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-- Issues Affecting All Offenders and Discussion of Them --
Society's Denials (Mostly Subtle) Flowing From Sex Offender Registration:
"Sex offenders are the one and only group in society that
can be openly discriminated against, with impunity!" a Washington Journalist.
How can this discrimination occur undetected? The answer, because of the design of "Sex Offender Registration Laws" and those that flow from them, and, the refusal of legislators and courts to recognize the effects of these laws. Heads are turned and smoke screens constructed to deny the truth, it is now a political issue. Courts and legislators say, the laws are only disseminating what is already public information, and the purpose is to protect the public from sex offenders who have high recidivism rates.
6-27-2003: New Recidivism Study Shows That Old Sex Offender Recidivism Rates Were Being Misinterpreted! Caused by the lack of a "Standardized Method of Calculating Recidivism Rates."
New Recidivism rates are so low that the new report had to make this comment about them:
"Sexual recidivism was not demarcated from violent recidivism because of the very low base rates that would have made interpretation of future trends extremely problematic" (The Reconviction Rate of Federal Offenders 2003-02, Solicitor General Canada)
Legislators are ignoring history, this form of public shaming, ridicule and lynch justice mentality (subtly promoted by these laws), was legislatively removed from our laws years ago, and for good reason, we are a maturing society and do not resort to barbaric ways, even to those who violate the law.
Further, when public shaming did take place, it was of short duration, and localized to a specific community. There was no public shaming of a class of persons for 10-25 years or life, as there is today with mechanized public shaming (i.e., Internet).
This is a new form of punishment, unknown in history, excessive far beyond what was held unconstitutional in Weems -vs- United States in 1910. These laws have a disastrous effect on the rehabilitative potential of the person, and directly affects society. These laws tend to cause sex offenders to isolate, which is a high risk factor that causes recidivism.
Some have said, community notification is no different than a wanted poster, and ignore that a wanted poster is for someone who has not paid his/her debt to society. Our legislators ignore that, each person that is covered by registration laws, is innocent of any current wrongdoing, and is a person who our law has deemed fit and ready for society.
Further, while the public has had access to criminal proceedings and information, it has been limited to, the public being allowed to attend a trial and sentencing, and anyone can request the criminal record of a specific person by following a procedure. There has never been a recognized "PUBLIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT" to easy access to that information. In fact, all access to "Court Records," "Criminal Records," "Mental Health Records," etc., has been traditionally limited, in scope and procedure, by acts such as The Freedom Of Information Act and others. Under the guise of "public safety" these laws are a pretext to carve a new exception inflicting further punishment.
Do these laws "protect the public," no, it's a "Perception of Protection," but they do nothing to actually protect anyone.
These laws are a PRETEXT to impose further controls on, one specific type of offender (following a sentence), and ignoring all other types of offenders who have far higher recidivism rates and cause their own form of disastrous effects on society. Courts and legislators ignore the societal affects of these other types of offenders.
Recidivism rates that courts and legislators have based their findings on, have been certain studies of SUB-GROUPS of sex offenders, and then they say, all sex offenders are like that sub-group (painting with a broad brush). The individual offender loses his identity, and under the broad brush, loses constitutional rights afforded everyone else in society.
The truth is masked because it is not politically correct to admit, legislative error, in previous legislative findings, where they painted with a broad brush what they found in a sub-group or a few offenders. Recent government studies have been done which have proved that, recidivism rates of the -class of sex offenders-, is not what has been touted.
Sex offenders, their families and friends, are regularly subjected to subtle denials in society, usually housing or denials of services, and there is no recourse or legal remedy. Is this discrimination?? In reality it is discrimination because, a sex offender is no different than any other offender that has been criminally held responsible for his/her past acts.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already held that, similarly situated persons must be treated equally (Constitutional protections), sex offenders (and their families and friends) are clearly not treated like other ex-offenders in society or by public officials who enact laws. Many folks mistakenly think "Discrimination" when they should be thinking "Unequal Treatment," there are many nuances in the law thats folks sometimes mistaken.
One must review carefully, the denial and the laws covering that subject area (i.e. housing, employment, etc.), and the "state action" that took part in the denial. Often one must look closely at how the law itself, may deny equal treatment under that law. Remembering that, these laws were enacted by legislators, and laws have been held to be violative of "Equal Treatment" to "Similarly Situated" persons covered by a law!
Here are a few examples:
When an offender leaves prison, they live either with a family member or with a friend. If the place where they live is "leased" often the residents (offender and family or friends) are evicted or their leases are simply not renewed. No reason is given for the action. They are forced to move, and incur the additional costs of moving; no recourse for these expenses. Eventually money runs out and they can become homeless.
Current federal laws automatically deny many sex offenders from obtaining subsidized housing on a premise that may or may not pertain to the individual offender. No hearing is permitted. What is most difficult about this is, usually it is the aged offender who is being denied, and if they have no family they become homeless.
Offenders applying for new housing or other services are often denied for cursory reasons. One report we have comes from a fellow who was denied dental services, when his neighbor, applying the same day to the same dentist was accepted. No explanation, and in this case the offender was in a better financial position than his neighbor. It was later learned that the dentist was an ex-policeman and apparently runs checks on his patients.
The following are not so subtle, offenders have had their car tires slashed, windows broken, cars and doors painted, other property damaged or stolen; in New Jersey a fellow had his apt windows shot out while his kids were home. Recourse, insurance? However, then their rates go up, is that really recourse?
Sex Offenders are being stalked, by people that will shock you:
The Stalking of the Sex Offender: Whats Wrong with Megan's Law."
On rare occasions sex offenders who are harassed
find out who is doing the harassing and take legal steps.
Florida:Sex offender's suit claims harassment: The lawsuit claims Sheriff Jeff Dawsy spread rumors about him, had him followed and had his home searched illegally.
A man convicted of sexual assault on a child filed a federal lawsuit last week claiming he has been harassed by Sheriff Jeff Dawsy. James Couch, 50, of Beverly Hills filed the suit April 17 in U.S. District Court. In the suit, he claims Dawsy spread rumors about him, had him followed and illegally had his home searched.
Couch registered and had no problems until March, when his Beverly Hills neighbors filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Office after Couch gave their son a free compact disc he received on the Internet. According to the lawsuit, Dawsy heard about the complaint and began notifying the public about Couch's status as sex offender. The lawsuit, prepared by Ocala lawyer and former Citrus County judge candidate Charles Horn, said Dawsy approached members of the press and told them Couch was convicted of molesting young girls and passed out fliers in the community.
Dawsy could not be reached for comment Thursday. Couch said he has been the object of ridicule since Dawsy made his neighbors aware of his sex offender status. "Now I'm getting rocks thrown at my house, I'm being egged and I'm receiving hate mail," he said. (4-26-2002 TampaBay.com)
Ohio:Village settles harassment claim for $97,500 (Interesting article on harassment of non-sex offender): This is to show the kind of proof that would be needed before filing a harassment claim.