We have now begun the year 2020. When I first used the year on a personal check, the digits of that number popped out at me.
2020. Where have I seen that before?
The answer was easy. On a prescription for eyeglasses.
No, my vision without glasses is not 20/20. However, the eyeglasses I have been prescribed and wear help me perfect my vision to 20/20 which helps me to see more clearly.
What if the year 20/20 is meant to provide us all with opportunities to see more clearly?
What if members of the registrant community, on parole or probation, could see more clearly that it is to their advantage to create a positive relationship with their parole/probation officer?
What if parole and probation officers saw that the real purpose of their job is to help registrants, not harm them?
What if the public saw that the information they believe to be true about registrants’ re-offense rates is false and that in fact registrants’ re-offense rates are very low?
What if the public saw that sex offender registries provide them with a false sense of security because those who are likely to harm their children are family members, teachers, coaches and members of the clergy, not registrants?
What if legislators saw that the new laws they continue to introduce harm registrants and their families but do not achieve their stated goal of increasing public safety?
What if legislators introduced and passed laws that do in fact increase public safety such as helping registrants find good jobs and housing?
My list of “what if’s” could continue until next year. For there is so much to see with perfect vision.
It is my hope that many people, including registrants and their loved ones, will use their perfect vision to determine the best way they can Show Up, Stand Up and Speak Up in 2020. For it is only by doing this that true progress can be made, that their civil rights can be restored.
We need to show the world that the label “sex offender” is meaningless, perhaps dangerous and punishing. That it does not define the person to whom it has been applied.
We need to show the world that those labeled “sex offender” are doing their best with the scarce resources they are able to obtain.
We need to show the world that those labeled “sex offender” are law abiding citizens, not monsters.
One of many ways to do this is to join ACSOL during its annual Lobby Day in Sacramento on Feb. 11. Another way is to make phone calls and send letters to the state legislators prior to that date.
Pleas share with us the way you choose to share your perfect vision in 20/20 in comments to this column. Or you can share them in person at the annual ACSOL conference on May 29 and May 30 in Los Angeles.