Registered: Jan 2003
Local time: 12:26 PM
|"The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that photos of convicted sex offenders may be posted on the Internet, a victory for states that use the Web to warn citizens about potential predators in their neighborhoods." Source @ CNN
This is something I've had a problem with for a long time now. And it's not just the Internet portion of it, it's the whole sex offender registration program.
To me, the problem is that the program recognizes no difference in sex offender cases; it recognizes no possibility for reform; it recognizes no benefit from served time.
Why is this a problem?
Because it assumes that any given person who has been involved in a sex offense, no matter what their extenuating circumstances, no matter what the progression of their lives, will always suffer under the law. This is cruel and unusual punishment, people.
Example case: a young man has had too much to drink on night, he's hitting on the girls, they're liking him, he scores with one of them, they have a good time and go their separate ways, then come to find out the next day: she's only 16. The parents file suit for statutory rape for which he is convicted, time is served and he is now considered a sex offender and must participate in the registered sex offender program for the REST OF HIS LIFE.
What does this mean?
Well it means his right to privacy is all but revoked. It means his neighbors may be notified that he is living in their neighborhhod. It means that any time he travels he must notify the state so that they can keep close tabs on where he is. It means that if he does travel, law enforcement agencies my place his photo and identification up in public places so that all may be alerted to his arrival. It means that he must report in annually to re-register. His life is FOREVER cast beneath a shadow of shame and he will ALWAYS be amongst people who despise him for what an animal he is. Though they may not be aware of the exact circumstances of his "crime", they consider him dangerous and warn their children to stay away and cast dirty looks in his direction. He may even face personal danger from others seeking to teach him a lesson vigilante style.
The sex offender registration program does not consider time-served to be adequate punishment. It does not recognize the benefits of parole or counseling or psychological assessment. It does not believe that even people who make mistakes can change, better themselves, rise above who they once were. It believes once bad, always bad.
It is not a fair law. It is not a just system. It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL as it stymies the pursuit of happiness, an inalienable human right. With the conditions I mentioned above, it is not possible to live a happy life, ever. They might as well have been thrown in a life term prison sentence.
I beg of you, fight this, people. I'm not suggesting to get rid of the system, I'm suggesting to augment it with a means of allowing sex offenders who meet certain criteria to finally free themselves of torment and to move on with their lives. I can understand if you're a parent whose child was the victim of a sex offense that you want that offender to pay dearly, suffer for the rest of their life so that they can realize the severity of their crime, BUT: again, despite your bloodlust, despite your rage, the punishment for sexual offenses should not be a lifetime of torture. IT IS NOT RIGHT.
I recognize that there are some bad apples out there who are rotten to the core, and yes, you've got to watch out for these guys. For such people, you keep them on registration systems. You give them a 2-strikes policy. you don't release them back onto the street if their psychological evaluation indicates that they are disturbed enough to do it again without regard for the law or others..
.. but not everyone is like that.
Fight this - some really, genuinely good people are suffering unfairly, needlessly and unconstitutionally as a result of this sytem.