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It Could Be You Registered with Dignity

[sexlawandpolicy.org]

Yesterday, SLAP Center was honored to speak on It Could Be You, with host John S., about our recently released reentry guide for registrants – Registering with Dignity (RWD). During the hour-long interview, we stressed that registration and incarceration isn’t a period. It doesn’t have to be a full stop and the end of your life. Use RWD as your semi colon; get your new clause on life. Understandably, life will be more difficult, and sometimes feel impossible, but your life is still waiting for you. Whether or not you find the strength to take control of it is up to you.

We spoke with John about how RWD was designed to help registered people, their families, and their allies find their dignity, a sense of pride in oneself – their self-respect. In spite of the State’s ardent measures to strip us of our dignity, we have to make a choice to find dignity within ourselves. It’s about being proud of who you are regardless of the state-imposed label, and it starts by knowing the registration and notification process.

RWD does this by explaining how registries started and evolved, outlines the registration process, and provides tips and tricks for registering from a lived experience. It’s a how-to for overcoming the unique challenges after your release from incarceration – finding community, stable housing, and steady employment; and furthering your education. It is emotionally and physically exhausting to deal with all those challenges, so it also provides guidance on being supported. More importantly, RWD provides helpful information for people who support and love those who are registered. They have a tough time with registration too, and it’s important we acknowledge their struggles.

Read more and download the guide

 

Join the discussion

  1. jo

    Not meant to be bragging, so don’t take it that way. Let this be an inspiration:

    I am on the registry.

    I am also a self-made millionaire AFTER I landed on the registry. I live in a big house on the beach, drive a fancy car, get articles (good ones) written up about me, and have successful relationships.

    Do I suffer from being on the registry? Absolutely. Have I allowed it to dampen my resolve? NO! Be positive, shoot for the moon, be safe, get help if you feel like reoffending, but above all, do NOT live in the shadows or allow the registry to be your identity.

    Yes, I will be off in a few years once the new California law kicks in, it’s been 20 years. I have been fired, eaten out of the trash, lived on a small sailboat, bad areas and cheap rent and been victimized many times with threats based on the registry. But I never give up, and I refuse to think of myself as less than human despite the best efforts of legislators to make me feel that way. I simply refuse. And encourage you to do the same.

    • Tired of this

      Jo, I’d ask you for some tips regarding how you got started and what it is you do, but I suppose this isn’t the forum for that. But I’m glad you’ve earned what I like to call “f*ck-you money.” Giving the middle finger to the oppressive nature of this registration regime has got to be immensely satisfying. I’d love to not be just scraping by each month, breaking even, just a few paychecks away from homelessness. I’d love to not be living in fear of my employer (or landlord) discovering my status. If I lose the relative stability I’ve managed to achieve, I honestly can’t guarantee I won’t try to end it all.

      • jo

        I started my own business. Yes, I was let go from my last employer because after 5 years someone brought to their attention I was on the registry, as happened at my last job, and wait for it….my job before that. I was fortunate that they were so paranoid of any backlash that they gave me a sizable severance which I parlayed into a startup, and then I worked my tail off to make successful. As for any tips, I would say self-employment is the key, find something you are good at or you like to do and find a way to do it for yourself.

    • Facts should matter

      My privacy, personal safety and security (personal and emotional well-being) is far more important than ANY amount of money.

      Quasi-freedom with oppression, dehumanization and subjugation is not living a “good life.”

      • jo

        Absolutely agree with you. That is the goal for all of us. All I am trying to say is live a life YOU want not what they tell you that you have to live.

    • Counting the days

      How about those of us who don’t make wealth our prime reason for living. Those of us who put our loved ones that we might never see again as our priorities. It’s so typical american that wealth solves most issues. Even my therapist said “if you get more money, you will be happier!”. I could win the lottery, it wouldn’t heal the emotional scars I have incured.
      I’m glad that wealth has been able help you.

      • jo

        You know, I shared my story to be inspiration. Never fails, you will always find someone who will find a way to twist it and make it something it isn’t. This had ZERO to do with wealth and everything to do with being an example of rising above the stigma and living life.

        • Counting the days

          Excuse me, but it was you that could have said success vs. Millionare. Home owner vs. House on beach. Fancy car? You brought materialism into conversation. My point is money doesn’t “buy” peace in your heart, although I’m sure it helps people accept you.

        • Trish

          Try this a man gave a donation to a priest and the man said, pastor money won’t make you happy! The priest smiled and said poverty certainly won’t make you happy will it! If you don’t think money will make you happy your craaaazzzzy! Listen people! Most people in life get in trouble because the don’t have enough….going from job to job, can’t get. Support…need more life skills,wisdom lacking……so it is with money many ex offenders would never have offended if money and other things would have been available. Now nothing is concrete, but don’t fooooool yourself money solves most problems! Thanks!

        • Trish

          You can do everything right in life and still get in a world of sheeeeet! Life does not work that way, a main contributor of success and happiness in this life is money…people can do without many things, but their is a big difference in living and getting by or existing or struggling or yada yada! …but money (wealth) is very important to do many things…

        • Trisha

          A rich man is heard for all they say, but who listens to the poor???take a close look at history or your country or town, maybe your church and even your families! Uh, you see……we are to live abundantly…..not eat humble pie all your life! Wake up people! Get busy living or get busy dying!!!

        • Trisha

          One if not the only (underlying) problem RCs have is……..they(powerful) lobbyists, politicians blah blah! Have MONEY people! Lottttttssssssss! Byproducts of their MONEY is….news coverage, friends in positions influence and on and on…..connect the dots and you will see money is one of the major reasons we are going through this and will continue!

        • Tim Moore

          I think the house on the beach and the fancy car are signs of “sticking it to the man”. I don’t agree with that, but can see his point on some level. It’s much like just post 911, buying a Hummer and guzzling gas was supposed to show the terroristists we were not afraid. Maybe it just showed us we were not afraid. Consumerism as weapon. Now if one uses his money and influence to attack the laws, that’s different in my point of view.

      • Happy, joyous and free

        @counting-the-days: i have never made gathering wealth my goal. Hardly. I’ve tried to help others and reduce human suffering where I can. I’ve made money because I have responsibilities to others that must be continued. Money can make things easier. That being said, I try very hard to exceed what the stereotype is for a RC. I am quite aware of my poor decisions in the past and the harm that I did cause. My life is a giant mirror test on a daily basis. I’d say more but I think I’ve said enough.

    • LARRY ANDERSON

      Jo that is a great and powerful testimony. I also believe that the beginning of success comes from within. Its not based on the circumstances around you, but your determination to be everything you are designed and destined to be. Stay focused and encouraged! Id like to call on you in the near future to be part of a much needed seminar/ webinar. Feel free to reach out anytime at larryandersononline.com to discuss it a little further.

      To Your Success,
      Together We Win,
      Larry Anderson

    • Bob

      Jo, GOOD for you, happy that you made it, I know many that have also even being on the dreaded registry. Working for yourself gives you freedom in a sense. Glad you will be off soon also. Keep your head high and live a good life, don’t worry about the haters because they will always be there.

  2. NPS

    Same here. While I’m not a millionaire, I did achieve success AFTER placement on the registry. I earned my Master’s Degree and found gainful employment. I also filed (in PRO PER) my own motions for early termination of probation, 17b, and 1203.4. I won. I also bought a house in a very tight Bay Area housing market. None of my family and friends abandoned me when I was charged. I also have a community of new friends who know about my past and still see me for me.

    Are there setbacks? Of course, but they are rare.

    While I may have been fired this past August due to the registry, I refused to believe my boss when she stated, “you should resign because you will have a hard time finding a position with your background.” I refused to resign and she subsequently fired me. I thought, “I have an MA, and I have years of experience.” Someone will hire me. And someone else did…one week later.

    I’m now back in university studying law. While my goal is to be a paralegal, a lawyer advised me to apprentice and take the BAR exam in four years time. By then, I will have already been off the registry. I’ve decided that I will do just that.

    Don’t ever think you’re less than your worth. Always believe that you can and then do. Attend the meetings; both the informational and the support groups. Remember our creed, “we’re all in this together.”

  3. Tim Lawver

    Jo, NPS,

    IT IS GOOD to read that you both have found success. You have done so DESPITE being forced to register. My concern is about the larger picture. Our constitution was ratified in an effort to keep the union whole and to promote ” a more perfect union” of people.

    That concept is being severely undermined By the SOR systems. It is the power of electronic databases that Americans should fear and not those who have committed crimes to individuals. It is one thing to hurt another citizen but a far more distinctive to society to obliterate constitutional protections and prohibitions that protect all.

    • Happy, joyous and free

      @Tim Lawyer: good points on the Constitution being undermined.

      I am in a similar situation to NPS and Jo. I did not let the registry define me. Sadly, many of myfriends did abandon me, but I did get past that issue. I have been working for 14 years in the IT field and am respected by my clients. I have been asked to teach cyber-security at the University level, but I’m not sure that is what I want to do. I have friends at my church and other places that respect and care for me as a human being. I bought my own house, which is better than renting.

      I have had setbacks. I had some teenagers dump 40+ dead mice on my front doorstep, and I had other acts of vandalism, until I complained enough to the police and my neighbor down the block that is a State Trooper. Everything stopped after that.

      Never give up. I’ve been to one NARSOL conference and one Texas Voices conference. Meeting others has been a great help.

  4. Tim Moore

    Aim above money. Be not simply wealthy; be valuable.
    These people are creating value by giving their knowledge to those who need it.

  5. Tim Moore

    Agree. The halls of legislatures and the executive are filled with millionaires and billionaires. They continue to make laws which ensue their success, while keeping whole populations in a perpetual cycle of poverty and/or insecurity, and then create a dialogue which blames them for not having initiative to change their situation. Registration is one of their great successes in this. We have an opportunity to raise each other up, but also to change the system and make it more humane.

    • Tim Lawver

      Tim
      That is why every possible government use of a database, even indentured servitude to the machine, was so necessary to promote. With the power of the database in hand, the parties will be free seek political security with their aid too.

      The first important person who was moved out of the way via a database was David Patraeus. He was set to vote against a certain use of drones in Afghanistan. To move his roadblock the deep state, which is full of security contract firms, the read his e-mail and discovered he had given certain classified info to the interviewer writing a book about him. The security infraction was minor, but it was used to disqualify his vote on the issue by moving him off the board making war decisions.

      • Tim Moore

        Yes, I thought that was odd when that happened, because I thought he was on their side.

  6. Dustin

    Jo, NPS:

    I applaud your respective successes and share your hope that your stories serve as inspiration to other registered citizens.

    That said, I do have a major “big picture” concern, that you would be exploited by the pro-registry crowd as examples of how the registry is not debilitating and completely overlook how the registry and accompanying restrictions are effectively designed specifically to prevent registrants from succeeding on any level. To include – perhaps especially – those who would define success as merely having peace of mind.

    Would your success continue if your stories were published in the the local paper or aired on the news? More congratulations if so, but what is the effect on the overall cause of ending the registry? I’m certain not cramming your RC status down the throats of your customers/employer (another objective of the registry) had a role in your success. Other than (presumably) never re-offending, you are the exceptions, not the rule. I can say with certainty that no so-called journalist covering your stories would break their backs to point that out.

    No doubt it is a conundrum, to which I don’t have an answer. I don’t think your stories should be suppressed and am grateful for your support to the anti-registry movement. I certainly don’t want your new lives to come crashing down, even if it would assist the effort. Sadly, given the culture of media sensationalism and the politics of convenience against registered citizens, I can’t help being somewhat pessimistic. But reality is a part of pessimism as well.

    For what it’s worth, I can’t remember a circumstance in which I so fervently hoped I was wrong.

    • Trisha

      I pose a question to everyone? Why are RCs not coming together? Love to have all Input, thanks! Is it not unlawful for the authorities to block, suppress, disrupt and many other words I could use to stop a peaceful assembly by the people of this country, so a person could say they don’t stop us or them? Is this true or accurate, the law makes it dammmmm near impossible to do your laundry at the laundromat, so the law is not impending, hampering, hindering…..etc. etc. every effort to help ourselves or fellow man? It is not about tactile (how they do it) they do it because like Hitler began his evil rule…..he said they (Jews) are the problem, make them register, mark them, make them move(segregation) make them give up rights to own property, or travel….I really can continue, but I hope you the readers will fill in more details for yourselfs, now a question what will it take to make you passionate enough to say I’m a citizen of this country and will not be oppressed or exiled or ostracized or any d@m thing! Because when gooooood people not self righteous or wealthy or famous, powerful or whatever……take a stand people, then change happens! Miracles are made in the heart but fulfilled by you and I brothers and sisters!

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