Reply To: Pokemon Go and sex offenders


I think we as advocates are making a molehill out of a mountain with this law. The only reason New York is in the news for this is because they don’t have the parole restrictions that other states have, such as no internet access at all for sex offender parolees without specific permission. While I was on parole, I was only allowed to access job sites at the unemployment office so this wouldn’t have been an issue. Fighting parole conditions should not even be considered as part of our agenda because parole IS a punishment in lieu of jail or prison. It is effectively part of an offender’s sentence. Parole conditions also have parolees of all crimes staying away from bars and not allowed to drink as well which makes no sense if alcohol wasn’t involved in the crime. Some parole conditions have a curfew. I actually got into an argument with my treatment provider when I told him I did my laundry at a 24 hour laundromat late at night. Since the laundromat also had a tanning salon, he said it could appear that I was “cruising” for sexual encounters. I argued that late at night, patrons likely wouldn’t have kids with them reducing contact with children. Regardless though, the fact is that parole is part of an offender’s sentence and is regarded as a punishment. The alternative is completing the sentence in incarceration.

What bothers me about this specific case though is the media headlines. Most of the headlines do not mention that the law applies only to parolees. They give the impression that all New York sex offenders are banned from playing Pokemon Go and that’s just false. It’s only the ones on parole and therefore subject to extra stringent provisions as part of their punishment. Only about 3,000 of the 30,000 sex offenders in New York are on parole, so any “sense of safety” that this is supposed to give the community is highly misplaced, especially when most other states restrict the entire internet.