Sunday, April 15, 2007

What to do about sex offenders

Prison sentences, no matter how lengthy, can't cure sexual predators. But neither has it been proved that castration works.
Virginia lawmakers who think castration is a simple solution to a complex problem should remember that even armless thieves can steal.

Lawmakers are worried, and rightly so, that if the worst of the worst -- serial rapists and violent child molesters -- are released into society they will again prey upon unsuspecting victims.

The challenge then is to find an acceptable remedy that protects the public from mentally defective criminals who can't keep from re-offending. Lawmakers thought they had this figured out with civil commitments. Rather than release sexually violent offenders after they've served out their sentence, those judged likely to re-offend are locked away on civil confinements.

But this tidy solution has two major glitches. First, civil commitments can't go on indefinitely, as treatment and rehabilitation are still the goals. Second, the cost is steep. Sen. Emmett Hanger told The Washington Post that the program will soon cost $50 million a year.

Last year, lawmakers began searching for more answers. They tip-toed around the topic of castration. This year Hanger wrote it into a bill that would have allowed sexually violent predators to opt for castration and reintegration into society rather than risk a lifetime lockup. By the time the Senate and the House got through amending the bill, it was boiled down to a directive that the attorney general study the feasibility of using physical castration as a treatment option.

Gov. Tim Kaine struck the term "physical castration" and broadened the study to look at a "full range of treatment options." Kaine reasoned that the "bill was overly prescriptive of matters best left to the professionals in our state mental health agency."

The Senate agreed; the House didn't. This doesn't mean, though, that the castration debate is over. Kaine is asking his top mental health officials to review options for sex offender treatment, and lawmakers will surely revisit it next year.

Hanger believes that giving offenders the option of castration would be more humane than locking them away for life, and it would cost Virginia far less money.

However, the question remains as to whether castration would prevent violent offenders from committing other crimes. It has yet to be proved that either surgical or chemical castration is effective.

The governor and lawmakers would do well to use the next few months to call together experts in sexual disorders and mental health to explore all options rather than to assume castration provides an answer.

1 comment:

mojekearthe said...

It is obvious. Nobody wants sex offenders to live in their neighborhoods, or even their cities. I'm a parent, and I would fight tooth and nail to prevent sex offenders from living anywhere that children may live.

Unfortunately, these reprobates have rights. If they are not in prison, they will probably get the ACLU to sue the city and we will have to spend thousands of dollars defending the restrictions.

In addition, castration only provides for a partial solution. In addition, it seems to be more of a societal demand rather than one based on proven results of not offending in the first place. The only two surefire methods of preventing more crimes are lifetime incarceration and execution, which so far are only reserved for the worst of the worst, like John Couey.

Therefore, the ONLY practical thing to do is to create an amendment to the US Constitution, creating sex offender colonies to restrict where the monsters live in the first place. How to do this?

The first thing that needs to be done is to create an outline of such an amendment. I am in the process of doing that, taking care that I fight my internal hatred of these monsters and use as neutral term as possible. To that end, I call these pervo monster sicko bastards REGISTRANTS.

Next, I looked at the process for how an amendment is created. Here is the process:

Under Article V, there are two ways to propose amendments to the Constitution and two ways to ratify them.

To propose an amendment

1. Two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to propose an amendment, or
2. Two-thirds of the state legislatures ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments.

To ratify an amendment

1. Three-fourths of the state legislatures approve it, or
2. Ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states approve it.

I would submit that the state legislature route would probably be more effective, but the congressional method can be tried first. It can effectively be used as a litmus test for voting, i.e., if someone doesn't want to vote for proposing the amendment in congress, their 2008 opponent can have a field day in saying that the incumbent protects sex offenders at the expense of children's safety, etc.

Such an amendment would solve many problems. First of all, the registry would not exist in its current form. Parents don't have to worry where the monsters live, as they all would, by law, have to live in the colony. This also eliminates the need for GPS, as the monsters would be restricted to the colony in the first place. No worries about monsters stalking your children's school or favorite park, or trolling on the Internet.

Next, registrants (I'm getting into my neutral mode here) would constitutionally have to be subjected to non-court ordered search of their premises within the zone. In addition, all their mail and phone calls would constitutionally be authorized to be monitored for illicit activities. Internet usage would also be strictly regulated, with all file storage for every computer actually done at the server-level. In addition, emails would be assigned by the administration, no Instant messaging or accessing MySpace or other children sites allowed, and all keystrokes and sites visited will be recorded 100%. All costs for such usage would be borne out by the offender, incidentally.

All registrants would be required to work, with their paychecks being handled by the administrators. Deductions for medical, rent, all services, and everything else would be done automatically, and any credit the registrant have be used for discretionary income ONLY from the colony store. Also, EVERY registrant will be required to go through treatment appropriate to his crime, and be certified as cured; otherwise, he can be subject to a felony charge and returned to prison.

Now, please keep in mind one thing: The sex offender colony is NOT...repeat...NOT a replacement for tough, appropriately long, non-paroleable sentencing guidelines in the first place! THAT IS PARAMOUNT. The colony would exist because society cannot handle the large amounts of offenders in their neighborhoods, with the inherent terror parents have with the knowledge that offenders are around their children. Therefore, the colony is SPECIFICALLY for offenders to spend their entire registration periods in a constitutionally-approved manner, eliminating the need for registries as they exist now.

Keep in mind, many offenders also are able to leave the registry for certain crimes after a specified amount of time has passed. Therefore, once a registrant's time period has expired, he can petition the administration to be relieved of the duty to register and live in the SORERA zone. A panel of professionals, law enforcement individuals, and the offender's victim representatives, will go over the request. If they feel the offender is ready to join society, then he can leave the zone and live anywhere he wants, although he will have to permanently register with law enforcement wherever he goes for the rest of his life. Bear in mind, also, that any registrant who has to register for life will NEVER get the opportunity to leave the zone. Only the most benign of the registrants will ever be allowed to leave.