An RSOL guest post by Jackie….
People, being imperfect as they are, make mistakes, choose the wrong path, and commit crimes.
Some who are sex offenders, as defined by being listed on a sex offender registry, have committed serious crimes that may warrant being monitored by law enforcement for a long time. Many, many more have not, and any prolonged monitoring is a waste of scarce resources.
Regardless of which category the crime fits, after the majority are released from prison or are placed on probation, they will still be just as isolated and unforgiven.
If they have children they may not be able to be a natural part of their lives– no attending school functions, no day at the zoo, no going to a carnival that is in town. These are only the tip of the iceberg of the many things that are important for a healthy family relationship.
And that’s if they are even allowed to see their children at all! Every child should have the right to enjoy the everyday aspects of family life with his or her parent once that parent has returned as a responsible part of society.
This only scratches the surface of injustice that is happening to many men and women who pose no danger to public safety. They have paid the penalty for their actions. Yet they are registered, sometimes for the rest of their lives, often unable to find employment suitable to their qualifications–sometimes unable to find any at all– and even unable to live in an area of their choice.
These men and women have acknowledged they made very bad decisions, have completed counseling, group therapy, probation, and paid an enormous amount of money in fines and court costs. Our justice system has released them back into society but has closed the paths to their taking their rightful places as fully contributing citizens.
These people deserve the chance to prove they are now responsible for their actions and decisions. Our current laws are not accomplishing this, nor do they contribute to improved public safety. They do little except hurt people by keeping them forever locked outside, alienated and separated from society and from what they need the most in order to to establish healthy lifestyles.
It is time to reform sex offender laws.