Sex offenders are human beings, too

Once Fallen responds to Boychuk article in the SacBee

Another View: Sex offenders are human beings, too
03/09/2015 5:00 PM 03/10/2015 12:00 AM

Ben Boychuck’s recent article (“Best solution may be sex offender ‘colonies,’” March 6) reminded me of a similar suggestion in 2010 by gubernatorial candidate Douglas Hughes to build a “pedophile island” off the California coast. Thankfully, Hughes was not elected, but his sentiments are often echoed across the nation.

The suggestion that those convicted of sex crimes should be banished to remote colonies of any kind is not based on research, and is offensive to human rights. Residency restrictions – such as “Jessica’s Law” – do not affect recidivism rates, studies show. Such laws have forced registered sex offenders to live under bridges, on beaches and in the woods. Some decide to stop registering because it becomes impossible to find housing and employment.

Unfortunately, society has grown to believe the myth that those convicted of sex crimes have high reoffense rates. Yet a study by the California Sex Offender Management Board found only one out of every 33 registrants committed a subsequent sex offense in 10 years.

We also forget that sex offenders are not a homogeneous group. Teens having consensual relations with other teens (“rape”), teens sexting (“producing child pornography”) and married couples having sex in a secluded area of a public park (“indecent exposure”) have all landed on the sex offender registry.

People ignore key basic facts about sex crimes. You are far more likely to be victimized in your own home, by someone you already know, and by someone not on any registry. Many celebrity victim advocates, politicians and law enforcement personnel willingly ignore these facts. As a result, sex offender registries are bloated with nearly 820,000 people, some as young as age 10.

There are better solutions than rounding up sex offenders and placing them in internment camps. Circles of Support and Accountability, a Canadian program, has been shown to reduce already-low recidivism rates by 70 percent and is being used in a number of states, including California. Instead of ostracizing registrants, program members help them find resources, offer a support network and hold them accountable for any inappropriate thoughts or deeds.

The best solutions aren’t always popular, but effective laws should be rooted in reason, not reaction. But if you still insist in sending registrants to an island, then allow us to pick. Hawaii looks nice and warm this time of year.

Derek Logue, a Cincinnati civil rights activist, is founder of the sex offender informational site www.oncefallen .com.

4 comments for “Sex offenders are human beings, too

  1. Scott
    March 10, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Amen! We cannot forget how states have cut funding for rehab programming and send those who have been convicted of sex crimes to prison. Society needs to remember that prison isn,t always the best case answer. I’ve seen and heard how spending time in prison can actually make a person worse than they were before they went to prison.
    The atmosphere is enough to cause anyone to become hardened with the treatment by officers and other inmates.

    I would be more scared of teachers and daycare workers a lot more than a registered Sex Offender. Look at the rise in Teacher Student relationships and Not even half of those who were let go from their job were listed as sex offenders either. I have an issue with that.

  2. that was an idea
    March 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Yes they ARE !!

  3. DrewK
    March 19, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Should we also have islands for non-sex offending felons? After all, in the DoJ’s report “Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994” only 13% of the felons arrested for a sex offense were sex offenders.

    Seems like there is a lot of focus on the whole “four times more likely” thing but no real focus on 3,328 arrests verses 517. Is it about punishing sex offenders or is it (as politicians and law enforcement claim) about preventing sex offenses?

    • Will Bassler
      March 20, 2015 at 9:52 am

      DrewK just to set things straight. The DOJ’s report published in 1997 on release prisoners from 1994, through 1996 indicated that sex offenders were rearrested for a sexually related offense at 5.3% . But their reconviction rate for a new sex crime was only 3.5% and the greater portion of those were in the first year, in the second and third year less than one half of 1% were reconvicted . The difference in the numbers indicates that 32% of the people that were arrested for a new sex crime were falsely accused and could not be convicted. One bit of information that was intentionally left out of the study that has now come to light is that during the last two years of the study (1995 and 1996) of People who were convicted of NEW sex crimes 99.973% Where done people who had NEVER been convicted of a sex crime before. and of new reported sex crimes in 1995 and 96 . Only 2/10’s of 1% were done by felons who had not previously been involved in a sex crime where as 27/1000 of the 1% were done by people who had prior conviction for a sex-related crime.

      see article. Why are the Reconviction Rates So Important?

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