Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thanks & a rant

First, thank you all for the comments. I realized yesterday, after blithely writing this, just how much shame I've been carrying around about all of this. I, obviously, need to work through a lot of stuff about it.

But the blog moves on, and I feel the need to talk about something that's completely unrelated. So here it goes...

There were many measures on the ballot for CA on Tuesday. Our voter's guide was the size of a small town phone book. I had thought about voting then found myself overwhelmingly compelled to by the measure which would have required a waiting period and parental notification for minors seeking abortions.

But that's not the measure that's got me hot under the collar. The measure that disturbed me the most was #83. It was targeted toward changing laws regarding sex offenders in CA. The measure called for stronger sentencing, disallowing registered sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of a school, park or playground, and requiring all registered sex offenders to be fitted with GPS tracking devices.

I was a bit shocked and horrified to find that this actually passed by a wide margin. I can only imagine that people saw the words stronger sentencing and sex offenders and voted yes without thinking about the implications of what this law meant.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of sex offenders. But here's the thing, we make little or no attempt to rehabilitate them. We stick them in prisons, often for a distressingly short time, then release them to the world. We already put their names, photos and addresses on a website so their neighbors can be "safer" (I'm still not sure how that works, but okay.).

But here's where this law is f-ed up. First, it addresses all sex offenders. However, the crafters of the law were clearly most concerned about pedophiles (hence the distance limits from schools, etc.) which is only a subset of all sex offenders out there. Second, there seems to be little recognition by this law that most sex offenders are not strangers preying on unknown others...these are most often people that the victim knows as close friends or family.

But what for me was the most ludicrous part of this law was the GPS tracking devices that all sex offenders would be required to wear. This feels like a slippery slope that I don't want to see our society go down, even to protect our children. This part of the law would mean that someone who had done their time, and completed their probation, would still need to be under some kind of observation by the state. It seems like a completely useless violation of the civil rights of this person...and, yes, in this instance I care about the civil rights of sex offenders because once a law is in place it provides an opportunity to expand to other offenders and possibly, eventually to the general public. Like I said, a slippery slope.

I felt more than a bit vindicated yesterday when I read that a federal court judge agreed with me, although the basis of the judgement was on where the offender lived not on the GPS issue.

Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox, now.


qqqqqqqqq said...

Wow to heavy subjects one after the other.

Rgarding your drinking I seriously doubt that you're an alcoholic. drinking to get drunk does not mean you're an alcoholic.

Lots of alcoholics at times, drink without the intention of getting drunk they just don't knw when to stop.

As for sex offenders and pedophiles I say shoot them all. Then there would be no need for silly bracelets.

Aravis said...

I tend to agree with you Spins. While I think the registry is a good thing in general, I also think it can be and is sometimes misused. I really feel sorry for those who were wrongfully convicted. Their hell is never-ending.

There is supposedly a high rescidivism rate even for those who do receive counseling. Yes, a slippery slope. How to end the problem in an appropriate way? France has an interesting program in which sex offenders can volunteer to take a drug that chemically castrates them. It is not left up to them to take it; they must report in to receive it. I saw an interview with a pedophile who opted for this course and was very happy with the results. I wish we had a similar thing here- again, on a voluntary basis- for those who really want to stop.

Then again, it isn't actually about sex but about control and power. These issues must be addressed in order to see lasting results I think.

P'tit-Loup said...

So much on that one. First, how could it be enforced? If I live 2000 feet away, can't I take a bus, car, bike or walk to get there? I agree that our rehab programs have failed miserably with this population but if the thought is that a person is so unsafe that they need all this extra attention, then why are they released? And if they have recovered and are much better, then why burden them with all this useless, expensive regulation? Lots to think about. In this area, a teen who was my former client was recently molested. It made the news and all, and of record this was a first time offender, no previous records in CA. He is now incarcerated, and I hope that due to the single offence(he is in his 50s), he may be more ameanable to rehab. There are certainly more questions than answers for me on this topic.