4/05/2007

Under the bridge downtown

When do justified concerns about the safety of a community turn into hysterical mob-mentality? When sex offenders are involved.

CNN is reporting that a number of child molesters in Florida are being forced to live under a bridge because the state's strict regulations have left them with little other options. From the article:

"The Julia Tuttle Causeway, which links Miami to Miami Beach, offers no running water, no electricity and little protection from nasty weather. It's not an ideal solution, Department of Corrections Officials told CNN, but at least the state knows where the sex offenders are.

Nearly every day a state probation officer makes a predawn visit to the causeway. Those visits are part of the terms of the offenders' probation which mandates that they occupy a residence from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m."

Sex offenders are probably the most hated and feared people in the States today, as evidenced by the attitudes towards them when they attempt to reintegrate into society, the attention they get in the media and the laws that we allow our state and local governments to pass.

They are difficult to defend, but this situation is simply unacceptable. I am also opposed to Jessica's Law because I believe it punishes people beyond their jail time and probation, stigmatizes them for the rest of their lives and puts one category of crime way, way above all others.

We must never as a society let our instinctual reaction to a crime or type of criminal let us come in the way of our obligation to humane and fair treatment for all.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

On one hand, this is a pity, because there are many people on the sex offenders list who don't really belong there. I mean, peeping is pretty weird/gross/unnerving, but does it warrant expulsion from civil society? Not really.

On the other hand, I could give a flying fuck what happens to a child molester or a rapist. Better the public ostracize them than do what they really want/should do -- rip 'em limb from limb.

Phil

Anonymous said...

"When do justified concerns about the safety of a community turn into hysterical mob-mentality? When sex offenders are involved."

This is actually sort of bugging me. We put people to death for murder, but to me rape/molestation are so much worse than that. The victims aren't so lucky as to die, and they're caught in a nightmare for the whole of their lives. They're often irreparably scarred and tormented. It's living hell. It's really, really hard to feel bad for sexual predators. I mean, they need to be 'defended' just like anyone else, but it's damn hard to muster even a drop of sympathy for certain folks out there...

Phil

Jack said...

How do I say this? I agree with Phil. I am amazed that you actually don't agree with these laws. How many stories do we need to hear about the convicted child molester molesting or killing again? That's just insane.

And there is a rule, if you don't want to be stigmatized for life as a sex offender, don't rape, molest children, etc. That'd help.

Oh, another suggestion, let's just leave them in jail. I understand the inmate population really feels sympathy toward rapists.

Jack

Patrick Boyle said...

I am not advocating leniency towards child predators - if you want to impose stricter prison sentences or keep them in isolated treatment programs longer, I have no quarrel with that. Jessica's Law is unfair to the community too. Do either of you guys think that making sure molesters don't live within 20 miles of a school or park is going to keep them from committing the act again if they want to?

Murderers murder again once they get out of prison. Heroin addicts get back on smack. If people aren't ready to be let out of prison or treatment -- whatever their crime is -- then keep them in. But you can't carry the sentence (to the extent that it is; I understand the need for probation and parole, etc) throughout the rest of their existence.

People are living in third world conditions under bridges, here. It is nearly impossible to defend child predators, but this is the United States and somebody has to.