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ACSOL’s Online EPIC Conference: Empowered People Inspiring Change Sept 17-18, 2021

Commentary

Maxwell Monty: There Is Much Malarkey in This Hierarchy

“Enough already! You’re all just a bunch of pedophiles and rapists!” barked the C.O. at midnight as he stood in the middle of the day room of the prison that housed me. And sex offenders were almost the exclusive inmates at this prison. “You perverts don’t deserve this cushy life. And any of you pathetic excuses for humans that disagree, can step out of your cube (the area that contained our bunks) and challenge me.” As I heard these wildly outlandish statements, my thought was, “Damn, we (sex offenders) truly are at the bottom of the hierarchy of criminals.” The C.O. was supposed to maintain order and serenity yet was challenging us to a physical confrontation. This was clearly a “challenge” to the logical structure of a functional hierarchy.

A hierarchy is a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority. And it has been widely asserted that the human condition prefers the structure that partners with a reasonable hierarchy. But, when there is a dysfunctional foundation to a hierarchy, eventually it leads to a cluster of contaminates that infect and decimate the community.

In 2013, I was accused of sexual assault. I met with a lawyer and unfolded the details of my case. Afterwards, he said, “This might be difficult for you to understand, but given what you just told me, you would have been better off if you had murdered someone in a bar fight. If you are labeled as a ‘sex offender’ there is no undoing that. It’s utterly debilitating.” I was terrified, and my naivete would not allow me to believe that being accused of murder would have been a better option.

Comments associated with newspaper articles regarding my arrest ranged from, “This guy is dead. If the streets don’t get him, a future cellmate will end him,” to “He’ll never work again; not even ‘Welcome to Walmart’ will be a job afforded to this scumbag,” to “I hope he’s evaporated. Even murderers can be rehabilitated but these rapists are not salvageable.” It was the lowest point of my life.

In 2015, I accepted a plea deal. During the intake at my first prison, the Lieutenant advised me to tell no one that I was a sex offender. I nodded, as a courtesy, but knew full well that fabricating a story was not going to occur. After two days, I was told that I would be moved into protective custody because word had spread that I was a sex offender, and too many other inmates were speaking about “taking a tray to [my] skull.” Knowing that being sent into protective custody would only embolden those that wanted “to take a tray to [my] skull,” I pleaded with the C.O. and ultimately, he allowed me to stay in general population. I embraced anything that provided any modicum of normalcy.

Over the next year, counselors instructed me that I should never inform anyone that I was a sex offender, a gang leader of the Crips who was convicted of triple homicide instructed my cellmate (a “soldier” in that gang) to collect, “ten dollars of commissary every week from that rapist of a ‘cellie’ you have,” and C.O.’s encouraged criminals that were not sex offenders to harass sex offenders, in return for “benefits.“ These blatant instances of downright disregard for the plight of sex offenders provided overwhelming proof that sex offenders were widely skewered by attitudes which were fraught with fear, ignorance and insecurity.

When I was paroled, I was saddled with a litany of conditions just because I was a sex offender. If criminals were nesting dolls, sex offenders would be the final doll in the series; and it would be no larger than an agate marble; however, it would still exude demonstrative splendor and hold great worth.

There is motivation to prove to those that have tried to squash my soul that they were fiercely ineffective. And my desire is to accomplish this while sporting a smile and extending forgiveness.  Oscar Wilde said, “always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” As a sex offender, I recognize that I am supposed to simply accept my lot in life and stay on the margins of society.  I am not willing to accept that role.

The quandary of a sex offender is not going to change overnight. Philosopher John Stuart Mill stated, “It is not the minds of heretics that are deteriorated most by the ban placed on all inquiry which does not end in the orthodox conclusions. The greatest harm done is to those who are not heretics, and whose whole mental development is cramped, and their reason cowed, by the fear of heresy.” Given that we are silenced and stifled by stipulations, GPS monitors, and a Registry, it is obvious that sex offenders have been cast as “heretics” in a very dysfunctional hierarchy. And undoing a hierarchy that is built upon such scurrilous sentiments is an arduous endeavor. But the realization that each of us has something of grand value to offer should be enough to attack each day with enthusiasm and hope.

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Well, it’s great that you have so much self confidence and fight in you but not too many can share that same sentiment. Most people who have committed a sex offense usually feel like outcasts and society has a heavy hand when it comes to these crimes- no compassion, no understanding, hatred, revenge, so I would say it’s a pretty hard task to fight against this kind of strong hand. Good luck to all. I wish everyone your tenacious and constructive attitude towards life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…

A snail can win a race against a rabbit, if he keeps moving forward.

It’s a familiar narrative in every prison and I’m proud that in my years in Federal prison that I never let that beat me. I did my time, I paid my price, and despite public sentiments I never let that define me. My charges do not make me who I am. I keep my head high, I look at people straight in the eye, and I remind them that I am a human being every single day just like they are.

Nice sentiments. Glad that you feel strong. I don’t agree with the “extending forgiveness” part though. I’m not cutting the harassers/terrorists any slack. Nearly all People Forced to Register (PFRs) did something wrong. They were punished for it and paid. Most PFRs fully paid their debt years and decades ago. There is NOTHING wrong with those people today. They are good, moral, decent people. The same cannot be said for Registry Supporters/Terrorists. They are bad, immoral, indecent people today. They will be tomorrow. And the day after. Most will be a year from now. Five years from now. Most haven’t… Read more »

I dont know where this guy’s from but in California if your labeled a sexofender your life is phuct say good bye to everything and everyone you know some friends and family might still stick around but most will disown you its pretty sad depressing and lonely. We all know the registery is punishment the US government knows this too that’s why they continue to pass laws that bind and silence sexofenders. The government uses fear of incarceration to control sexofenders in California thats why the majority of them cower in there homes hideing behind their computer screens scard hopeing… Read more »

Face it, the modern “screw” is little more than a unionized mope. Some are sadistic thugs! I was locked up when Jeff Dahlmer was arrested & convicted & processed in DOC for eating people. Dahlmer if you recall did an interview and that damn interview thing was played many times on institution TVs. Not long after the word on the yard was a contact was made on his life. Guards on G were discussing it too. By that time I was on G block in OCCI and longer in the same institution as he. The next thing I knew the… Read more »

In 1996, I was convicted and then was incarcerated in county jail for 7 2/3 months and not once did I admit to my PC288(a) crime to the other inmates. The inmates who committed murder, dealt drugs or physically assaulted another man received more respect than a sex offender. It’s about survival when you’re incarcerated or home. I don’t let my status in society define me as a human being. Yes, there have been times when I felt ostracized and down. Heck, in an 18-month period, I applied to 700 contract, part-time, full-time, and gig jobs. Didn’t pass background checks,… Read more »

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