Monday, January 28, 2008

They have to live somewhere

This may be a wildly unpopular opinion, but I think sex offenders are people too. Once they've served their debt they should have a fighting chance at having a home and a way to make a living. Tonight the city of Lewisville city council voted to increase the distance a registered sex offender can live from places where children congregate from 500 feet to 1500 feet. This new ordinance effectively makes Lewisville a no mans land for sex offenders, with 90% of residential Lewisville now off limits.

Its true, to make the "list" of sex offenders, you must have been convicted of some pretty heinous crimes, but to be living in the community, you must have already spent your hard time in prison. Punishment dealt, punishment completed. Being on "the list" already means you have restrictions on where you can live and work. No one will rent to you or hire you as it is. Now, lets put ridiculous limits on the distance your home has to be from schools and daycares and you've effectively banished all sex offenders from the city limits. As more and more municipalities pass these ordinances, soon there will be no place left for a man to start over.

Now really, what is this extra 1000 feet going to do? Absolutely nothing. To the hardend child molester that was going to re-offend, he will re-offend, regardless of how many feet he is living from a school. All this ordinance does is further punish the ones that have already changed their ways. Society needs to make up their minds about sex offenders. If we truly believe that they are a continued threat to our children even after release, then we need to lock them up forever. At least in prison they will be afforded food, a job and a place to sleep; something that the current laws do not allow them. I, for one, think child molestation and rape should be a capitol offense, punishable by death. But currently, neither of these are the case. Under the current laws, once released, sex offenders should be returned to active contributing members of society. This is becomeing increasingly impossible. What are we trying to do exactly? Force all our sex offenders to move to Mexico? Herd them all together in communes, like the Indian reservations? If we are going to imprison them in society, we should just cut to the chase and keep them in prison.

The route we as a country are going down now in regards to sex offenders is simply inhumane.


Debra Kay said...

I hear what you are saying. But I think we need to do more follow up to make sure that they don't re-offend. It is (and I'm not defending the acts) more like an addiction than a crime of circumstance. We either need to commit to helping them, or keep them incarcerated, but not put them out in a lonely no-man's land that is guaranteed (in my opinion) to make them relapse.

For the repeat offenders, I would enact the death penalty. If someone isn't safe in society, why support them? But, I would make the rules clear up front (just like dog training) so that they full understand the consequences- XX number of offenses-death. It seems like to me that laws and sentencing evolves on a case by case basis, and it isn't fair or just to suddenly enact the death penalty without making it very clear up front.

Anonymous said...

Not all sex offenders do time. I know of two who only had to pay fines and did probation! No jail time!!! Don't always assume they've paid their dues.

Saint Lover said...

I have one word:


Debra Kay said...

Alright Rach, where are you? Come over and gaze upon Oliver. Be amazed and cheered by his beauty.

Cynthia Blue said...

I am with you... give them a fighting chance instead of putting them on the streets. I heard a news report on NPR that so many prior sex offenders are homeless now, that it is harder to track them when they are homeless than when they have somewhere to live.

I have no direct experience with sex offenders though, so perhaps my opinions is not as valid as others.