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Sex Offender Registry Insanity

Writing at Reason’s Hit & Run blog, Lenore Skenazy passes along the story of a man caught up in a particular bizarre application of the laws requiring people register as sex offenders. Full Article

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  1. j

    To run afoul of registration requirements and have it charged as a sex crime is the epitome of the disconnect of lawmakers in their fervor to perpetually punish victims of the registry. Are they claiming the registrant was sexually gratified by violating the statutes? Insanity defined!

    There will hopefully come a day when these dangerous people, who craft such contorted views into laws, will themselves be subject to appropriate criminal proceedings.

    • Tim

      “There will hopefully come a day when these dangerous people, who craft such contorted views into laws, will themselves be subject to appropriate criminal proceedings.”
      Not too far fetched, I think and proven by the past. Seems like the forces advocating for the registry have changed their tune a little. Now the reasoning is not so much to notify the public of offenders to protect potential victims — it has be shown to be ineffective at that — but to institute an environment of panoptisism for former offenders. The idea is that if we are continually and strongly reminded of our past offenses and the consequences of breaking the rules, it’s going to change the behavior of the few, they really have no means of identifying who, that really need to be watched. It’s the shotgun approach, like the Broken Windows policy used in New York and the casualty becomes the founding principles of fair play and liberty for all. Thing is, these pervasive surveillance practices as used in the past, have only resulted in the collapse of the governments implementing them: Nazi Germany, East Germany, USSR and more recently Egypt and Syria. I think they think they can contain the backlash, by keeping it limited to a reviled group like ourselves, thing is that is what those other counties tried to do (keep it to a limited despised group) and couldn’t contain it or themselves once the thing got going. Hopefully, there are people who are helping to put the brakes on the juggernaut before it crashes with ALL of us in it.

    • Michael

      Folks; Isn’t it time, that we, collectively as human beings, start to discuss these matters in logical and rational terms, so that we can really make a difference in this issue for all parties concerned? Granted, the wars going on now across the world, albeit politically motivated and controlled, and a much bigger issue than this, I have accepted as being a political tool, self serving and hedonistic individuals destroying this country for the most part. However; this subject, once discussed and looked at with the truth as the background, supported by facts and imperial data, when spoken about with the motivation of making things better for everyone, can be achieved.
      I can site links and data for all of my opinion(s), but won’t in the interest of space.
      A quick synopsis might be:
      Former offenders have a much better chance of not re-offending if they are given the support and resources they need; particularly substance abuse, mental health and housing challenges. The current numbers of recidivism I saw was about 5%. Albeit a low number comparatively to other crimes, we can do better. And there is not one angry word, thought or action I have read in countless venues, that are aimed towards an ex-offender that will decrease the chances of re-offending, it probably perpetuates an opposite outcome. Are we to acquiesce to the notion that this whole movement is simply a revenue cash cow and job security for all those involved in law enforcement, so called “therapists” polygraphists (hundreds of dollars per session) and everybody else making a ton of money through this constant exploitation, only to project from behind the curtain of being self righteous and of pure moral and psychological state? As long as these hidden agendas are driving people to do and say what they say, nothing will get accomplished and society will remain in the current trend, which is less safe with these draconian laws and ideas.
      It makes much more sense for everyone to be moving towards some common goals; based on sound Psychology, prudent use of (our) tax dollars, and developing positive resources for both victims and offenders, to show the path leading to a better society for everyone.
      I know it’s easy to Monday morning quarterback and talk about how ineffective and cumbersome the registry is, and how it does not prevent any crime. But seriously, I could suggest major improvements to address serious faults in the time it takes me to write this opinion.
      People do not behave better when you constantly ridicule them, and like the victims, there comes a time to recover and put behind you the mistakes you made. This current approach of lambasting endlessly, ex-offenders is neither sound theory of behavior nor helpful in any way to anyone. If someone is dangerous, they should be locked up. When they are released, it should be a total and certain release from all other duties or requirements. While parents are nervously checking the internet for sex offenders in the neighborhood they are thinking of moving into, the real sex offender is probably someone in their own extended family. It is rarely the guy next door. This aberrant behavior goes back thousands of years. I just read about a law passed where sex offenders are given full and permanent disability payments in Europe (forget the country). I am not advocating what they do there, but maybe its time sex offenders housing be paid for by taxpayers if we insist on telling them where they can and cannot live and making it near impossible for them to find gainful employment.

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