Reply To: New York Times: “Vanishingly” little evidence of high re-offense rate

Terry H.

I read this and I found it ridiculous. I live in Kentucky, I served my time and I am registered for a non-Violent offense, I have no supervision or conditions other than the “Residency restrictions”. I have been off paper for 3 years. With that said, I have to say that no one has come by to see me, check on me, required me to check in. All I have to do is fill a card out every three months and send it in to register my address. If I am such a threat to society, a pariah, a danger to children, then why is my life better and more normal than before. I own property, I have a great job and I travel all over the Country…freely. No one ever says a word to me, I have never been approached or threatened or spoken to in an off manner. I go to Church weekly and have many friends…my life is better than it has ever been.

The laws that are in place are designed to oppress those who are going to break them or who are unable to live up to them because of their specific situation. Most of the laws are in place to “Enhance” a crime or “Extend” the sentencing ability of the court due to the offense committed. I see “Add On” charges or Enhancements to may of the laws here in this state.

We can fight the laws, we can push for change and as we do more and more politicians will start to see the errors in these “Knee Jerk” laws that protect no one but until those who are labeled a Sex Offender are given opportunities, after release, to rebuild their life the struggle will go on. I have no real numbers to support this but I see that most of those reoffending after release are because of the lack of Opportunities, a place to live,a job, a restart. Then it’s back to prison because they could not do a few simple things required of them and in most cases, it’s not because they did not want to follow the rules, they couldn’t because of the lack of opportunities to do so.

My situation is not the norm, I realize that, however, if someone on the registry wants a better life they can create it. I will never reoffend and like most, I am not a threat to anyone but I do feel the sting of this label when meeting and creating new relationships. This is the only time I am reminded I am a registered Sex Offender other than the card I fill out every three months. I do feel for those that do not have opportunities to grow and live the life they want due to the restrictions placed on them. It is up to them to change their situation so they can have opportunities open up for them. Use the resources available and change your life.

You must rethink your life after prison and understand why the laws are the way they are. These laws will never protect anyone. The only way to change the recidivism rate is for an individual to have “Opportunities”…to live, to work, to create a New Normal and this will change the way they think and act. The laws are designed to control and oppress. If that is the intention, then why not keep everyone in prison if they are such a threat? Think about it, IF everyone on the street that is a Sex Offender is a danger to society why are they out there? That explains why the laws are of no use. Every SO out there is not a threat, so why are all on the registry? The worst offenders are still in prison and will never get out. Aren’t those the people that should be registered, the ones that are a threat?

All we can do is live our life, follow the rules that we have to, like any other rule in society, we all have rules to follow and don’t get so caught up in a label. Remember the laws are designed for those who would break them.