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New War on Drugs, Which Means It’s About Race

More than 750,000 Americans are currently registered as sex offenders. That is a fact. But that is just about the only hard fact when it comes to sex offenders, a group that social scientists struggle to secure funding to study and that communities react to with predictable opprobrium. It’s an untenable situation and it’s getting worse. Trevor Hoppe, a sociology professor at the University at Albany, has documented the growth of the sex offender class between 2005 and 2013 for Law and Social Inquiry and found compounding failures on the part of the legal system. Full Article

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  1. ab

    Interesting article. Though the data that could really provide answers is even more difficult to acquire than anything mentioned in the article. Want an excellent example of insufficient language for discussion purposes even just among researchers? Try explaining the underlying components of human sexual pursuits and sexual contexts, dating and courtship, relationships, attraction, beauty, and flirting just to list a few subjects.

  2. Janice Bellucci

    The message in this article is important as it links the nation’s “war” on drugs to the nation’s “war” on sex offenders. In both “wars”, the government uses similar words and similar actions. One marked difference between the “wars” is that people in almost all socio-economic groups are affected in the sex offender “war”. This difference may in the end help us win that war when a state governor, U.S. Senator or perhaps a former President is convicted of a sex offense.

    • Julia

      Have no politicians been convicted of a sex offense? I hope you’re right about this potentially being a good thing, but it seems so far that high profile convictions of powerful people have only made things worse for average-joe sex offender. Sandusky, for example, stirred all kinds of crazy paranoia among university legal teams across the US, and now everyone on staff from professor to meal prep worker is held liable as a mandated reporter. This is feeding the campus sexual assault scandal hysteria (note recent events at Berkeley for example). And as for politicians, they’ve shown that they have no problem requesting an exclusion for their own hypocrite while continuing to call for tougher laws for average citizen sex offenders.

      One thing I’m not sure about with this article, and I think it matters — the war on drugs was literally, actually, a manufactured war against black people: http://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/. In the case of sex offenders, it seems (and the article argues) that blacks are over represented in sex offense convictions only in so much as they are over represented in the criminal justice system as a whole. The current war on sex offenders is not a deliberate effort to keep down a group of people. To me it looks more like a replacement for the drug war for simple political gain — society has turned against the idea of criminalizing people for drug offenses, so politicians need a new way to win points by being “tough on crime”. Rather than race, we should be paying attention to how both conservatives (stirring gay/transgender phobias) and liberals (stirring crimes against women hysteria) are manipulating public emotion and sexual repression for political gain.

      • Julia

        By the way, I don’t mean to be contradictory of anything or anyone here, but want to make sure we’re fighting the right disease.

        • James

          Nice thoughtful posts, Julia, thanks.

          Best Wishes, James

      • anonymously

        Julia writes “Have no politicians been convicted of a sex offense? I hope you’re right about this potentially being a good thing, but it seems so far that high profile convictions of powerful people have only made things worse for average-joe sex offender. Sandusky, for example, stirred all kinds of crazy paranoia among university legal teams across the US, and now everyone on staff from professor to meal prep worker is held liable as a mandated reporter. This is feeding the campus sexual assault scandal hysteria (note recent events at Berkeley for example). And as for politicians, they’ve shown that they have no problem requesting an exclusion for their own hypocrite while continuing to call for tougher laws for average citizen sex offenders.”

        Average joe sex offender does not have a problem with there being more mandated reporters who may have seen actual abuse. Julia, ‘registrant’ is the proper term, or even ‘registered citizen’. I am not sure if when someone says ‘sex offender’, they mean registrant. A non-registrant who commits sex offenses would not like more mandated reporters, whereas a registrant who has long been reoffense-free would prefer actual abuse committed by non-registrants to cease, which having more mandated reporters would likely contribute to. The claim was that if a US Senator, a state Governor or ex-President was convicted of a sex offense, then things may change. The claim was not if average joe College Football program powerful citizen gets convicted, that things may change. Before recently, powerful people got convicted, but only until recently have powerful politicians been held to the fire over their sexual transgressions. Dennis Hastert got convicted of crimes linked to sex crimes. Before now, Mark Foley’s charges never got filed ( partially due to Hastert’s stalling the process ). John Walsh gets to shake Obama’s hand on tv at the intro of America’s Most Wanted. Nobody seemed to care Walsh was an admitted child rapist. David Vitter, who got passed on as Louisiana Governor, didn’t get criminally convicted of prostitution, even though he admitted and apoligized for it and his phone number was in the black book of a DC madame who suspiciously committed suicide after the black book’s existence came to light. Etc., Etc…

        • David Kennerly

          “Average joe sex offender does not have a problem with there being more mandated reporters who may have seen actual abuse.”

          Well, mandatory reporting is not limited to observers of actual abuse. Mandatory reporting is invoked if the reporter suspects there may be abuse or when the reporter, himself, finds the circumstances not rising to such a level and unneedful of intervention. It makes no allowance for his individual judgement or wisdom and rejects utterly his willingness to explore resolutions unmediated by law enforcement. It conscripts the reporter into service to the (police) state and makes him its involuntary servant, stripping him of his right to speech and replacing his speech with their’s; a betrayal to his conscience.

          For the mandated reporter, regardless of his knowledge and experience, it demands that he pay fealty to the brutality of American criminal justice and identify its interests as paramount to the individual, knowing how badly – and often – that monstrous system gets things wrong.

          So no, not all “joe sexoffenders” are on board with mandatory reporting. We’re not so willing to demonstrate our virtues publicly that we abandon our principles.

        • Julia

          I understand the problem with the term “sex offender” but sex offense laws cover more than just registration, and that’s what brings me here. So I don’t know of an alternative and easily recognized term that captures the legal implications at all stages starting with interrogation. Help me out with that?

  3. Timmr

    Like the war on drugs, the war on illegal sex is creating an economic underclass. From the data I have seen in California, the highest densities of registered offenders are in urban areas, the poorer communities and not in wealthier coastal areas with the higher property values. And the difference in densities between poor and wealthy communities is major. This economic disadvantage transfers to the families of registrants, putting the children of registrants at a distinct disadvantage. Some way to promote the welfare of children, not!

  4. Brubaker

    This can also be a new topic .(moderator)
    Discrimination: Discrimination: Discrimination.!
    Drugs are an object to be against.
    They incite public policy to be Against a person ; people.
    There’s a BIG difference in their “war”. Their public policy incites to discriminate.
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/nixon-drug-war-racist_us_56f16a0ae4b03a640a6bbda1

  5. Brubaker

    The so called “war on drugs” was against an object=the alleged drug.
    This “war” against exoffenders is blatant discrimination bias prejudice on the person; people.
    Judges, does it have to be in Vegas style lights; ‘war’ is punishment.?.

    • Timmr

      Yes, B, if you are going to have a war, you’re going to hurt someone, re: damage to “life and limb” as the founders so specifically put it. The engine of progress can not be destroyed but can be sidetracked. One can not war with an inanimate object, unless one classes types of people as objects to be exploited, sans human rights. Nixon made war on people the political orthodoxy and derailed the freedom train. It is time it was put back on the tracks.

      • Brubaker

        Once Again t you miss the point completely.
        ‘War’ puts registered as enemy of the state. Their ‘war’ is on American citizens who they register…you following t ??
        You will be discriminated against because you are the enemy of the state. You see the difference between a drug and people t..?

  6. I can't wait to die

    When a Government declares war on it’s own people is it not time for a revolution?

  7. anonymously

    Average Joe registrant is concerned about registry add-on laws that affect his ability to live and are leveled against him for being a member of a class that gets collectively punished quite frequently. Average Joe registrant and I would also say the consensus of those here is that they are not concerned with the way things are reported to police that do not single out registrants. Average joe registrant, I believe, is not so concerned with how investigations are started as long as registrants are not scapegoated, accused unduly in those investigations, or singled out in any way. Registrants have an under 1% reoffense rate during parole. After 17 years, registrants have the same offense rate as the general public. Average joe registrant is not committing sex crimes and would like to see less sex crime. Having so many mandated reporters may make things more difficult for non-registrant sex offenders to get away with their crimes. To average joe registrant, there are already more than a few people already reporting their every move to the authorities. Mandated reporters ,who are not psychologists/psychiatrists, as I am not talking about those mandated reporters, but the kind at Universities, who could actually witness sexual abuse as in the Sandusky case, those mandated reporters are not generally reporting on registrants.

    • Julia

      Average Joe Registrant should be, because Ignorant Bob Mandated Reporter is now under a blanket requirement by his employer — without abuse identification training — to report to police anything that looks or sounds funny, thanks to Powerful Joe (Sandusky) Non-Registrant Sex Offender. Not only registrants, but unadjudicated arrestees, detained citizens, and non-registrant sex offenders (among others who are subjected to punishment from sex offense laws, all of which I grouped for efficiency as “sex offender”). I’ve seen twice now that anyone who might be impacted by an uneducated report to police should be very concerned about this.

      I appreciate a good debate. I hope that’s your goal here, because I’m on your side. Thanks for answering my question.

      Anyway, changes in mandated reporting practices was just an example and harping on it buries the point. If Bill Clinton is convicted of sexual misconduct, does that help us in the war on sex offenders? Or does the hoopla add fuel to the fire while he quietly avoids mandatory sentencing and registration? If the former, then how? How do we get more widespread attention to the message in this article (the war on sex offenders = the war on drugs, both are designed for political gain through the ruin of groups of citizens)?

      • Erwin

        Why should Bill Clinton register? He had consensual sex with another adult in a private place That doesn’t qualify as a sex crime. You need to find a better example

        • Harry

          How about Ex-CA Gov Arny?

        • Julia

          He has some sexual misconduct allegations (including rape) hanging over him that the accusers are pushing again in this election season: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_sexual_misconduct_allegations. So if the hypothesizing is about former presidents being brought to trial, I assume this is who we’re talking about.

        • Erwin

          Allegations and here say is not enough to convict someone & put them on the register. Although many RSOs out there were forced into pleas because of simple allegations. So I would be careful about making non evidence based accusations

        • Julia

          When did I accuse anyone of anything? Janice brought up the idea of former presidents being convicted of a sex offense and there is one former president (that I know of) who has existing allegations. These allegations have recently been brought back to life by his accusers and are all over the news as they’re being used to smear Hillary.

  8. anonymously

    Registrant = Someone who is forced to register
    Unadjudicated arrestee = someone arrested but court process has not been completed
    detained, accused = someone interrogated, but not arrested
    non-registrant sex offender = I generally use this term to mean someone who does not register, has not been arrested, and not interrogated, who is actively committing sex offenses. This group accounts for over 19 of 20 sex crimes.

  9. Mike r

    ill bet Tyson and that billionaire in Florida move freely anyplace in the world. I evev trump mentioned Tyson as one who endorsed him. I don’t know what that could mean for us or how we can use that info but apparently trump was proud enough to have Tysons endorsement that he said it on a major news channel. and Tyson is considered a SVP.I don’t know what I’m getting at I’m just throwing it out there.

    • Joe

      Then you would lose that bet as Mike Tyson had to cancel his entire 2014 UK tour after being banned from the UK in 2013 due to his conviction.

      Why don’t you drop the two people you mention a note?

      If you only had a mailing address…. wait, wait…. if you only were assured that it was a current mailing address… wait, wait…

    • Harry

      The one thing for sure, Mike, if most RC’s was rich, our status in this country would much different.

  10. Mike r

    here is just one link there are many more just put trump tyson friends in the search and you get hundreds of articles.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/30/cruz-team-attacks-trump-for-touting-tyson-endorsement-while-in-indiana.html

  11. Mike r

    your absolutely right Joe i cant find anywhere where the billionaire epstien has been denied entry and its hard to comprehend that tyson didn’t try to fight his ban i just guess he didn’t want all the bad publicity.

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