America’s shame: our treatment of sex offenders who have served their sentences

America’s criminal justice system consists of arrest, indictment, trial, and sentence. After serving out the sentence, the offender goes back to society with another chance. Unless that is, he was convicted of a sex offense, anything from violent rape to “sexting” a nude photo.

Sex offenders can never finish paying their debt to society, in spite of the fact that recidivism rates for sex offenders, especially for child molesters, are far lower than for other convicted felons. After serving their sentence they face crushing restrictions on where they may live–as of 2007, some 27 states and hundreds of municipalities had enacted laws that bar sex offenders from residing within up to a half mile of schools, parks, playgrounds and day care centers. Their homes are listed on the internet, and some even are subjected to humiliating signs like the one shown here. This even though the vast majority of sex offences are against relatives or friends, not strangers.

Besides the residency restrictions, sex offenders find it all but impossible to ever find gainful employment. It’s impossible to get a job with any employer that’s  big enough to have a human relations department, because once they have—easily—checked the national registry of sex offenders the answer is no.

Jack Marshall’s EthicsAlarms.com treats this issue, along with the larger issue of treatment of prisoners in general, in his blog entitled America’s Untouchables. I recommend it.

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5 Responses to “America’s shame: our treatment of sex offenders who have served their sentences”

  1. Tom Stern Says:

    Here here!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for speaking the truth.
    We are a puritan and repressive society that is so conflicted about sex, that shaming others is one way we distract ourselves from our own feelings of guilt. Sex crimes are a terrible and very personal, damaging violation, but everyone deserves a second chance!!!!

  2. Ethics Bob Says:

    I agree totally. In addition America’s general attitude toward law enforcement is reflexive and counterproductive, as well as unethical. We lock up for long times people who haven’t hurt anybody and who represent no danger to society. They’re held under horrible conditions that train many of them to become a danger to society. At the same time our drug laws, especially, are creating huge profits for violent criminals who are destroying civil society in Mexico (for one), and seriously diminishing it here..

  3. Comment of the Day: “America’s Untouchables” | Ethics Alarms Says:

    […] Among the many provocative, informative and heart-breaking comments to the Ethics Alarms post about the continued persecution of convicted sex offenders after they have completed their sentences is the following Comment of the Day by Peekachu (not to be confused with the Pokemon of the same name—different spelling). This is obviously an emotional topic for many, and I am somewhat surprised that there have not been any comments in defense of the increasingly restrictive limits placed on the Constitutional rights of sex offenders to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….perhaps because there is no defense.  I hope to explore this issue more thoroughly in the future, but in the meantime, I urge readers to visit the other comments to the original post, and also to read Ethics Bob Stone’s take on the topic. […]

  4. unforgiven Says:

    The land of the Injustice! And Freedom HA……..
    UN forgiven

    In this land that we call free there is a lot of corruption and injustice. They say we are innocent until proven guilty but in reality its the other way around your are guilty before you are innocent. They use reverse psychology! And if you are of the minority it is worst because you don’t have the means to hire a honest Lawyer you have to settle with Public Defenders better know as (Prison Directors),

    You see the court system here in Florida is very corrupt. They have a tendency of not wanting to defend you in court they just like you to take pleas whether you are guilty or not. So they don’t have to prove your innocence. They actually let you rot in jail for a long time until they make you think that any thing they offer you sounds good. And once you take a plea it haunts you for the rest of your life. Like in my case where I was falsely accused of 3 sexual battery on a 17 year old girl where she accused me of forcefully raping her.

    Now before I get to what really happen that day I would advise any one in my situation or similar to never take a plea even if it takes forever. If you do you will regret it for the rest of your life!

    This all happen in February 1996 Where I invited a so called friend I had met 2 weeks prior. She gave me her number and I called and she came to play cards (spades). Just so you can know my house was like a hang out. Every body use to come and hang out so you see it was nothing out of the ordinary that girls and guys would come to see me. And on this particular day she came to play cards with me. My bad was that I knew she had a crush on me but I was in a relationship with another girl at the time. She was at my house for about 15 minutes in between that time she asks me to be her boy friend and I told her I could not so she started to cry and left my home. later about 20 minutes past and she came back with her mother and called me out and her mother said I had rapped her and that they where going to call the cops and I told them to go ahead I was not worried be cause I had not done nothing wrong.

    So when the cops came they ask me what happen. And I told them so they took me to headquarters and they told me if I tell them the truth they would let me go. So I told the same thing the truth but they still arrested me. I was at Metro West detention center for 9 months And 3 months in T.G.K. And in that time they had offered me 45 years in prison and if I take it to trial they would give much more so I told them lets take it to trial. After some months then they offered me 12 years in prison and threaten me again that they would give me more and I told that I did not do anything so I want to go to trial couple months past and they offered me 5 years and I told them no I want to go to trial.

    Now going on the 12 month of incarceration my brother got ill with a tumor in his head and at that time they also offered me credit time served one years probation and withhold of adjudication which they said to me that I would not be guilty of any crime in this case if I would accept it. And also that I would not come out in any web sites saying any thing about my case.

    But in reality they had lied to me I do show up in the sex offender web site. I have to report to the cops 4 times a year the cops come to my house every month to see that I live there and now they are making me move out of my home because they say that I live to close to a school. Now thee only thing that I see here is they create hate from your neighbors with out knowing you or what really happened in your case. Make you hate as well. Break up homes because now I can’t even be with my son for something I did not do! I have tried to call my public defender and he just hung up the phone on me. I also tried 2 years ago to contact the senator of Florida and he wrote back that he can’t help me. I have written to the president, to the governor, to A.C.L.U., to the innocent project and I also have tried to talk to a private attorney and they told me it’s too late because I accepted a plea and signed the paper. It’s just a merry go round.

    Now I am going to tell you about the findings that the head doctor of Miami Jackson rape treatment center said on my deposition. She stated that she can not testify beyond a reasonable doubt that she the so called victim had sex that day. The doctor that treated the alleged victim also stated that she had a super facial laceration in her perineum that could have been caused by her self using the toilet. The alleged victim said she was a virgin and the doctor said she was not. The alleged victim said that I forcefully held her down and raped her but there was no bruising on her arms or legs (no where) that would show that I had held her down and forcefully raped her. There where no ripped clothing showing that I forcefully removed any clothing. There was no saliva, no pubic hair. No D.N.A.! The so called victim said I had cunnilingus with her that I digital penetrated and that I penetrated her with my penis. Just think of this scene do you think that it’s possible to have cunnilingus with some one and hold her down at the same time? I think not even superman can do that trick. Also the authorities never dispatched crime scene to my home so there can be more evidence to back up what happened that day. The alleged victim could not describe how my room looks like nor has how my penis looked like.

    I just don’t know this world has gone to the dogs. There is no justice. Nobody that cares and nobody that will help. But you see thee only thing that keeps me going is God! And the hope that somebody will help me some day and get my life back on track and finally see justice! GOD BLESS EVERY BODY.

    • Ethics Bob Says:

      I’m very sorry about what happened to you. You’ve suffered two different injustices–convicted of a crime you didn’t commit, and unjust treatment as a convicted sex offender. It can test your character. I’m glad your faith is helping you get through it.

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