THINK ABOUT IT?

Ever more punitive punishment of offenders neither deters new crimes nor help sexual assault victims. So argues Sarah Cate, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, in an online editorial for Common Dreams.

Victims of assault experience physical and psychological consequences that require adequate health care, financial support and paid leave time if they are employed. Maintaining employment and thereby economic security and access to health care is critical to helping someone recover from assault. About half of all sexual assault victims lose their jobs or are forced to quit their jobs after their victimization. Workplace flexibility, providing time off and medical care coverage are all essential ways to support sexual assault victims. We leave women “on their own” every day by not providing for everyone a safe workplace, housing, public transportation and employment with adequate pay and benefits.

Regarding sex offender registries, Cate says they are not effective.

Despite the persistent belief that punishment increases public safety and “sends a message,” research suggests that increasing already long sentences has no deterrent effect. Additionally, the United States’ exceptionally broad sex offender registries, community notification, and residency restrictions have not been found to promote public safety. These harsh punishments may even be counterproductive as they marginalize people so severely it increases the likelihood they might offend again.

21 comments for “THINK ABOUT IT?

  1. polymath
    July 22, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Good morning all~

    So, once again I am obligated to impart to you what I strongly believe to be a fact based observation, and that is that sex offender (SO) laws in the US are designed to do just what they are doing:

    1) Disenfranchise, i.e., block an SO’s financial, social, career goals
    2) Banish, i.e., force an SO to live in economically depressed areas away from family and other support
    3) Stigmatize/Scarlett Letter, i.e., the State advertises your SO status on an internet site knowing public perception of SOs
    4) Break up or prevent family relationships, i.e., caused by collaterall damage of an SO being on the registry
    5) State sponsored extortion, i.e., force an SO to pay fees for polygraphs, treatment sessions, etc., under threat of revocation for not paying said fees.

    I could mention the psychological toll exacted on an SO, especially on his/her family, but I think that is well known already. It is pretty much universally know also by all SOs that registry/registration laws are unconstitutional, especially when applied to someone years, and in some cases decades, after their conviction and sentence. Registry/registration also violate Due Process, both substantive and procedural and also equal protection. Despite the 2003 US Supreme Court ruling in Smith v Doe that registration is “civil” and not punishment, which in my opinion was a very disingenuous holding, anyone with half their brain working knows that these laws are very much punitive without a doubt. I would ask any of the Justices to go and live under this yoke just for six (6) months and come back with a report. Yes, these laws are in fact punitive. And here is a peripheral dynamic of being on the registry/registration that is not even on the radar screen and that is how, for men, these laws actually “emasculates” a man. De-bones him like a fish! Think about it. When you are on the registry you can’t be THE man in your own home. Another man, i.e., a parole officer (PO) is the man of his house. How you ask? Think. As an SO, every decision you make that affects your life has to be approved by a PO, e.g., your wife wants to move into a nicer home in a nicer neighborhood, guess what, your PO has to approve the move. Your wife would like a second honeymoon and go the San Antonio River Walk, guess what, you have to get permmission to travel from your PO. [And how do you think a wife looks at her husband under these circumstances?] You want to change jobs? Ask your PO for permmission. Go to school for more education/training, yes, ask your PO. I could on but I think you get the point. So an SO really has no manhood about himself. Disagree? Let me know. Thank you…

  2. Kayt
    July 23, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Not fair to throw the description or attitude of emasculation at every man out there who has the title of “sex offender.” Some of those men are very strong men, they are very strong leaders and they are doing everything that they can to help every man, woman and child whose lives have been affected by the draconian sex offender laws. Many of these men have strong, capable and loving wives, friends and other family members who are just as strong, capable and loving. A lot of those men have more going for them than men who do not have the RSO title. Why? Because they have an attitude that says they are going to do everything possible to make life better no matter what obstacles they meet up with, and they are thankful for what they have.

    Success is all in the state of mind – AKA, the attitude!
    Rudyard Kipling said it best! –

    If you think you are beaten, you are,
    If you think you dare not, you don’t.
    If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
    It is almost certain you won’t.

    If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
    For out in the world we find,
    Success begins with a fellow’s will.
    It’s all in the state of mind.

    If you think you are outclassed, you are,
    You’ve got to think high to rise,
    You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
    You can ever win a prize.

    Life’s battles don’t always go
    To the stronger or faster man.
    But soon or late the man who wins,
    Is the man who thinks he can.”

  3. Kayt
    July 23, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    In other words, Polymath, the PO is NOT the man of the house and the second that a person really believes something like that is the second that he or she actually hands the power over and there is so much wrong with that I could sit here and write for another hour just on that subject alone!

  4. JERRY P
    July 24, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    UNFORTUNATELY I AGREE WITH POLYMATH. I’VE BEEN ON THE REGISTRY FOR 10 YEARS–AFTER A 36-MONTH PRISON SENTENCE.

    I FEEL LIKE THE GHOST OF THE “MAN” I ONCE WAS.

    CAN’T FIND WORK. CAN’T FIND LOVE. SCRAPING BY ONE DAY AT A TIME. MOST OF MY FAMILY HAVE DESERTED ME ALONG WITH ALL BUT ONE OF MY FRIENDS–THEY HAVE CONTINUED ON WITH THEIR LIVES AS I CONTINUE TO LIVE WITH MY MISTAKES …

    I GUESS I’M BEAT.

    I PROMISED MARY DUVAL I WOULD “STICK AROUND” AND NOT LET THE MAN WIN…

    THE MAN HAS WON AND CONTINUES TO KICK ME IN THE HEART.

  5. polymath
    July 25, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Kayt~

    What state do you live in? It’s certainly not the Country Texas! Because in Texas they (Parole Board) are not going to let you be the man in your own home—they make sure of that by the way they write parole rules. They make sure a PO is in your business all the time. POs are constantly doing home visits, dropping by your job, calling you in for office visits to look you in the face, ask you a bunch of dumb ass questions like, had any contact with police, or, how much money are you making now, or, any contact with children, or, any changes, anything I need to know about?—stupid crap like that. I asked my PO (again, having to ask another person can you do something) could I get a part time job at night to make ends meet. Her answer was no because I had to be available for home visits in the evening whenever she got around to it; therefore, you have to sit around waiting on your PO to show up just to ask you, again, dumb ass questions. And in reality, home visits means house arrest. So Kayt, I don’t what state you live where the PO does not conduct themselves like this but sure is hell ain’t the Country of Texas.

    • KayT
      July 25, 2016 at 9:47 am

      To Polymath and Jerry P:

      I could write a book about what the PO’s have tried to do to our lives. Yes! But I have spent a lot of time and energy learning the rights of Sam as a registered citizen and how things can work. He is not as interested as I am, he is just happy to be out of prison. Me, I totally dislike the situation and I do everything that I can to make a change for us and for others. That’s why I do the things that I do and yes, I get tired, I get sick, I get disappointed and angry, all normal reactions but I promise you that I will not let the devil win. I am sure that things would have been worse but they knew that I was aware of the laws. Also, it was such a relief when our son turned age eighteen because they will use the children to limit and punish if they can.

      Research everything! Join clubs for people who are RSO’s and their families and don’t leave any stone upturned, know the law and know your rights. Don’t give up because if you do, they will win. The laws get worse when people allow them to get away with it, when they find out that a certain thing will beat a registered citizen down they will try to make it a law. That’s why a lot of people are fighting.

      In the Sosen forum, post questions and keep posting them, ask what can be done when a PO tries to limit your life the ways that you have explained. The trick is to keep asking questions!

      Knowledge is power – research the laws and ask questions from those people who have been all over the map learning how to deal with these things.

      Also, why try to find work, why not invent it? There are things that you could do right where you are – but it does take a lot of work to create work. I am turning hobbies into creating work, but then it does take WORK.

      I am getting older and cannot get out to do the things that I used to do so I am inventing work at home. I have no idea how much money I will make but I do know that I will not let life close me in until the clock stops on my life. I am researching, learning, working on things every day to make life easier and better. It’s not that I can’t find work either, just that I’m getting too old to get out there and bust my cushion like younger people do. But,I will not give up.

      And in case you think I have a cushy life, we lost everything – twice, right down to the homes we owned, the bank accounts, the china – everything gone. But, no, I will NOT let the devil win.

      Mary Duval died fighting. I was in the medical field, and yes – I lost my license over this whole thing. But I knew Mary from just before she started getting sick. She was a kick – A fighter but it did take it’s toll, I believe that the stress of fighting as hard as she did and having the emotional problems of everything that happened just literally took her to her grave, but don’t forget – she did die fighting.

      I’m probably never going to be the fighter that Mary Duval was, but who knows – I find myself doing more every year. What I do know is that I’m in this thing for life and I might as well do what I can to help others while I’m on this journey that I never asked for. I feel that God put me in this position, I’m not happy about it – but hey, I’m here and this is my life.

      • Jake
        August 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm

        hey im jake and im an SO i was given a 20 do 10 ive done 7 and im about to parole out im currently in a transitional center ( work release) so we are allowed to have phones. Ive been here a year now and working since January. 4th and i dont even have 3 grand saved up i get out next. Month . i bought a camper to live in and after my parole fees are paid i wont have 500. Im a real positive guy but im pretty much beat i need whatever Information i can get to protect me and my freedom. All i want is to make my dad proud and get a woman who will love me! And ill be happy. But damn those pos and there hoops. Plz reply

        • Will Bassler
          August 12, 2016 at 4:58 pm

          Jake thank you for your comment I would recommend that you join the secure forums on SOSEN I would also suggest you look to see if your state has a advocacy organization that you can become a part of for example if you were in California I would say California RSOL or if you are in Texas I would suggest Texas voices there are a number of organizations across the country that you can become part of there is also RSOL national they have a listing of a number of state organizations on their website. SOSEN is what it says it is it is an educational network that allows registered citizens and family members to gather and disseminate information we’re like boot camp for people that are trying to get involved in fighting these draconian laws.

          • Jake
            August 13, 2016 at 1:15 pm

            Thank you

  6. JERRY P
    July 26, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    HI EVERYONE, KAYT,
    ALTHOUGH I’VE NEVER HAD A P.O. I HAVE HAD THE LOCAL SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES COME TO MY HOME APPROXIMATELY EVERY 6-WEEKS OR SO–FOR THE LAST 9+YEARS. I OWN MY HOME ALONG WITH MY MOTHER. I HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO SLEEP. SOME HAVE EVEN QUESTIONED ME ON THE SIZE OF MY HOME .

    I RECEIVE A LETTER IN THE MAIL TO REPORT TO THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR. (I HAVE RECEIVED LETTERS BACK TO BACK TO BACK. THERE IS A TIME LIMIT TO THE LETTERS AND ITS A FELONY NOT TO REPORT. THERE WAS NO EXPLANATION ON WHY I RECEIVED THEM 3 TIMES WITHIN 10 DAYS.)

    I’VE HAD A DEPUTY COME TO THE LOBBY AND POINT HIS FINGER IN MY FACE THREATENING ME HE WAS GOING TO KEEP AN EYE ON ME AND THEN PASS OUT FLIERS IN MY NEW NEIGHBORHOOD . THIS WAS RIGHT AFTER I WAS RELEASED FROM PRISON.

    I’VE HAD HOA WRITE LETTERS TO MY 88-YEAR OLD LANDLORD THREATENING HER BECAUSE I LIVED IN HER RENTAL MOBILE HOME… NEEDLESS TO SAY I LEFT…. –SHE KNEW OF MY SITUATION AND WAS BLESSING..

    IVE HAD A LANDLORD ASK ME TO LEAVE BECAUSE SHE SAID NEIGHBORS DIDN’T LIKE ME LIVING THERE…

    I’VE HAD PREACHERS TELL ME THEY DIDN’T WANT ME IN THEIR CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

    I’VE HAD ONE JOB IN THE LAST 10 YEARS AND WAS FIRED BY THE OWNERS WIFE BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T WANT ME WORKING FOR THEIR COMPANY.

    AND AGAIN, HAVE LOST MORE FAMILY MEMBERS BECAUSE THEY JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND…

    I’M HARDLY MAKING IT BY ON MY MILITARY DISABILITY CHECK. I DO REALIZE I’M BETTER OFF THAN A LOT OF FOLKS…

    LIVING IN NC (THE BIBLE BELT) ISN’T FUN.

    I DO WISH ALL WELL AND CAN ONLY DREAM IT GETS BETTER FOR ME (US)

  7. kayt
    July 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Some states are better, some are a whole lot worse. Why not look for states that are better?
    Bible belt, meaning Texas? Do you remember what they did to the religious clan that they moved in on military style a few years ago and literally ripped up their community? They took all of the young people who looked to be minors away from the parents because they said that these kids were being groomed for sex offenses. That included some young people who protested because they were over age 18 and over age 21. The whole thing went on and on and on. When the whole thing was over, their lives were forever changed. I don’t know how things are for them these days, they keep a very low profile. Now – as fare as the way the people are treated: This is the state of Texas.
    Some other states are better but there’s none worse and that includes Florida, (opinion of one).

    • LJ
      July 28, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Ok all. See the deal is, some like KayT have had positive reinforcement for knowing the law and rights when dealing with law enforcement or parole. Therefore her view is naturally going to be different than those of us, who are in the majority who suffer over long periods of time and only suffer mire when we try to stand up for ourselves. I can totally relate to how many of you feel so many powerful emotions over what we go through. I use to be a positive and unwaivering person. I stood for my principles and rights. I believed I actually had them. I never handed anything over, since incarceration I haven’t had them. They were stripped from me, and more and more restrictions mount all of the time. I kept pushing on no matter what they put me through. Like you gentlemen, I never find love. The women who accept us are typically below our standards, but the women who would make a good life partner and companion are rare. Rarer still are those who would hear anything more than ” Hi. Nice to meet you, according to my parole conditions I must inform you I am a registered citizen. Oh, and my PO will need to approve us being friends.” Yeah that line charms them every time. 😒 Then a job and a place to live? Ha! Well, with five days a week in class when you first get out, two PO visits a month, gps charging, travel restrictions, presence restrictions, banishment from parks, libraries, some restaurants and convenience stores, quarterly “containment” meetings, annual registration, no forming relationships whether spiritual, friendly, intimate, or professional without upfront full self disclosure and informing your PO for aporoval, and on and on and on, how can anyone find time for a job so you can feed yourself and have a bed? You can’t. Now we have lifetime gps! Sweet! I love everyone knowing when I eat, pee, sleep, go to the store and every damn move I make. Anyone ready to start a gofund me to have us all banished to Alaska and declared our own country but barred from business with NATO allies? How quick do you think that would explode. Probably be the #1 gofundme of all time and hold that record for fifty years. Don’t think so? Try it. If nothing else it would be a great social experiment to get the real pulse of the nation on the subject. It would prove one side of this argument to be correct and the other wrong, statistically speaking. Would it be the determined with hope point of view or the cynical?

  8. kayt
    July 29, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Do you really want me to tell you what I’ve been through? Do you really want to know what it feels like to be the wife of a RSO? Do you really want to know what it’s like? OK, I’ll write it up and see if it can be posted or where to post it, so be on the lookout for that kind of information, if it can be approved for everyone to read, we will see.

    And by the way – did you ever think for at least a second thought what it might be like to choose someone who you would think is below your standards? Love changes women, they can blossom right in their tracks if they feel loved. I’m not saying all women are like that but most are. Some of them are too far gone to snap out of it, true but there are some who are not. When I started getting older, and I’m saying – in my 50’s, I gained weight and wasn’t as pretty anymore, only men on the make were interested and some of them even wanted some high class woman with the fancy figure and the cute clothes, and with the fresh look of a 20 year old. Well, all’s I can say is to be sure that your standards don’t cut off good women. Sometimes it’s a 50-50 deal, whose standards are what and which is better than….?

    • LJ
      July 29, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Well, KayT, I suppose first you have to know my standards are not about looks either, or a person’s station or financial success. No, it is simple things to me, like recipricating the live and affection I give, not being a gold digger, loyal, trustworthy, compassionate and caring. Those qualities are true beauty. The big piece of the puzzle missing for you is the age gap. You already admitted at least being in your fifties. Get down to forty and below and each decade generationally has less and less of those qualities per capita. I have not found one woman, not one who was ever loyal or dedicated or even understood what commitment or love really is. Not one. So see it isn’t a matter of exclusion for any particular type of woman, it is simply what I have always experienced. Now that I am a registered citizen, my experiences have been worse ten fold. They feel like because of my label, and my past, I should be grateful they even talk to me, so I better be a good whipping boy or I will always be alone, because nobody else would want a sex offender. Direct quote more than once. I don’t believe anyone meant to belittle your personal plight, or that of any woman who is with a registered citizen. Truly, we understand. I know I personally feel worse for those who choose to accept me and be around me, because they suffer the same ridicule and legal challenges we do. Only they did nothing wrong. Which probably plays into my own insecurity ever trying to find someone again. Because though I am a different person today than I once was, or maybe because I am different, I struggle with the question if it is even fair to put anyone through what I deal with? I see what my Mom goes through, hear what my kids go through, and have watched my family break apart. It hurts me. It hurts me every time I log on, because I see so many people hurting and I understand first hand what they endure. My heart aches and my mind reels and my soul cries out to the heavens for us all. So forgive me KayT, I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just sharing my points of view.

  9. Kay T
    July 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I don’t know if they would let men join the Offender’s Wives group but if they would then you could see how women really think. There are women who worry, yes. But there are a lot of them and I know that most of them had zero idea of what they were in for when their man got out of prison, on the other hand some of them do and they choose to love the man anyway. From what I see they are loyal and have every other trait that you mentioned. Some of them are new girlfriends asking for advice.

    I guess if I were you and looking for a sweetheart, I would find men like myself who are successful and see what they did in life to change it into something that was good for them. There are men who have married as RSO’s and I would be asking how they met the woman, I would be looking at his traits and how he has arranged his life. I would become a copycat.

    Health first. If you have health problems, you need to take care of them first and there are ways to do that.

    By the way, you are wrong about my age, I am seventy this year, somehow I’m pretty proud of that because I’m still alive and many whom I have known aren’t, sadly.

    My quest, and my only quest at Sosen is two-fold. One, to make friends and second, to find ways to change the laws so that thousands of people who are plagued by the RSO laws can live a better life, so the people who are collaterally damaged can live free from fear.

    Today I read about those who have been in prison for any reason, they suffer the same problems minus the scarlet letter, but everything else is about the same. For all of them it is very hard to find work, housing, and security. There is a lot of work to do to change the laws and if we don’t work on it together, things will only get worse.

    • LJ
      August 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Well KayT, I am not actively seeking a sweetheart, due to the reasons I stated above. See, I only stated you admitted being at least in fifties, a gentleman never presumes an older age than any mention of age in a woman’s conversation. In any case, as I also previously stated, I have done the work, not to become a copy of anyone else, but the best version of myself. I am just soo tired of being beat down, kicked around, subject to this and that and ever more restrictions and complicated laws. With Parkinson’s, I am also on top of it, but the reality is it is a very difficult thing to deal with in itself. Everyday activities become challenging. Yes, I am lonely, yes I wish in some miraculous fashion this would all be over and I could be allowed to do all I desire. Which isn’t to enrich myself as much as it is to help others to realize and reach their potential. There is a lot of work to do. I also wish I could say I fought back and had success, but I didn’t. I only exacerbated my situation into a bigger nightmare, by merely standing for my rights. I wish is not reality. Hopeless romantic or not, I live in this bizarre world that continues to astonish me every day, and not in a good way. I look around at the people lost in the digital realm and unaware of the people in the same room with them. You can’t watch a movie without a sex scene. Some people here don’t even wear clothes, yes honestly. I sit and think to myself, where the hell am I? Is this the same country I was born in? I realize I very much don’t belong. I have an old school moral make up. Not to the authoritative head of household ideologies, more like I am principled. I do my best to hold true to them, be honorable. It wasn’t always so, it took a lot of redirection, self monitoring and changing of some critical thinking errors. Is any of that recognized? No, I am always only further suppressed and oppressed by unconstitutional laws and provisions that prevent the normal everday human standards for most. You are right, it is hard for all ex cons, however we have that scarlett letter as you said. Even now, as it looks as though a real estate purchase is finally coming to pass, I won’t be allowed to step foot on a property I own. Humorous. I can own it, run it off site, and collect income, but can’t actually see it, I have to pay someone I trust to go on-site for me. The absurdity is beyond reasoning. Anyway, I am glad to hear there are some women out there who still have those qualities. I don’t hold out a lot of hope I will be the lucky one to find one.

  10. mike
    July 30, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    beautifully stated lj…

    • LJ
      August 1, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Hey Mike, how are you? I haven’t been on rsol for a while. Been a little frustrated there. However, I always enjoy you take on things. Good to see you here.

  11. mike r
    August 2, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    hey lj im doing pretty well just finisged my first year of college and continuing my research and development of my motion I’ll eventually be filing. I agree about some of the people on carsol site are unproductive hateful people who have a problem with constructive criticism or positive discourse. they must feel some kind of guilt for their lack of action something like that. I will maintain my attitude and not let anyone control or dictate what I can post or keep me from expressing my opinions. so yeah I am doing great. thanks for asking…

    • LJ
      August 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Good to hear Mike. I am hoping to close escrow on a five star hotel. Still dealing with nonsense as we all do, but I have chosen to rise above the expectations of others.

  12. Paul
    August 6, 2016 at 8:37 am

    If they really wish to try to deter sex crimes, then make it punishable by Death!
    If they really wish to get help for the Victim, then give them the help they need, as well as helping them to put it in the past, instead of constantly bringing it into the present!
    But Neither will happen.

    I am an RSO, Did 5 of 10, & was released 3 years early from parole. My parole Officer & I bumped heads from the day I was released!
    I have a good job, a place to call home, a dog & a cat. I also have a car, a truck, & a motorcycle. I am single, & will most likely remain so, as I do not wish to have a woman decide to lose her family & friends to be with me!
    Most of my family left me for dead when I was arrested, I miss them, But I will go on with my life without them, just as they are without me!
    My goal in life is to piss-off all the haters, by having a better life then they think I should have!

    My Parole Officers Idea of a good day is to send another SO back to prison!
    I did what I was suppose to do, & didn’t allow him to make my life any more difficult then he had the right to do!

    The City I work in is gradually pushing all RSO’s out, by building City parks! That is why I live elsewhere, fortuniatly the town I live in has no desire to mess with my liberties, I live in a nice quiet area. all my nieghbors know about my past, & most of them really like me as a person & a nieghbor. Yes I have had the odd person tell me to Move, or Say They wish to kill me, But they themselves have either moved, or just keep to themselves.

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