Sex offenders need not apply

By Shelly Stow . . . How many times, when reading about virtually anything, has the phrase, “No one with a conviction for a sex offense is eligible,” or “No registered sex offenders allowed,” been part of the narrative?

In everything from voting in some states to being eligible for many government and criminal justice programs to seeking shelter in emergency situations, those who are called sex offenders by virtue of being on the registry are excluded.

The latest to cross my desk is this, “VCU offers chance for jail inmates to ‘write way out,’ ” about a program being offered by Virginia Commonwealth University.

The program sounds great. Its goal? “To help offenders ‘figure out a way to live a better life, a life that keeps them out of the criminal justice system, a life in which they’re proud of what they’re doing, where they’ve discovered a new life purpose or just kind of figured out those self-sabotaging behaviors that create a lot of pain in their own life and in the lives of others.’ ”


A secondary outcome is that those in the class, inmate and non-inmate alike, learn  “how to respect one another in their very diverse struggles.”

The program offers something that is not normally found in the more traditional crime to conviction to punishment path: introspection and hope. To be eligible, applicants must be able to read and write and want to break the cycle of criminal offending.

Oh, and they cannot be incarcerated for a sex offense – any sexual offense – or a violent felony or burglary.

Why is this program not available to those who have committed non-violent sexual offenses?

Would sexual offenders benefit from figuring out a better way to live? From figuring out self-sabotaging behaviors? From understanding the pain they have created for themselves and for their victims? It sounds like a page out of a sex-offender therapy manual, one of the actually good ones.

Do those who have committed sexual offenses need to learn how to respect themselves and others? Do they need introspection and hope? Can they read and write?

What are we saying when we close off these sorts of opportunities to those who may need it most of all? What message do we send? We don’t want you to figure out a better way to live? We don’t want you to understand how your behavior caused pain? We don’t want you to have self-respect or respect for others or hope?

Everything about being on the registry says those things already, and the registry is not working, has never worked, and will never work in any positive way, not for those on it nor for society in general.

If having understanding of one’s own behavior and having self-respect and having hope are desirable goals, why do we withhold this opportunity from those on the sex offender registry JUST because they are on the sex offender registry?

Source: With Justice for All

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    • #28603 Reply

      That’s kind of stupid don’t you think, he lets help everyone accept for sex offenders, violent criminals and burglars, and now their going to say oh why do these people keep reoffending I don’t get it why. Let me think, maybe because you just curb us and put us to the side and except people to miraculously get better or change without guidance and a path to get help and work and whatnot, if there was no internet we would be screwed as RSO’s but we do, and hopefully some government officials who actually cares might see this garbage and say why aren’t these people allowed access to help, don’t you idiots get it they are human after all, they deserve all the things everyone else is entitled to this S@%T has to stop just stop it, stop punishing these people and just leave them the hell alone already, have they not had enough punishment?

    • #28616 Reply
      George in Texas

      I would think that this type of program would help all incarcerated individuals irregardless of whether their crime is of a violent nature or not. Especially those who have a crime of a violent sexual crime. I haven’t seen any statistical studies that show a great deal of higher reoffense rates for felons convicted of violent sex offenses compared to nonviolent sex offenses.

      Most of the credible studies that I’ve seen show that all reoffense rates for any sexual crime is much lower than for pretty much any other crime, whatsoever.

      I don’t think we should be subdividing our unique class of individuals into ones that deserve more help than others. We face enough discrimination from society as a whole without discriminating from within.

      Yes, I do believe that there are a very minute number of people convicted of sex crimes who will never change and I also believe that there are tools in place to identify these individuals, in my opinion these are the only ones who possibly warrant the super-intensive supervision that most of us face on a day-to-day basis.

    • #28617 Reply

      Programs like these are designed for the petty drug dealers and drug buyers. For the drunk drivers and the petty thieves who steal some junk food from a gas station convenience store.

      Those are the types of criminals that need to ‘turn over a new leaf’ in life. Anyone else for any other type of crime is just wasted human flesh taking up space on a planet full of goodie-two-shoes.

    • #28618 Reply

      Brian I have to agree with you I don’t put much faith in some that would sabotage one. As in my case of this sexting thing I am under. Sure at the whole start I had to go to group sex treatment.. The instructor would go around the group and ask for your payment. I really don’t know how long the course was as all I know is that that is the first thing the instructor ask the group was the money. If one got anything out of the course that is his bag but honestly I don’t see much about these sex treatment programs.
      After I finished the course they come back to me about going back to class again but something strange happened this time around. Although I knew the instructor their was a whole new group of people and I had a word in front of class with one of the people and the instructor didn’t seem to like it as he was a new-be in the group as well as all the rest so they decided I no longer needed the class., that was from the DA, the probation officer, & the instructor.
      Brian what I believe its all about is money but some still have that sort of hard head mentality… a sort of bullish type of thing so I said my peace and am no longer in the class. I thought I did something wrong again.
      Bottom line is group is all bulling and scare tactic if you ask me. Sure we all get angry. Even the bible says get angry.
      As far as computers they are good in certain ways but when police sabotage one than that is calling the kettle black if you ask me. Now I use my computer for my sales work and customer client relationship so to speak. Sure we are only human but when police play a rock’ um sock ‘um robot on one its not goes a bit overboard and the police become the deceptor’s. That in itself is just plain wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right but money does smell sweet.

      • #28631 Reply

        I agree it’s all about money is that I think of it I had to attend therapy over 18 years ago and remember having to hand over a check or was it a money order, we all have our own convictions here, I sat back for a month or so and had to realize we are all in this together, I was being a little judgmental here but realized we’re all stuck on this sam registry.
        It is my understandning that all RSO’s we’re deamed violent as they added the wording assault to every conviction in which makes us all dangerous and violent people, as (we all know that we’re not ). The money scheme wants us to be so they can get more people to keep dropping coins in and keep this merry go round moving 100. miles and hour to blur everyone’s vision to be able to see the big true picture in HD.

    • #28622 Reply

      So much stupidity, hypocrisy, and lack of empathy. Would it be a good idea to create program for anyone who wants to volunteer to be on the registry temporarily to understand how registrants live and understand the negative effects the registry has, and also a way to give the receiving end to the individuals whose hearts are hard?

    • #28634 Reply

      You and I and the rest of society know this these types of criminals that they pay out all this money for all these programs for never ever ever ever ever ever eeeeeeeevvvvvvveeeeeerrrr reoffend, so they have no funds to give to get help for RSO’s. I have seen people with up to 6 DUI’s and Dealers and addicts on probation with countless violations, got to their probation appointment high off their ass, gave a dirty UA and and told their P.O. they were going to come up dirty and walk out without a violation, I saw that a lot when I was under supervision. Now we’re under forever probation if you will which is why this registry is considered punishment.

    • #28648 Reply

      Did anyone ask them why they excluded all sex offenders?

    • #28649 Reply

      This is another example of the underlying intent of the electronic SOR lists. That is , to impose affirmative disability and restraint upon registrants. This is the concern expressed by justice Kennedy in the case of Packingham v NC. Restriction imposed by the people after the fact. While the program mentioned is offered to those still serving imposed sentences sex offenders are prohibited from taking part even though it may decrease their propensity to act out in the future.
      This is how one comes to understand that efforts to restrict sex deviants are more about punishment than promoting safety.

    • #28660 Reply

      “To be eligible, applicants must be able to read and write and want to break the cycle of criminal offending.”

      Sounds like they’re talking about repeat offenders…which emphasizes the fact that every other type of offender EXCEPT RSO’s are most likely to commit new offenses.

    • #28664 Reply

      So in other words and in my opinion, RSO’s are being discriminated against do to the crime committed. This program should be for everyone that wants to be in it that can better their life because of it regardless of the crime. This kind of thing just pushes those that commit non-violent sex crimes a kick in the head while you at down. I don’t agree with it.

    • #28663 Reply

      I believe that to many programs exist using the same or similar curriculum that are continuously changing the names to justify their existence to maintain jobs for people that is creative fraud on taxpayer money. This is like these so called Sex Offender Treatment Programs in which the offenders stay in these programs until they discharge their sentences on parole in Texas. They do not get real credit for what they take because you never complete the program until they discharge parole or mandatory supervision. The Texas Legislature of 2019 needs to put a six (6) month cap on these programs for finality. The sex offender that is low risk and has only one conviction on his record and a case over twenty (20) years old should not even be in these programs because these are self appointed experts on sex period and is forced therapy.

    • #28717 Reply
      Thomas Darby

      I was never offered any sort of counseling, either in prison or out of it. I survived, but I know I would have benefitted from a rational program. But therein lies a problem… the programs offered to sex offenders are often not rational. A program that a friend attends in Southern California as a condition of parole is a case in point. There is no real discussion, or workbooks, or methods of change. Only the leader (a woman) blasting the men with her rhetoric of hate, even saying she’d like to see them all dead. And she quotes the long-disproven statistics of “98% of sex offenders do it again,” as if they were Gospel.

      We need good programs. Perhaps because of irrational attitudes, sex offenders should have separate programs to prevent conflicts. But if real change is wanted, if you really want to protect children, help the RSO learn new behaviors through REAL interactive programs!

    • #28793 Reply

      It’s not much better here in the U.K., my partner is one of the kindest, most gentle individuals, yet he is treated as an outcast and a pariah because, almost two decades ago, during a time of severe depression, he downloaded a few questionable images. He has been thrown out of his home four times, violently assaulted, faces constant insults and abuse, and was even barred from completing a course at university. (mind you, he is a PhD and a Masters in chemistry, and worked as a teacher for many years, as well as being a carer for his severely ill mother). This whole attitude sucks, and I am angry and disgusted. A better man you couldn’t find, but he is literally left to rot, and no one cares. This in the ‘enlightened’ 21st century West. My foot.

    • #30121 Reply
      Philip Sheppard

      While incarcerated in SC as a non-violent sex offender, I was ineligible for two programs that might have helped in a couple of ways. One was a program called SPICE that offered classes that would help inmates navigate the world after prison. Another was a program in which inmates with little time left and at a certain security level (I met both qualifications) would be able to finish their sentences near their families in county jails. It was disheartening. In any case, I survived my long prison sentence, but it would have been nice for my family not to have to drive so far to see me. As for the SPICE program, it turned out that I didn’t need it because my family has supported me post-incarceration. Still, I knew of MANY fellow inmates who really NEEDED hat program but were barred due to their sex offense.

    • #30294 Reply
      Ken R Byars

      It’s down rigtb insane not to allow someone to recover there self so they would never again commit the crime again

      Just because they cant stop

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