It Could Be You Registered with Dignity


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


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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.

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.”

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.

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

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.

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.