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Jill Levenson Issues New Report Regarding Life on the List

[Danielle Arlanda Harris and Jill Levenson – International Journal of  Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology – 9/7/20]

In their recent report, “Life on ‘The List’ is a Life Lived in Fear:  Post-Conviction Traumatic Stress in Men Convicted of Sexual Offenses,” [a download link is at the bottom of this post] Dr. Danielle Arlanda Harris and Dr. Jill Levenson cogently demonstrate the inherent stress for Registrants as they pursue basic needs for survival as outlined in Maslow’s Hierarchy while simultaneously combating symptoms connected to PCTS (Post-Conviction Traumatic Stress). The report also offers strategies to cope with the inherent stress that arise from such encounters.

Maslow’s Hierarchy includes safety, social acceptance, self-efficacy, and self-actualization; these are essential as Registrants attempt to procure employment, housing, and social relationships. However, as Registrants work towards constructing a healthy life they must do so while on a list whose “stigma can create stress, anxiety, fear, shame depression, loneliness, social isolation and hopelessness.” For Registrants, the combination of incarceration followed existence on the list has created the major symptoms of PCTS: Intrusive thoughts, Avoidance, Negative thoughts or feelings and Hyperarousal.  The report conveys that it is ideal to confront these hurdles with a “resilient coping” strategy that is “pro-active in keeping [Registrants] safe” as opposed to employing a “traumatic coping” plan that is “accented by crippling and ultimately futile and hypervigilance” to secure safety. Nonetheless, it does recognize that adopting a resilient coping strategy will be more challenging for individuals who have experienced traumatic events during childhood.

Harris and Levenson accrued data from interviews with over seventy men. These men asserted on varying levels that they practiced “avoidance” not because they were concerned about reoffending, but because they were fearful of misinterpretation, and “that the life they are rebuilding could be taken away at any time.” The report notes, “Indeed, a focus on strengths and prosocial goals rather than on shaming and stigma is more consistent with empirically-supported strategies for minimizing dynamic risk and enhancing successful re-entry.”

In recognizing the report’s narrow database (only men from a few ethnicities were interviewed and all samples were taken from the North Eastern United States), the authors gain credibility: “We acknowledge the limits of the generalizability of our findings, but it does not diminish the profound challenges our interviewees reported while living on the list.”

Life on the List – PTSD – Jill Levenosn – Sep 2020 [PDF download]

 

Join the discussion

  1. TS

    To most here, this may be obvious based upon their life dealing with the topic; however, this is an excellent view into the topic amd men dealing with it. I recommend saving and sharing it with others so they too can understand. I see even a section the 10th CCOA could use to understand the registry as well as other courts.

  2. Random5150

    I have been thinking about how the whole edifice of sex offender registration is built on a single powerful lie: “Sex offender registration is not punishment”. This lie allows the courts and legislature to basically do anything they want. Ex Post Facto punishment, arbitrary changes in rules, escalation of penalties, ect.

    It sets up an angle of attack on these laws. Document the historical meaning of punishment, the nature of registration and how it affects it’s victims.

    Last, we need to compare this to other “administrative laws” for the safety of the community. For instance, drug addicts kill significantly more children than sex offenders. In fact, when a sex offender kills a child, we almost always discover that he was a drug addict too. Yet, drug offenders are never forced to register.

    • M C

      @Random, not totally true. A hand full of states have some sort of drug offender or meth offender registries MN has one for meth for example but so far it only applies the people with manufacturing or intent to manufacture meth.

  3. AERO1

    It’s sad what the sex offender registry has done to people’s lives once your placed on the registry your literally locked in a virtual prision cell cut off from Society it sucks and sometimes almost impossible to deal with.
    I know more then 50% the people forced to register are hardcore criminals and deserve a harsher punishment then outher offenders hopefully next year when SB384 goes into effect this will help separated people convicted of sex crimes from SVP’s and people convicted of sex crimes involving children.

    Good luck

    • M C

      @AERO1, the recidivism rate speaks for itself that nowhere near 50% of people forced to register are criminals beyond the sex offense much less a hardcore one.

    • Gralphr

      Your comment doesn’t make sense. Are you saying a racist is better than someone who had sex with a minor? If so, how? Besides that, you do realize SVP is usually given for the age of the victim automatically, regardless if one actually molested a child (such as child pornorgaphy). SVP sounds like said person had multiple victims, but usually that isn’t the case. Lastly as people on the registry continue to point the finger and say “I’m better than him” NONE of us has a chance of winning. In this situation its only getting worse for all and we have to work together. ANY registrant who is following the law, especially after a designated time (and i don’t mean 25 or 40 years) should be let off to live their life.

      • M C

        @Gralphr, I agree in that regardless of what any of us did as long as they follow the law now and will in future. I don’t have much sympathy however for any sex offense recidivism however because firstly that person didn’t learn from the first time and second because any new sex offenses be a registrant damages our ability to argue for change.

        • Gralphr

          I fully agree, and that goes for all crimes. It makes no sense you can continue to break into people’s homes and you’re given the benefit of the doubt once out, but one incident involving anything sexually is grounds for permanent monitoring.

    • Tim in WI

      AERO1,
      Luck is one thing, proof of concept is quite another. There is nothing like verified corruption to aid in the perception of one facing FTR jury pro se. Here I provide you 1 good shot. https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Exonerations_in_2019.pdf
      Source is wrongfullconvictionsblog.org

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