I saw this story in today’s Express in “news-lite” format so wanted to find the full AP story.
I don’t condone sexual abuse or assault by any means, but I really have to wonder why we believe we have a “working” system where the offenders serve their time, get their counseling and/or medication, are told “Ok, go become a productive member of society” – and once back in the real world are still hounded and shunned and only given the bare minimum of privacy. From the article:
Laws restrict where they can live, Web sites list their names, satellites track their steps. Neighbors and bosses force them from their homes and jobs.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she wants state lawmakers to set up 1,000-foot “predator-free zones” around schools.
A Houston-based company started offering subscribers “sex offender movement alerts” sent to their cell phones or e-mail to keep track of registered offenders in California, Texas and Florida.
Six Flags announced it reserves the right to keep sex offenders out of its amusement parks.
And in Lubbock, TX, a housing community is coming up promising to be ‘Sex-Offender-Free’. I’m trying to think of how many crime dramas I’ve seen about sex offenders and in only one or two, the accused re-offender was actually innocent. Every other time, the system failed (mainly because it makes for good drama, but still, the court of public opinion via demography).
The things they’ve done are horrible and disgusting and they should get help, but how do people’s minds cover up the conflict between not keeping them inprisoned and making them virtual prisoners on “the outside?” I know there aren’t any easy answers, I know the penal system doesn’t really work and thankfully I’m not emotionally close enough on either side of the issue to strongly advocate either extreme for treatment and the more I think about it, the more conflicts I’m seeing in my own thinking. Err on the side of caution, change the laws, continue overcrowding existing or building more prison space? I just have to wonder when someone has a habit, an obsession and they’re trying so hard to be free of it, they’re seeing professionals to help them for it yet they are constantly denied a normal life even though it was promised them… how long before they embrace the familiar again?
And then I look closer to home, at the crime reports of robberies at knife and gunpoint taking place in my neighborhood (sometimes right on my building’s corner) in the evenings and early mornings and I realize there are probably more pressing concerns for me to think about.
* I feel I have to explain my post following the Jackson verdict. I was unsurprised because the prosecution made a very good case and severely damaged the credibility of his accusers, hence the reasonable doubt. The thought of that plus the Dave Chappele sketch on famous African American men on trial caused it to be rather flippant. I think MJ needs help for many reasons, not just his unhealthy fixation on youth and youngsters. I believe he bought the best legal team money could get and they saved his ass. Whether or not this claim was true or false, he’s settled others before, which indicates that either something’s going on, or he is the easiest mark/pigeon in the world for this type of stuff.
I also think that trials, no matter how famous, should not be fodder for the media. From small claims to jury trials, the proceedings really aren’t our business, only the verdicts that are legally a matter of public record. Hell, I don’t even like People’s Court or Judge Judy.