I recently came across a thread full of fear-mongering and good old-fashioned American intolerance about how many sex offenders were on Gaia “just waiting to pounce”, with responses like “Well that’s an absolutely fucking horrifying thought”, “Oh my gosh, I bet so many” and “I bet many are on here so warning about putting your pics up”. (These were actual quotes.
In other threads on the subject, I found people making offhanded comments about how people they’ve never met they should never get out of jail or “deserve to be castrated”. Their attitudes display a lack of faith in the legal system and the possibility of redemption in general, spitting in the eye of the Christian society the majority of them are likely a part of, and a general lack of knowledge about how the law actually works, or what kinds of things can get someone put on the registry.
Normally when someone commits a crime, they go to jail/prison and ‘repay their debt to society’, with the length of their sentence being appropriate to the crime they commit, and then released once their ‘debt’ is considered fulfilled so that they can become a ‘functional member of society’. The sex offender registry in general displays a lack of faith in that system, basically saying ‘you’re debt is not repaid’ even though they served their sentence.
The law stigmatizes individuals and makes it near-impossible to secure employment and housing, denying those on the List the ability to become a ‘functional member of society’, which in turn creates increased recidivism out of antagonism or apathy. There is no registration for murderers, drug-dealers or car thieves, but we brand sex offenders as pariahs, and whip ourselves into a frenzy whenever one moves in near us.
The website is a potential hit-list for vigilante yahoos who feel justified in doing harm to those people (and often their loved ones) because of their own views of what their punishment ‘should be’ .Every person with even a misdemeanor sex offense must pass an evaluation given by no fewer than three state-certified psychologists in order to even be released from custody. Through this process, the actual ‘sickos’ out there are interred in the Sexually Violent Predator program, which places an indeterminate Life Sentence on them that virtually guarantees that they’ll never see the light of day again, which is itself an atrocity in and of itself.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that giving someone an involuntary, indefinite commitment isn’t a life sentence under another name because the “patient” is “permitted immediate release upon a showing that the individual is no longer dangerous or mentally impaired,” but also that the state isn’t required to provide treatment that might help eliminate the danger! The law is fundamentally illegal, violating the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, precludes Freedom of Association, and in that it is retroactive, punishing people that have committed crimes (and served out sentences) before Megan’s Law was passed in 1996.
It’s also extremely expensive, costing billions of dollars of tax-payers’ money annually according to a federally financed study in New Jersey, which concluded that the growing costs of the program “might not be justifiable”.Loudmouth supporters of Megan’s Law screech loudly about how it punishes ‘sickos’ and ‘pwotects the chiwdwens’, but it isridiculously easy to get on the list due to the overreaching definition of what qualifies as a ‘sex offense’, such as being seen naked in your own house through a window, having sex in your car with your (adult) spouse, public urination, or having consensual sex as a teen if the partner is two years younger. Extreme cases of this can be found when teens are punished for production of child pornography by sexting pics of themselves, or the story of Julie Amero.