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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: The Pandemic Without Computer Access

During the coronavirus pandemic, when an individual’s virtual lifeline to the rest of the world depends on internet access, some registrants, especially many of those on parole, continue to be denied computer/internet access.

While the pandemic affects everyone, with businesses closed, when even our physicians don’t want us coming to their office, many registrants on parole are without computer access, a technology that has become a basic function and a necessity for daily living. Now more than ever, we must be online to keep in touch with loved ones, order our groceries, work from home, tele-connect with our physicians, etc.

The internet is an essential part of our lives, even more so during this pandemic.

News. Without internet, registrants may not have access to the information they need regarding the coronavirus, health updates, testing facilities or stay-at- home orders. The P.O. idea that registrants can get their information from television or newspapers just doesn’t fly, many registrants are homeless, they don’t have those luxuries.

Medical. Access to telemedicine doesn’t happen for a registrant that is only allowed use of a phone from the dinosaur age, a phone with no internet capability, no texting capability, no camera, no email, just a basic phone.  While P.O.’s may say that a basic “phone appointment” with your physician is just as good as a smartphone appointment, I’m sure they themselves would probably rather have a telemedicine appt where they can actually see and be seen by their physician. Making appointments with practitioners, reviewing your lab results, messages from your physician, they are all done on patient portals, online, on a computer, a basic medical necessity that registrants are denied the use of.

Banking. Some banks are closed except for drive-up. Banking “on-line” is how we do business nowadays. Because of the registry many registrants can find jobs, they can’t afford cars to “drive-up” in.  What about online bill paying? Many registrants are forced to pay for stamps which increase every year, then they must trek to the post office, utility company, etc. just to pay their bills while the rest of us, with the click of a mouse, voila, our bills are paid.

Groceries. In some areas, grocery shopping online isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, especially in areas where stores have gone to “on-line shopping and pick-up only” during the pandemic. Registrants who have compromised immune systems, those who are unable to physically get to stores are denied access to the technology they need in order to obtain their food, a basic necessity of life.

School, job training, paystubs, schedules, appointments, email responses, medical research, locations, phone numbers, it’s all online now.  There are no longer phonebooks, paper checks, phone call reminders from physician’s offices.  To fix your cable tv problems you’re required to go online and chat with technicians. We are a technological world and without access, registrants are out of luck.

While our world has changed over the years, registry laws that were put in place when the registry was conceived, before computers became a necessity, not a luxury, haven’t changed. Food, water and shelter may have been our only basic necessities then, but now, as we see with this pandemic, computer access has become a basic necessity, even for registrants on parole.

If their offense was an internet offense and they abuse the internet privilege, then that’s on them. But there are many registrants, even those who had internet offense, who have been rehabilitated, who have received treatment and who would now use a computer more responsibly.

All registrants, even those on parole, need computer access.

 

Join the discussion

  1. Bs

    I have been denide also I have internet access but am still not being allow video calls to my Dotors I have a rash that can’t be cared for because my doctor can’t see the rash also my therapist offers video care but I am not being allowed that eilther even the sex offender therapist/Doctors that parole says is manditory to attend offers video classes /groups being denide that to only phone no video and even if it was put in by your Judge at sentencesing saying you have no computer restriction it doesn’t mater to them because it just like with anything in life if it doesn’t affect them they don’t feel the pain they cause to other just like those people going down to New Port beach not thinking of the dangers they’re cusing to the innocent people the come in contact with later in the day and the gradmas and grandpas they may be killing from not thinking of other or just not caring because it doesn’t affect them they don’t want to feel what people on parole feel by not being allowed to go somewhere like the beach when we also pay taxes just like them for public places just like they do So what do we do about it ?????

  2. Jaime

    Not having access to the internet at this time has got to be a human right’s violation. In my state, unemployment can only be applied online. All offices are closed. DMV and a bunch of other sites are basically only online too. Sure, they have a mailing address, but the information on how to do stuff through the mail is FOUND ONLINE. Plus it is in constant flux. For instance, our state DMV was only doing registration updates online if your safety sticker was current. Two weeks later, they announced ONLINE that they would start accepting registration updates without current safety stickers. They also announced all expired safety stickers were valid till a later date.

    Same with court stuff. All misdemeanor and traffic court dates were cancelled. You had to call a number found only on a WEBSITE and give the clerk your mailing address to send your new court dates. I was surprised to find out they don’t have most addresses. Turns out when they give tickets, they use your physical address (on your D.L.) The post office does not deliver mail in our county, you have to go to a one of many locations to pick it up. So the county court house does not have most people’s mailing address.

    Next, if you are gig worker or self-employed, you are not eligible for regular unemployment. You have to apply for Pandemic/Disaster Unemployment Insurance. Turns out that many states had to build the web site from scratch, then release the URL link to the public (mostly through online forums). Ours just came online 3 days ago. There is no mailing address or phone number to call on the website, you just fill out a form. Even if they had a mailing address or phone number, how could you find it without using the internet?

    The libraries aren’t open. Phone books don’t exist in most places anymore. Newspapers are ancient left over corpses from an era long gone. The few survivors just focus on entertainment and are of no use anymore.

    The internet is absolutely necessary for survival now.

  3. Axiom

    As someone who’s on supervision for an “internet sex crime”(I still can’t figure out how they came up with the sex crime label for people who neither had sex with the internet or any person depicted on the internet) it’s a very difficult road when we have to sneak around and get online for basic stuff like making medical appointments and checking our bank account balances, or just making a comment or two on this forum, this place of refuge and solidarity. When I disappear for sometimes weeks, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you all, I just can’t get online. And this covid thing has made it much more difficult because no more can I go down to my local coffee shop, mc donald’s or library to hook up to wifi. Even the greyhound station is a no go zone because the goon squad is out every 15 minutes now checking everyone for bus tickets. I even tried the Starbucks at Target but shit, they took the chairs out. I’m a young person with a severe arthritic condition where I can’t stand too long and surf the web like other folks standing around drinking their coffee. Anyways, I’m still here. Peace & Love to you all.

  4. Tim in WI

    Well I watched CSPAN this morning. It seems the U.S. Supreme court has deemed to necessary to do REMOTE oral arguments and to broadcast via the internet live.
    The court in the past has resisted giving the general public access to this important but complicated doings. Covid 19 it seems has forced their hands on the issue.

    More and more we are witnessing how the electronic infrastructure is becoming increasingly central and perhaps integral to government agency operations. There is great danger to this trend. While the move here by the court makes good optics, as it seems readily apparent to me the real winners here are Big Data Brokers.

    Similar in effect to the ” fireside chats” implemented by F. D. Roosevelt via radio, live internet broadcasted Supreme Court oral arguments will lend an aire of intimacy between the people and leadership, but the conversational style, tone, and quality will be clunky at best. In other words, what worked communicatively for F.D.R may damn well flop in a group setting. Much of what is discussed in formal oral arguments is getting to the ” heart” of the legal question, and is full of contemporaneous minutia which will disenfranchise common folks intellectually and perhaps leave listeners feeling something other than the intimacy involved via the presidential use of fireside chats by radio. IMO much caution must be undertaken by the court to insure integrity in the process of formal argument whose outcomes and conclusions impacts everyone in the realm. I can imagine a worst case scenario whereby it is the optical failings of the court that lead to or render a sense or perceptions of elitism.

    • TS

      @Tim in WI, et al

      One reason SCOTUS and others have resisted cameras in the courtroom is the court should be free to do their work without the possibility of the participants playing to the camera. Telephone will be interesting to say the least: https://www.rollcall.com/2020/05/04/live-and-online-supreme-court-breaks-new-ground-this-week/

      • Love, peace, and happiness

        Yeah, I remember my parole hearings via video. It was a cold setting and many interruptions, hard to hear, and me against them. 99.9% of those in the prison I was in never saw parole, they maxed out as I did.

        However, I do think we, as a population of the USA, need to stay the hell away from each other (family units living together excepted).

  5. Saddles

    I’m sure these big wigs would be upset if they didn’t have computer access just as much as the one on the registry. Even businesses would be downsized without computers today. Living without computer access one would say is hard. Would it be taking advantage of others or part of one’s punishment. Seems people want their cake and eat it too in this day and age but doesn’t this pandermic tell us something. Don’t these amber alerts tell us something also. One wonders who is watching who and who is trampling on who..

    So where is the moral the value or the principal in this whole ordeal. Sure I feel bad that some can’t have access. There is pro’s and con’s in everything we do in basic life whether one says computers or even telephone is necessary . One could even have a debate about computers or a true democracy in America and the nation but it all boils down to principal. Computers can’t even figure out this Convid-19 or can they with estimated guessing games. Sure being without a computer can be a change and confusing in this modern day of moderism and I’m sure we all can see how computers are necessary in many ways but over throwing someone by use of a computer is not acceptable. Thus the saying,” It takes two to tango” or who clicks who’s mouse button the wrong way.

    One would even hate harassing and anoying phone calls. Sure we can all rationalize how hard it would be without the use of a computer and we can all rationalize why some get probation, plea deals, or other forms of punishment but who rationalizes truth today and true understanding or is it some cover-up or a computer come-on.

    Problem solving is good but does it really take a computer to problem solve and the many barriers one faces do to this convid-19, this sex registry, and many others today. Sure we can all be angry a bit or upset, even staying in a house afraid to step out on the porch or shopping today. Even some of these protest today are making American’s upset but their is a principal or reason behind everything or who uses third thread to make a temporary fase mask.

    In the long run of things computers are in much demand today but when one gets so squeaky clean than its a pandermic all over again.

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