The holidays, a time of giving.
But for registrants, that “giving”, goes on all year. Registrants fork over payment for all sorts of fees all year long. Registry fees, polygraphs fees, assessments, “sex offender” treatment fees, etc. These fees are not inexpensive and if you are unfortunate enough to have to register in December and take a polygraph in December and pay for treatment in December, you’re left with empty pockets come Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.
Here’s an approximate total of the yearly “giving” cost for new registrants on probation:
Yearly registration fee: $150
Average twice yearly polygraphs $250 each/$500 per year (some are given polygraphs more frequently).
“Sex offender” treatment sessions average “$20 per session x’s 52 weeks/$1040 per year (depending on location it can be as low as $5 or as high as $35 per session depending where you reside.)
Now factor in the cost of gas and parking fees. Then add in the amount of money lost having to take time off from your job to go to these events.
Registrants “give” roughly $2000 per year of their hard earned money to the state/federal government just for being on the registry and that may be a low figure. Depending on how often a registrant is subjected to polygraphs or other assessments, the figure may be a lot higher for some.
Most registrants already know this, but for newer registrants, the year’s end total may come as quite a sticker shock. And if you’re unlucky enough to be hit with the big fees during the holidays it can quickly wipe out any of those warm and fuzzy feelings of cheer and good will you may have had.
Now, there are some folks out there who might say “$2000, that’s nothing.” I’m not one of those folks. Too many registrants are unemployed or under-employed for no reason other than the fact that they are on the registry. For some, $2000 subtracted from their pay check over the course of the year may mean the difference between having food and shelter or being hungry and homeless, not just for themselves but for their family as well.
In a perfect world, the decent thing for the state/federal government to do would be to at least suspend the required “giving” during the month of December. Wouldn’t it be thoughtful and generous and a sign of “good-will” towards men to cut registrants a break and let them spend a little of their money on their families during the holidays.
But it’s not a perfect world and until things change, we live with the imperfect registry and all its traps and trappings.
It’s a mean one, Mr. Grinch.