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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: More Needs to Be Done to Help Registrants Re-Integrate

Upon graduation from a Sex Offender Treatment Group, a registrant made the comment that “some of the guys in the group will never graduate, they’re always afraid they’ll break some registry law, they seldom leave their homes or motel rooms. Most of them can’t find jobs, their PO’s “safety Plan” is for them to do their grocery shopping at 4AM. Every day for them is like “Ground Hog Day”, exactly the same, it never changes. What kind of life is that? Shouldn’t someone be doing more to help these guys reintegrate, to live somewhat normal lives?”

Registrants with supportive family and friends are fortunate, once out of prison, their chances of finding housing, procuring employment, building future relationships and re-integrating back into a society that as we all know, can be less than welcoming, may not be easy, but for them, it’s possible. They can succeed.

Those registrants with minimal or no support system may indeed find themselves stuck, unable to move forward with their lives. They are paralyzed with fear of the registry, have no one to inform them of court issues that affect them. They have no one to encourage, support or help motivate them. Their day to day existence becomes just that, mere existence. The fact that they are “surviving” doesn’t necessarily mean they are” living”. Life is more than just being alive. Something needs to be done.

Shouldn’t some entity bear the responsibility of helping re-integrate registrants back into an unhospitable society, a society where we know many will view them as the enemy because of the label they’ve been given? Shouldn’t the Criminal Justice System, the Bureau of Prisons, the Dept. of Justice, someone, be doing something more? Too many “good people” are being released back into a society that has been lied to by the Criminal Justice system and the media, told that these people are to be feared. How are they supposed to re-integrate?

Prisons offer a bit of general re-integration assistance prior to release, but it’s not much, and it’s certainly not geared toward those who will be released with a label around their necks.

Some fortunate ex-offenders will have homes to return to, some will find a cheap motel or low-cost room, while still others will be homeless.  They may receive a once a week Sex Offender Treatment Group and a P.O. who encourages them to go to a local job training center where they have computer access to try to find employment. (Of course, no job training is included.) But none of this is “re-integration focused”.

After being locked up for 5-10 years, a scarlet letter hung around your neck when you walk out the prison gates and now, you’re sent out into the cold, cold world. How well you manage to blend back into society becomes your problem.

To be fair, while in prison, offenders are offered some educational classes such as electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, etc.  There are some basic courses on how to manage your return to society. However, the problems for registrants are unique. They are returning to a society that will stigmatize them, a society that would rather they remain locked up. They have been labeled. Finding a career in any of the job skills such as those provided by the prison, jobs where you are required to enter customer’s homes, well, for registrants, that may not work. Prisons haven’t taken into account the “real world job liability” that registrants face when offering prison career classes. (How many registrants have prison “certificates” for classes they took, certificates that are worthless to them on the “outside” because of their registrant status?)

The fact is, more needs to be done. In order for all registrants to have a chance at fully re-integrating back into society, there needs to be more programs to assist them. Their hurdles out in the world are far greater than others. The obstacles they face in finding housing and jobs is much different, more challenging, than others released from prison. Their chances at finding and building relationships more tenuous.

All registrants should have the opportunity to move forward with their lives. In order for that to happen, there needs to be a better system of re-integration for registrants.

Join the discussion

  1. w

    Reintegration was never a thought, submission and punishment took center stage at the registry’s inception and at the passing of every bill having to do with it. Any progress made by a “successfully rehabilitated” offender is contingent FIRST on their submission and acceptance of PUNISHMENT delivered at many levels by not only the state but the community and every soul that ever walked past their house.

    Somewhere out there a horse finally got that carrot but not a registrant.

    • Seth

      The Gov Started these Problems the Gov Needs to Solve them !!!
      By Spending alot of 💰💸 !!!
      Alot ot 🕒 !!!
      Alot of Work !!!
      No Excuses !!!

      • Will Allen

        Well, let’s be more clear and factual than Registry Supporters/Terrorists are. The people who started these problems are the people who committed crimes. Given that problem, if the governments that we pay for and support were legitimate, responsible, moral, fair, and intelligent, as we should DEMAND, they would punish such people in that same way. They would punish crimes intelligently and not make the entire situation worse. They wouldn’t have Registries. So sure, big government is a huge problem. But just don’t say they started it.

  2. Saddles

    If we all understand the issue we can all understand that voicing out is good. Even talk shows, newspapers. Have someone in charge of that. Sure we can all do vain babbling and yes we too can be wrong or is everybody wanting to justify themself. Its not easy and fighting citty hall has been a battle for several decades.

    A person texted on here about some mental illiness or some other issues but seems to me we all have gotten our hands dirty. Look at government today and that should tell you or who puts the blame on others.

    Sure if one can get some TV exposure or media exposure that is a very big plus and yes government or private entities need to clean up the internet for prosperty. Their is no sense for a vigliante justice issue.

  3. Xorti

    I was highly successful engineer before I went to prison for nine years. I had traveled extensively, worked my way through college at minimum wage jobs, lived in my car, ect. Fairly tough. Both book and street smart. Yet, despite all those advantages, I was unable to reintegrate into society upon release.

    I quickly learned that I would be ran out of any apartment complex. Even renting just a room from someone else would fail since my P.O. would inform everyone nearby. Jobs wouldn’t last long. I got a job at IHOP as a dishwasher, was promoted to full time almost immediately, then fired when they discovered my background. Repeat that story dozens of times – different jobs and places.

    I eventually held a job delivering newspapers at around $4.00/hour after talking some used car sales guy into giving me a car with nothing down (long story). Later, got a job at Domino’s Pizza doing deliveries.
    That job actually lasted almost two months. I was promoted, got the best hours, manager loved me. Was making about $15/hour. I loved that job. Then they found out. I came to work and was fired on the spot.

    I wasn’t allowed to leave the county, so was unable to use my engineering skills. By the time I was off supervision, they were almost 20 years obsolete. I am also afraid to move to states where I would have a lot of job opportunities. Those states are also the hardest on us, so will avoid them.

    I now live on the back of a forest lot that I bought for $5000. I built a small off-grid cabin there. Almost nobody knows about it. Even has an antenna carefully pointed at a WiFi access point a few miles away. A few days a week, I walk to the main road, then catch a ride into a nearby city. I panhandle for a few hours to get some cash, about $100/week. I also get food stamps.

    I will get S.S. in another year. I plan to move to another country. COVID-19 was a godsend for me. Panhandling is considered a non-essential activity, so I am eligible for the extended unemployment (pays $25/week, but I also get the $800 bonus on top of it). I have saved more money in the last two months than I was able to save in the last two years. Strange to make a phone call to cancel my food stamps. I have received food stamps since I got out of prison about two decades ago.

    My co-workers from the old days are earning almost $250k/year. Everyone has lost that tax revenue. Despite fairly good health, my hospital bills exceeded $100k in the last decade. I will never pay them (my wealth is preserved in cryptocurrency for safety).

    But being forced to registered is no more punishment than membership in the “Price Club”. That is what they say.

    • James I

      Dear Xorti

      What an interesting story you have…tougher than tough, I am sure…but thanks for writing it up.
      Makes me grateful for how easy I have it, comparatively speaking of course. I hope you successfully get out of the country and live happily off your SS…some people may resent this…but I say congratulations. (also I hope you can successfully make your escape to…somewhere).

      God be with you.

      Best Wishes, James I

  4. TR

    What they need should do is get rid of those that don’t want to help because that’s not what their intentions to do so, other than to harass, encourage incrimination and cause physical and psychological harm.

  5. Tim in WI

    Reintegrate?
    The effect of the registry displays the inverse.. If intent is in reality to impose affirmative disability naturally the fact will manifest. So the purpose of the regime puts safety ahead of integration thereby manifesting dysfunctional citizens.

    To avoid the natural political culpability that normally would ensue from a denial of civil right, proponents simply rely on the dysfunction implied via the conviction to abnormal sexual behavior ( deviance itself) as pre-existing evidence of the citizen’s grounded dysfunctional disposition. “Who cares they’re bad people already anyway.”

    Ostracism, and the tolerating of it, as evidenced by the registry displays a downward spiraling effect discussed in group dynamics and communication theory. Poor leadership lead’s to poor policy.

  6. Fuzzy

    I had a good job in IT when I got caught up in an online sting operation. Ended up taking a plea on one count and doing a year and a half in prison. Right before I got out I found out I couldn’t live with my wife and kids and I couldn’t live with any family members because they were all too close to schools. I ended up stuck in a halfway house in Detroit for almost a year after I was paroled. It was very difficult to say the least and luckily my wife stuck by me and we bought a house farther out in a way better county as far as parole was concerned. Because of my post 9/11 GI Bill I was able to attend college for free and receive a monthly stipend to cover bills and my house payment. A month after serving my 2 years of parole I landed a job as the IT Manager and have been doing that for the past 7 years. I also finished my bachelor’s and got 2 associates degrees. I was luckier than most, but the re entry process was a nightmare. I saw so many guys getting sent back on technical violations for dumb stuff. Luckily I also was in regular contact with the ACLU (U of M Clinical Law Program) during my parole and I believe that were in many ways able to fight for me with my agent regarding my conditions to help me see and live with my family. These restrictions make reintegration difficult to almost impossible, and I agree with others that they simply don’t care. They want to give the illusion that they are, but they’re simply checking the boxes for their funding, etc. When I was in prison, there were several guys in there for SO charges that were perfectly fine maxing out and not having to deal with the BS. How f’ing sad is that?

  7. Saddles

    Kat you have something their with re-integration with this stigma one faces. I’m sure its beneficial to all. So what are we talking about freedom vs. rights or liberty and justice for all in this electronic age of enlightenment or who is coveting who. One might even want to voice out on the View with Whoopi Goldberg Yes one would tend to “think” all this madness is machine database infrastructure or some thought, or is it the guns of Naverone in lustacolor. or some Hitchcock movie to kill a mocking bird. Talk about a medal of freedom. Actually you guys really surprise me. One even wonders about sex registry classes if one ever graduates, or do only fools rush in. So who gets the A+ in all this registry…… nobody. Who gets the F- the one that falls for this trap or the one inducing this trap, and yes I still have more bars of soap available. Yes states do need this to help one adjust and to help one get back on their feet. I’m sure we wouldn’t need re-integration if we didn’t have computer damage diversions.
    So what’s wrong with this picture of this computer type ordeal. And yes Will I will send you three bars of soap along with a soap dish just leave a bar of soap just in case of a shortage of ones face mask protection. Now getting to the point much of this registry its all about responsibility but it is a unnecessary harshness because it seems boys have a fascination for women and not necessary kids or why do they do them on adult sites in many of these ordeals.

    Now without going into guns and roses laws or registry, who is sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind today with this computer madness or database garbage, who inherits the wind in this upset or are many left out, imprisoned, jaded, and discouraged. I’m sure one could preach until their blue in the face. The fact is it is all abuse in this double standard way. God’s more of a database than man will ever know.

    Yes many talk a good program. Tim with his computer theory (no disrespect) and many are burn out and say enough is enough and some just want to hide away after this setback. To many negative vibes on here. One has to understand that strange whorish women/child dragged you and myself in with this poisoning with this ordeal. Would a civil servant of God do that?

    I wonders in all this madness just or who killed cock robin. I just hope we are still One nation under God. And yes the general public should understand about this issue and for those that are new you all are getting the point also. So can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when one has removed their only firm basis, or a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? And they are not to be violated but with his Wrath. So did the founding fathers overthrow? Is the nation, falling apart politically, morally, and economically today or are computers the spotlight of today in American Government. One has to wonder were wisdom is.

    And yes Kat re-integration is good for everything whether one goes to prison gets out or what and authorities should help as they are the ones that instituted this ordeal in the first place. Even the whole status of the registry needs banished or an overhaul. One could also talk about the constitution and the bill of rights. And Will Allen everything we have today is registered or do we all have brains to reason why. And as many of you all have said its not working.

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