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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: Talk and Text Only

For many registrants on parole, the basic flip phone” is the only type cell phone allowed by parole officers.  You can make phone calls, you can send texts, but beyond that, you are relegated to the dinosaur age. Internet access is for bidden.

Recently a registrant on parole needed a new phone, his trusty old “flip phone” no longer held a charge.

It wasn’t surprising to later find that batteries for that model phone were no longer available. (Not a big market for “flip phones” these days.)

The registrant casually mentioned his predicament to his P.O., and here’s what the P.O. suggested and what really ticked me off.

The P.O.’s suggestion was that the registrant might want to get himself a particular type phone. It’s a phony phone that “looks like a smartphone” but it’s for talk and text only, no internet access and oh, by the way, it’s designed for children. A smartphone look-a-like, made to “look” like the real thing. It even requires a “parent” phone number connected to it, which would mean the registrant would need another adult to have a primary phone number connected to his secondary phone number. It’s a “security device” for parents to monitor their children’s phones.

The benefit of the kiddie phone as the P.O. sees it. “Well, it would make it look like you lived in the current decade, that you had a real phone, that you “fit in” in with the rest of the world.”

A low blow if you ask me.

This registrant isn’t a child, they’re a grown adult and suggesting they get a “kiddie phone” just seems so wrong in so many ways.

My first thought when I heard about this was, “that’s just what a registrant needs to get caught with, a “kiddie phone”.  Am I being paranoid to think that that wouldn’t end well for a registrant if they were ever stopped by police?

My second thought, how low will these P.O.’s go. Treating grown men like children, throwing them a bone, “here, you want a phone like everyone else, here, here’s a “kiddie phone” for you. “

And my third thought, when does this P.O. bull____ end?

Most registrants are grown adults and deserve respect just like anyone else. Denying them phones with internet access, a vehicle that is today’s primary source for all our medical needs, employment use, news, business, groceries. etc., is shameful.  Suggesting that this registrant buy a phone that is specifically designed and marketed for children just goes against any kind of rational thinking. And the worst part of this, it’s degrading. It aims to put the registrant in a subservient role, it suggests that he is not responsible enough to have internet access, that he is a child that needs parental supervision.

There’s an easy solution to the registrant on parole phone/internet access problems that P.O.’s worry about.

Let registrants have internet access.  Those that use their phones responsibly keep them, those that abuse the privilege, lose them.  It’s so simple and it no one gets degraded. So damn simple.

 

Join the discussion

  1. Greg

    I’m in louisiana and the deputy I report to says that the internet restriction imposed by the judge at sentencing (got 5 yrs probation. Got off in 2) still apply for the duration of my registration period. Is this true?

    • Dustin

      I very seriously doubt it. I would ask that deputy for the specific code section that he claims forbid internet access by registrants after their sentences are served. Odds are, he won’t know. I’d then shoot back that he’d have to look it up to arrest me for it, so there’s no reason he can’t do it now. But that’s me.

    • SR

      No, that’s not true. Any special stipulations that you have to follow outside of the actual registration specific requirements go away once you’re off paper.

      • Greg

        That’s what I thought. But she said “because the restriction is written in the court minutes it applies to the entire registration period. ” I think she’s just trying to be bossy.

    • AJ

      @Greg:
      If you are off probation, you have completed all terms of your sentence–otherwise you’d still be on probation! The deputy is either lying (highly likely) or stupid (highly likely). Usually it’s unwise to challenge liars and idiots about what they say, especially one who can throw you in the pokey. I recommend reading and learning LA’s RC laws well enough to know where to find what in them. I am rather sure Internet restrictions are not part of the law. I say you’re good to go but, as with most things in life, it’s better to learn to fish (look up and learn the laws) than to be given a fish (listen to what I or someone tells you).

      • Greg

        Agreed. I looked in the section pertaining to sex offenses and registration and didn’t find anything but I think I may just not know how to look.

  2. G4Change

    This is a great post. It’s true. These P.O.s are often on power trips. After a while, it can be completely demoralizing to the point of hopelessness.

    User @BM posted the following link on a different thread on this site earlier. Since the article he/she is referring to really hits home with this post, I’m going to post it here with thanks and credit going to @BM:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/opinions/rayshard-brooks-probation-interview-jones/index.html

    This is the EXACT kind of crap that Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta was struggling with when he ran from the cops only to be shot in the back. When you emotionally and psychologically “beat down” a human being, he/she can feel backed into a corner, and then the instinctive “fight or flight” kicks in. When will they get it??? When???

  3. NorthEastPENN

    That’s nothing – my PO was such a jerk that if this had happened to me he would have suggested –

    “Use two tin cans and a string”

  4. Brandon

    It’s okay for young children to have iPads and iPhones with unlimited access to the internet; but an adult that has paid their debt to society is forbidden.

    • Tim in WI

      @Brandon,
      Yes, letting a child loose on the internet is no different from permitting a child to play in the middle of a super highway. I would’ve used the term “street” but that option minimizes the reality for modern children.

      https://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/

      The big data brokers used the sex offender registries as a way to make a “viable” commodity and market out of personal data. It also helps as a means to project the appearance of network security when in fact the inverse relationship began.

  5. C

    Did he offer him a set of oversized plastic keys to chew on and feel like a big boy, too?

    As demeaning as this is, there are limited access phones made and marketed toward those who want less distractions, and there are plenty of dirt cheap good ol’ flip phones available. I’d get one myself but need online access for work.

  6. Russ

    Every probation department repuires internet restrictions on those convicted of a cyber sex crime. It’s not the po’s fault. She was just making a suggestion. I wouldn’t take offense. It may sound like you’re being treated like a child, but the whole sex offender supervision regime is about treating you like a child. You have to follow a curfew, you can’t drink alcohol, you have to take lie detector tests and you have to tell your agent who you’re dating. Not being able to go for a beer or having to bring my new date to the parole office for agent approval, by far makes me feel like a child than having a phone with child monitoring features.

    • Anonymous

      @Russ = blanket restrictions are a no no My alcohol “restriction” was overturned by my judge because my crime had nothing to do with it. So was my curfew. I kept chipping away until the proba dpt and DA didn’t show for a “therapy” violationthey hit me with. After 8 months of conferences and me refusing to admit to this bs therapy violation (& no DA or probation ever came to court), the judge ended my probation. resentenced to time served. These were all condition of proba handed down by court at sentencing mind you. Not made up by po.

      • Russ

        @Anonymous Before the pandemic, I got monthly visits from ROPE (the sex offender police). They came to my home, did the breathalizer and sometimes drug tested. I have no history of alcohol or substance abuse in my 50 years on this planet. My cp offense was totally unrelated to substance abuse. HOWEVER, the DOC of my state expects all probationers, particularly ones convicted of sex offenses, to follow the supervision rule against alcohol use. If what you say is true, no one has challenged the DOC on those legal grounds. Maybe someone else who lives in Wisconsin can tell us the state was challenged, but I doubt anyone will. I take it you live in California where the courts are more ‘friendly’ toward probationers. But that’s not the case in Wisconsin. In fact the courts here are downright hostile, all the way up to the ultra conservative supreme court. And even if I can take a suit to the feds, our circuit court district likes to drag it’s feet when it comes to reviewing cases involving sex offenses. Evidence of that is the stalled gps ankle bracelet lawsuit against the Wisconsin DOC. I only have 2 years left on probation. So even if I could challenge the alcohol ban, it’s not worth rocking the apple cart and disrupting an already positive relationship I have with my PO and treatment providers.

    • Dustin

      Nobody takes “lie detector” tests because there is no such thing. A POLYGRAPH is nothing more than an interrogation and means to circumvent the 5th Amendment. Results are nothing more than the subjective opinion of the administrator (based not on the meaningless wavy lines of the polygraph, but the conversation at hand and his/her own biases and prejudices) and are as often as not determined prior to the administration of the so-called test.

      • Russ

        Lie detector, polygraph, same thing ANYWAYS My point. Sex offender supervision is all about being treated like a child. From permission to date to having a beer. I need an agent approved chaperone just to be around a child! So this outrage over the po recommending a child proof phone is petty in my view.

  7. Jon

    Now not that I condone or advise anyone of breaking the rules, and lord knows that a lot of people dont have the means to do so. But while I was on parole for 6 years, I always just had two phones. My crappy P.O. phone, and then my real phone that I conducted all of my other business on.
    Mind you the P.O. phone was also on a plan where you only pay for days you use it, it cost me next to nothing to have it. I’m not saying you should go and do this, but it was my solution to the problem.
    Likewise, my wife always had “her room” where she kept things like the desktop computer and other things I’m not supposed to have. In a room with a lock and she had the key. Because I was on parole, and not my wife, so long as the door was locked anytime they came over, they couldn’t touch it, even if they broke down the door the law says nothing in there can be used against you.
    Again, I am not telling anyone here to do these things, I am simply sharing my experience and how I got around certain issues.

    • Jodo

      My 23 yr old son is in big trouble for allegedly viewing under girls on internet. He just graduated this spring from college with an engineering degree. This is going to distroy his and our lives. he is an outstanding young man with a beautiful girlfriend he planned on marrying. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you.

      • Brent

        Any sexually explicit material under 18 is considered child pornography. CP offenses are considered very very serious. And penalties can be very severe depending on your son’s age, the amount of material, and the age of the child in the photos or videos. What state was he charged in? The state he lives in can make a big difference in these cp cases. Was he file sharing, distributing or just in possession of material? Was he charged federally? The feds have stiff penalties on for distribution. Some states have manatory minimums for cp possession. Depending on what he did or where he lives can determine if he goes to prison or not, but he will have to register as a sex offender. Some states give leeway for being “close in age” to the victim, but your son may slightly not qualify at 23.
        The best you can do is find a good lawyer to help keep him out of jail or prison. If you’re unlucky enough to live in a mandatory minimum state, there’s not much you can do even with a lawyer. Good luck.

      • Bill

        @Jodo

        My first advice is to keep coming back on this site and absorb as much you can here. Granted you might get some unhelpful advice from some people but there is information to be had.

        I’m assuming your son’s case is Federal? Is it in CA?

        Anyway I want you to visualize yourself as his biggest advocate because he’s going to need one. If law enforcement has any hard evidence like illegal pictures from your son’s computer it is guaranteed he will do time.

        The biggest challenge for your son is seeing beyond the prison time, the hindrances of residency restrictions, the supervised release, employment problems, and the awful societal stigma he has to bear for a very long time.

        But this is where you come in and help shorten the darkness that he will endure. You need to be aware of the laws. You need to join and support groups like this to fight the Registry that your son will be forced to be part of like a Jew in Nazi Germany. You need to spread awareness to people around you that care to vote against whatever new measures that will be imposed on your son for no good reason.

        You need to join the Resistance if you want to save your son from a lifetime of misery. There is no other way.

        • Will Allen

          You always have something sensible to say. Good advice.

          I would not call this “the Resistance” though. I think Registry Liberation Army (RLA) is better (or “Registration”??). I’ve long considered myself to be an actual solider in an army in a war against an immoral enemy. “People” who support the Registries are not my fellow Americans or humans. They are enemies.

          The RLA is a very large, widely distributed army that can be invisible, when desired. People in it can be organized together for missions or they can act completely on their own. I’ve always thought that if I could be physically invisible that I could end the Registries all by myself within 2 years. I believe that. The RLA can be effectively physically invisible. How? Because when parts of the army are attacked in one area, that part of the army does not have to retaliate. The retaliation can come from far, far away, from parts of the army that have nothing to do with the original attack. Completely disconnected and invisible.

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