By Terry . . . We all have laws — speed limits, stop signs, red lights, just to name a few. As registrants we have many laws that affect us daily that other people never have to worry about. Knowing these laws will help smooth our road through life and keep us out of prison.
Each state has a set of laws called statutes; in Kentucky they are called the Kentucky Revised Statutes or the KRS code. Every state has something similarly named. These are bills that have passed into law and explain the law itself. They cover all areas of life.
In these statutes are laws specifically directed to the requirements placed on those on sexual offense registries. They cover not only what registrants must do to remain in compliance with registration but also what registrants are prohibited from doing and required to do in life. Residency laws, proximity laws, and requirements for travelling or moving to another state are just a few of the laws we are required to follow.
Every registrant should look them up and know these laws. Don’t just accept what the local sheriff says you can’t do or must do; know for yourself what the law requires or prohibits for you.
While on probation, parole or some other kind of post-incarceration supervision, the probation officer will assist in knowing the rules. Once no longer under supervision, or “off-paper,” it often seems that the powers that be are waiting for you to break a law or rule so that they can send you back to prison. Sometimes that is true.
Go to the dresser where you buried your original paper work from the courts and read the restrictions placed on you, find the statues for your state, and educate yourself on what can send you back. It is your responsibility as a registrant to know the laws that affect you.
As long as you are required to be on a sexual offense registry, you want to do everything within your power to make your path and your road through life as smooth as possible.
Photograph taken by Terry on a back road in Michigan.
Terry’s journey in art, writing, and photography started 46 years ago when he was 10 years old. Even though his road has been rocky at times and his past seldom as he would have had it, he has always been drawn to the beauty of this world and knows the future is yet to be known. He is currently working on NARSOL’s Lives on the Registry video project. His hope is that what he has to offer can open eyes and hearts to life anew and somehow guide others along the road to a better life.