tell you a fairy tale. Please keep in mind that fairy tales are fictional.

Once upon a time, in a place where people were nearly all wise and ruled themselves, there was a very sweet and honest child. She never lied. She only spoke the truth, and everyone believed her.

Now this little girl decided that, since there were a very few bad men, and that they must be punished, she would do something she had never done before, and lie. She knew that there were bad men because her parents told her so, though none had ever been bad to her.  She had a friend whose father was one of those men who her parents said was bad, and she was never allowed to go see her friend because the bad man might decide to hurt her.

She was sure that the bad man had hurt her friend, and she wanted very much for the bad man to be gone from her friend’s house, so she told her mother that the bad man had done something bad to her.

Everyone believed the little girl, because bad men always do bad things again, and besides, the little girl would never lie.

So they took the bad man and put him into a prison where he would never be able to hurt any little girls again.

So the little girl was a hero and no one ever hurt anyone in that land again.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Like all fairy tales, this has a bit of truth. The truth is that sometimes children get hurt. Most of the time it is by someone they know and trust. Very rarely, it is by a stranger.

In this tale, no one got hurt, but someone was punished for a nonexistent harm. This is also something that happens. It happened in Salem, Massachusetts a long time ago. It happens today, all too frequently. We go by the word of a child who may want, as this child did, to see a bad man punished, someone her parents have warned her about. It may be because she wants attention, as we believe happened in Salem long ago.

However, there is much of this story which is completely false.

Very few persons on the sex offender registry re-offend. The re-conviction rate across 15 states surveyed federally by the Department of Justice and followed for 3 years is 3.5%. It might be even lower in the state you live in. About a third of the persons on the sex offender registry were convicted when they were minors. Some were convicted of normal childhood curiosity. Juveniles have even lower re-offense rates than adults.

If everybody currently on the sex offender registries were tossed in prison forever, it would barely make a dent in the number of sex crimes that are committed. With a re-offense rate of about 3.5%, that means that over 96% of those who commit sex crimes every year have never been convicted of one before. Getting caught seems to be the trigger which causes offenders to stop. Treatment, which usually goes along with conviction, does work. Treatment has been shown to about halve the percentage of re-offense.

Another part of my fairy tale which is false is that the family is better off without the registrant in the house. Sometimes the father is the main breadwinner in the family and the family suffers a great loss of income if he is falsely accused and returned to prison. Nearly always, the former offender is greatly loved by the child or children in the household. They may know he has done something wrong, but they also know that he regrets what he has done. In some cases, he may have been falsely accused, or his “victim” may be his wife and the mother of his children, and they may be quite happily married. Or he may have been convicted of any of a number of truly minor offenses. In all these cases, the child wants her father to be part of her life, going to dance recitals and parent-teacher meetings, but he is not allowed to do these things because of his status.

We, as a society, tend to believe that the people on the sex offender registry are bad people, who will always re-offend. We, understandably, want to protect our children. But what we fail to realize is that we are creating more harm than could possibly be justified for the overwhelming majority of the persons on the sex offender registries and, moreover, for their families.

Other sites where you can find further information:  http://www.oncefallen.com/http://eadvocate-community.blogspot.com/ , http://www.with-justiceforall.blogspot.com/ , http://www.nationalrsol.org/

Society and the Problem of “Otherness”

August 26, 2013

I read an article a few days ago about a woman in Canada who received a horrible, hate-filled letter about her autistic son. In this ignorant missive, she was urged to “do the right thing” and either move to the backwoods or euthanize him. She said that the “whaling” (I assume she meant wailing) noises he made were scaring her “normal” children.

She could have taken many different approaches to this family, but she chose to anonymously attack them. She could have gone to visit to find out what the problem with the child was. She could then have explained to her children about the autistic child next door.

I have to wonder how this woman copes with the other disabilities or otherness that she sees. How does she explain the man in the wheelchair, the woman who walks with a cane, the blind man with a guide dog, or the deaf woman who only communicates well in sign language but is otherwise difficult to understand?

Many people have trouble getting along with those who are not “normal”. Difference in color, religion, ability and even sexual orientation are things that have been fair game for persecution in my lifetime. Why? Why do we seem to feel the need to feel somehow superior to other people?

Right now, in the United States, 2.9% of the adult population were under correction supervision. That’s 29 out of every thousand adults in jail, prison, on probation or on parole. It’s fairly likely that someone you know is in that group, maybe even someone you’re related to. You might even be related to someone on the sex offender registry. That number, the last I checked, was about 750,000 people. You might know someone on it. After all, that’s about 10% of the number of people currently in adult prisons, jail or on probation or parole. Whether you do or not, ponder this:

Do you classify them the same way that woman in Ontario classified the autistic child? As a waste of space, as “other”, as unworthy of being called human?

I have said it before, and will likely say it again: ALL have sinned. I have sinned and so have you. If your sin was not bad enough to go to jail (or you think it wasn’t), it makes you no different from that prisoner, probationer or parolee. It is merely a matter of degree, not of kind.

If you feel that the woman who wrote that letter was right about the autistic child, perhaps you should examine the ways in which you are not “normal”, for no one is completely normal, either. Too tall, too short, too fat, too thin. No one is perfect. No one is entitled to say that another person is worthless just because they are not like YOU.

Further punishment

July 13, 2013

It’s a statistic I have used before: We have 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s imprisoned.
We apparently are willing to pay the price to make sure that they go back to prison. The cost is already staggering. California has been ordered to cut the overpopulation of its prisons to ONLY 135% of capacity. Other states are not far behind. Although figures vary from state to state, the minimum figure for incarcerating a person for one year that I have found is $25,000, and this is under conditions that Human Rights Watch have found to be inhumane.
Now let’s examine why the government apparently wants to have the people who have committed crimes return to prison.
It is generally accepted that re-integration into the community is necessary to minimize general recidivism. If a person has food, shelter and a support system, they are far more likely to re-integrate successfully and far less likely to commit other crimes. Do we want less crime? Of course we do! Then why do we treat former felons in such a way as to assure that the maximum number of them turn to crime in order to survive?
In the 2007 ban on drug felons receiving food stamps, the states were allowed to opt out of the ban. Some did, some did not. So what were the results of this?
The results were as one might expect. In those states where the food stamp ban was instituted, general recidivism increased. That’s right, because they could not get food stamps, drug felons resorted to illegal methods to get food. In states where the food stamp ban was not instituted, general recidivism of drug felons decreased.
Now we are discussing doing the same thing again, but this time with a more dangerous set of criminals. We are discussing doing this without allowing the states to opt out of the ban. Do we really want to see an increase in murder, rape, illegal drug use, robbery and child molestation? Do we want to see the members of the families of these former felons suffer?
I don’t think it’s a good use of our tax dollars to discourage re-integration of former offenders by removing food stamps for those who need them, not when the likely consequences are so devastating. This ban increases crime, which may affect any of us. We may then look at increased court costs. And we will certainly still be feeding the recidivist, but at a much higher cost in prison.
Is this a wise ban? No.
Write to your congressional delegation. Let them know that they are being “penny wise and pound foolish.” In other words, let them know you don’t want more crime at the cost of a few dollars in food stamps.

To contact your Senator, go to http://www.senate.gov and to contact your Representative go to http://www.house.gov . Thank you for those who take a few minutes to contact their congressional delegation. Please feel free to share this blog.

And then they came for the transgendered.

July 6, 2013

I recently received an email which was entitled “then they came for the transgendered”. It immediately caught my attention.

Here is the main body of the email:

“First migrants and recent immigrants were rounded up from Greece’s streets and forced into internment camps.Then they threw the drug users in. Next came the sex workers, forcibly HIV tested, publicly humiliated, and imprisoned.

Now they’re coming for transgender men and women — and the list of “undesirables” just keeps longer.

Operation Zeus is a cleansing campaign targeting and imprisoning the most vulnerable members of Greek society, accompanied by spikes in racism, gender hate and homophobia.

There are now at least 5,000 people languishing in these hellholes simply for existing — and this month, while warning trans* men and women to “return to normal” or else, the Greek government announced that camp capacity is about to double.

We call on the EU member states to put the pressure on Greece now to stop this abhorrent cleansing campaign now. We can still save the people persecuted under Operation Zeus — but we can’t afford to stay silent for long!

PETITION TO EU MEMBER STATES: We cannot afford to sit by while another European country rounds up “undesirables” and imprisons people in camps simply for existing. Let the Greek government know it must release these people now.”

 

 

I look at what my country is doing. It imprisons over 2.2 million of it’s own citizens. That’s over one quarter of the total number of people imprisoned all over the world. That includes Russia, China and Iran. We imprison illegal aliens. We imprison drug users. We imprison sex workers. We imprison young men accused of “terrorism” for making a joke in poor taste on social media. People advocate for internment camps for “undesirables”, usually those on the sex offender registry, all without recognition of the possibility that they may have been convicted of misdemeanors, which are, by definition, minor crimes.

Meanwhile, police in some places are out of control. They shoot kittens in front of small children, break into people’s homes without warrants, arrest people for filming (via cell phones) their activities, and do other things no officer should do. If you have the stomach for it, go to youtube or any petition site and search “police abuse”.

I believe that the country I grew up in is turning into a police state. It shows all the hallmarks of that regrettable trend now. We spy on our own people. See above for the imprisonment statistics, which only cover one third of the number of those under state control via supervised release, some for life. We make lists which require people who no longer qualify for such supervision to report to the police every time their information changes, and not just for sex offenders any more. Now it is for drug users and other “dangerous criminals”. Rehabilitation seems no longer to be the goal. Now eternal punishment seems to be the desired effect.

States have been told that they must reduce their prison populations or risk being held in contempt of the Supreme Court. Jails in this country have been compared – unfavorably! – to jails in Iran and other countries with bad human rights records.

So sign the petition for Greece, if you wish. But keep in mind that the United States of America is in danger of becoming the same thing. It is on that road. Next year, there will be a march on Washington DC to End Mass Incarceration. I’d suggest you join. It is not just your future, but that of your children as well that is in danger. Don’t say “It’s not my problem, I’m not one of them.”

Neimoller said that until at last they came for him. Then there were none left to protest.

View of the Registry

April 12, 2013

I have been speaking to some people whose responses I have found to be interesting enough to pass along to my readers. I will not be using their real names, because they are not relevant to the discussion.

The General Public

The first conversation I would like to address here is with a member of what I would call “the general public”. She does not have any relatives or close friends on the sex offender registry. She was raped violently once, but has since recovered and become stronger for the experience, though more watchful on behalf of her daughters. She does not access the public sex offender registry. She works with someone she knows has committed a violation which places him on the sex offender registry, and she has no problem with working along side of him. They joke and discuss all the normal things you probably discuss with people you work closely with. The one topic they do not discuss is the sex offender registry. They never see each other outside work except incidentally, such as at the store or gas station.

She and I were in the car the other day, and I got curious.

“Betty,” I started hesitantly, “You’ve never researched sex offender re-offense rates, have you?” (I don’t use the correct word, recidivism, with someone who doesn’t have reason to know it. It saves having to explain what the word means, and that it means different things depending on which study you’re looking at. But that’s a discussion for another blog!)

“No,” she replied cautiously. She knows I have a son on the sex offender registry and does not want to offend me.

“I’m curious. What do you think the rate of re-offense with a new sex crime is for people who are listed on the sex offender registry is?”

She hesitated. I quickly reassured her, “Don’t worry, I won’t be offended by whatever you say. I’m just curious what someone who has no stake in this thinks. A general guess will be good enough, 50%, 75%, 90%, 20%, all, very few, none. Just a ballpark figure.”

Betty thought for a minute. Finally she said, “I really don’t have anything to back this up with, but I’d guess about 60%.” She glanced sideways at me. I was wearing a smile. “I’m way high, aren’t I?”

“I was reviewing the Muskie Institute report on recidivism yesterday, and the rate they had figured out was 2.2% in the first three years here in Maine.”

She looked amazed, stunned by the fact that the rate was so very low.

Honestly, I think that she low-balled the estimate, figuring that she must have had the figure wrong if I was asking the question. I did not bring the subject up again, but this conversation has caused her to think. I hope it has also caused others to think.

A Registrant’s Thoughts

The second conversation I’d like to bring up for your consideration is one I had with a young man who used to watch child pornography. Don’t worry, nothing in the conversation is in the least risque or suggestive.

Bob is a 21 year old young man who began watching child pornography in his late teens. He was caught doing so when he turned 18. He is not threatening. He is intelligent. He is a hard worker.

We have had conversations about the sex offender registry and sex offenses in general in the past. He also knows that I have a son on the registry. He knows that I know a lot of the facts about the registry.

We were on our way to the store when this conversation took place.

“I know that a lot of people consider your crime a victimless crime,” I started.

Immediately, he interrupted me. “I don’t! It is non-contact, but what I did is awful. I  was talking about this in group (group therapy), and I told them… Well, I realize that I am that “nameless, faceless stranger” and I had no business watching that child being degraded.”

I was impressed that he had identified the problem so clearly.

He went on, in a sadder tone. “I’m really sorry for what I’ve done. I didn’t think too much about it when I did it, but now I wouldn’t do it again for anything. Objectifying anyone is so wrong, and I don’t think I could ever look at any porn again.”

There was more to the conversation, but this is the part that really meant the most. Bob was guilty of what he had been charged with, but I truly believe that he will never recommit the crime. He now has too much empathy for the person at the other end of the process to ever commit an act against them.

Conclusions

The public has an overinflated view of the sex offender recidivism (re-offense) statistics. Most simply don’t ever think about these things. They just assume the press and politicians have been giving them good information, and never think to question it. It’s not really their fault. You can’t question EVERY statistic you see. It does emphasize that we must, if we want the facts to be more widely known, be willing to give the source for our statistics and take every opportunity to spread the truth.

Most who are on the sex offender registry are either innocent of the crime, or it was something that would not have been considered a crime (such as public urination or consensual teen sex) when I was growing up (the 50′s and 60′s), or they are repentant and would not ever do such a thing again.

The questions then come up, “Why do we have such broad laws that could apply to so many? Why do we persecute them when those are the acts we least want to have repeated, and persecution is most likely to cause re-offense?”

I don’t have any objective answers for those questions. Perhaps the legislators felt they were justified in them when they passed them. The registries, and especially the public aspect of it, were passed in the wake of horrible but thankfully very rare tragedies. The emotions were running high, and it is understandable that legislators wanted to assure that those horrors never happened again. Unfortunately, high emotions rarely make for good laws. I recommend A Parallel Universe by Alex Landon and Elaine Halleck, a quick view of which can be found at http://www.meganslawbook.com/ParUnivAdvPraise.html . There are several excellent places to find more information. A recently started blog with many references is http://with-justiceforall.blogspot.com/ and an excellent website can be found at http://www.oncefallen.com/ .

I realize that I have an emotional investment in the removal of the registries. However, I also recognize that the FACTS support this position. I welcome input, even that which opposes my position. I only ask that you keep it civil and rational.

Are you a Christian?

March 17, 2013

It’s Sunday today, and I’d like to ask you if you believe in the Bible, in God, in Jesus?

Did you say yes? If so, I’d like you to think about something. 

You are a sinner. You have not led a blameless life, any more than I have. Somewhere in the past, you have done something which is a sin. This means that you have done something for which you need to be forgiven. It is likely that you have already accepted this, if you are a Christian.

Open your Bible to Matthew 6, and read the passage known as the Lord’s Prayer. It’s verses 9 through 13. Then read the two verses following.

In my version, it reads: “This, then, is how you should pray:

     ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

 

It seems that Jesus had some pretty harsh things to say to those who would condemn others. In Matthew 7, the first two verses continue this thought. 

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

Do you wish to be forgiven your sins? Then forgive the sins of others. That’s all. Don’t stone the woman caught in adultery (the image of sex offender in that time). As is said in John 8:7-11,

“When they kept on questioning him he straightened up and said to them, ‘If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”

It is clear that if someone wants to start over, he/she is given permission. That person is not required to relive the past sin daily. In fact, that’s one thing that our justice system was based on, the idea of rehabilitation. Even the worst sinner can be redeemed. 

What we have now is supposed Christians refusing to allow second chances. Many offenders have met God in jail, and have become very different people. Allow them to be redeemed. If you do not, you may reach heaven only to discover that God will tell you that the unforgiveness that you extended to others is now to be extended to you.

Go now and sin no more.

The Costs of the Sex Offender Registry

March 12, 2013

Complying with the Adam Walsh Act is not coming cheap for states. There are many different levels of costs associated with this list, not all of which can be expressed in dollars and cents.

The primary costs include re-aligning the list of sex offenses with length of time to be spent on the registry, reprogramming the computers, educating the staff responsible for the upkeep of the registry and many other administrative tasks, including the upkeep of the database. Studies by independent agencies have indicated that states have spent and are spending tens of millions of dollars for this one piece of legislation. 

If this was really making a difference, if it was really making anyone safer, it might be worth it. However, studies have also shown that there is very little, if any, positive result from having a sex offender registry. It is not saving anyone, and is often instituting a false sense of security, since (as I mentioned in my previous blog post) the real threat is from someone close to the child, not the sex offender down the street.

In the meantime, other dollar costs are being incurred.

Secondary costs

Legal defense of a bad law, which is certain to happen, is a secondary cost. People will sue the state to keep them from being labelled a “tier III offender”, when they have little chance of re-offending, such as a teen-on-teen relationship where the two involved have married or moved on to other peers.

Police departments across the country must keep a registry officer, one who registers the sex offender, updates the database locally, checks on the compliance of the registered individuals and so forth. This cost is borne locally. It is also a secondary cost.

This officer often has nothing else to do, since tracking sex offenders is a full time occupation. In larger communities, more than one officer may be dedicated to this task. Sex offenders move often, usually because they are forced to move by those who do not want a sex offender in their apartment building, mobile home park or neighborhood. People who have forced such things do not realize that they have not made their families any safer.Repeated studies have shown that sexual offending has little relationship with where they live (see Jill Levenson’s studies or the Human Rights Watch report, No Easy Answers). 

 Tertiary Costs

Other costs are also incurred which are not so readily apparent. Sex offenders must have some variety of income. When people see where the registrant is working, they sometimes complain to the company. Most companies will fire a registrant after the first complaint, not because the registrant has done anything wrong, but because they are sensitive to public opinion. When a company fires a registrant, he has little choice but to apply for some variety of governmental assistance. He would rather work. The fact that he had a job proves that. But if he can’t work, due to the fact that most companies don’t want their names on the registry, then he must get food stamps, rental assistance and so forth. The level of unemployment among the sex offender registrants in many places is 85%. 

If the registrant is capable of working, nearly all the registrants would like to do so. They would like to become productive, tax paying citizens, not unemployed people living off the state or local assistance. 

Not All Costs Can Be Measured in Dollars and Cents

The cost to families of registrants has been well-documented elsewhere. Stress, bullying of the children of the registrant, vandalism to homes and cars of the family. All these have been documented in other blogs. For further reading on the subject of collateral damage, especially to families of registrants, I recommend http://prospect.org/article/life-list, I love a sex offender, life on the mountain and as a general overview of the subject, https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSOIssues .

 

If you take anything away from this post, remember that the registry has a long list of costs, both dollar amounts and human costs. One of those potential costs is your own liberty.

“Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.” 

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 


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different.

The Rights Of The Few

Are protected the same as the many!

gospelgal2000

A liberty-and-justice oriented website

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