Less than 2 weeks into the New Year and already 2020 is turning out to be a year that will be fraught with court battles.
And the side effects, if we lose these battles, will be increasingly harsh and even barbaric for registrants and their families.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers is blocking a bill that would have made positive changes in residency restrictions for registrants. The side effect of not passing the bill is hundreds of registrants may be left homeless and may freeze to death during Wisconsin’s harsh winters.
In Tennessee, legislator Bruce Griffey has introduced a bill that would allow chemical castration of parolee’s who had committed a sexual offense against a child under the age of 13. The side effects to this asinine bill are numerous. Prison populations could potentially explode when prisoners that are eligible for parole, simply, refuse parole. Many may choose to remain in prison a bit longer with their biological hormones intact rather than to be released on parole and have them chemically altered. Aside from decreased sex drive, there are other physical side effects to chemical castration, side effects which are not minor by any means, side effects not necessarily reversible and potentially life altering such as, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, gynecomastia, anemia, depression, hot flashes, etc.
Tennessee will also be dealing with an injunction carried over from 2019 over whether or not registrants may continue to reside overnight in their homes with minor children. The side effects to passage of this law will be broken families. Registrants will be forced to leave their homes at night, their families forced into poverty trying to establish and maintain two residences, loss of the opportunity to be active parents and partners in relationships during nighttime hours.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to institute a 3yr ban on repeat and high-risk registrants from being able to access mass transit, buses, subways and trains in the interest of public safety. According to the Gov. this is a 3yr penalty for individuals who repeatedly engage in abhorrent behavior. But wait, isn’t a penalty kin to a punishment? Haven’t we been told that the registry isn’t punishment? And, haven’t these registrants already served their sentences? Imagine the side effects of this disaster of a bill for registrants living in a city where daily life depends on public transportation. For many living in a city, getting to work, school, healthcare, treatment programs, parole appointments or just about anyplace else is dependent on mass transit.
Eight states (New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Montana, Hawaii, Alabama, Vermont and the District of Columbia) have established “lookback windows”, extended windows of opportunity for victims of alleged abuse to file civil suits against not only their alleged abuser but also against institutions such as churches or places of employment where alleged abuse may have taken place. The side effects of abuse allegations being brought against individuals or institutions 10, 20, 30 or more years after the alleged abuse took place can be catastrophic. For those wrongly accused, careers, homes and families can be destroyed. Whose recall is completely accurate after that many years?
2020. Time for everyone to pull on their hip boots and wade into the swiftly running currents of the registry waters.
Together we can fight these laws so that none of us has to endure their devastating side effects.