« Ohio completes its first execution since botched execution of another inmate late last year | Main | Notable GOP Senators talk up mens rea reform while FIRST STEP Act and SRCA languish in their chamber »

July 19, 2018

"Why Can’t We Redeem the Sex Offender?"

The title of this post is the title of this revised commentary appearing at The Crime Report.  Here are excerpts:

When large nonprofit organizations otherwise committed to making the American justice system less draconian hire people with violent criminal records, they send a strong message that justice-involved people change, and are capable of not only reentry but success.

But these same organizations do not have anyone on the sex offender registry on staff, regardless of qualifications or demonstrated rehabilitation.

This is unsurprising, yet tragic.  When most people think of “sex offenders,” they imagine repulsive and heinous crimes against very young children.  And in 2005, a Gallup poll suggested that Americans feared terrorists less than sex offenders.

In reality, the phrase “sex offender” describes any person convicted under a statute that requires sex offender registration, which lasts anywhere from 10 years to natural life, depending on the state and the offense.  The registry includes everyone from the mentally ill, remorseful flasher to the sexually-motivated killer, as well as the older party in a high school sweetheart relationship to a dangerous child rapist.  There are almost one million Americans on sex offender registries, including people convicted for relatively minor sex crimes as children.

And what might sound like a heinous crime based on the name alone, like the production of child pornography, can describe what Edward Marrero faces prosecution for in federal court. Mr. Marrero admitted in court that he took sexual photos of his 17-year-old girlfriend when he was only 20 years old himself.  Marrero now faces 15-to-30 years in federal prison for photos of a relationship that would be legal virtually everywhere in the world.

It is important for directly impacted people to have a say in efforts intended to help them.  For example, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has pushed against employment discrimination against those with criminal records, and has more recently has hired highly qualified people who have committed serious crimes in their pasts.  But the ACLU appears to not have a single person on the registry as a part of any branch’s staff.

Is a close-in-age relationship between a young adult and a teenager morally worse than murder, kidnapping, or robbery?  What about teen sexting?  No, and the absolute dearth of otherwise-qualified sex offenders in criminal justice reform careers shows how far we have titled the scales from reality.

Criminal justice reform organizations should be able to ask these questions and answer them realistically, without putting too much credence in the byzantine and cruel state of American sex laws.  After all, we know better than anyone that the law is not always what is right.  Let us hire sex offenders when we believe in them.

July 19, 2018 at 11:38 AM | Permalink


There is, I believe a commonly held notion that pedophilia is "incurable." That may actually be true insofar as it is an innate attraction to underage persons. However, not all sex offenders, even child sex offenders, are pedophiles. I suspect that it's a pretty small fraction, actually.

The whole mess paints with a disgustingly broad brush and almost wholly without regard to actual risk.

It is a real triumph of the pearl-clutching mentality that politicians, the electorate, and a shameful number of criminal justice professionals bring to issues of criminal justice.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jul 19, 2018 12:47:03 PM

You may not say, sex offender, the way, you may not say, fever. There are 500 varieties and causes of each. There are 540 ways to love. So you must specify.

There is only one purpose to life. It is reproduction. There one way to love that fulfills that sole purpose, normal heterosexuality. The other 539 ways to love are more disabling than having several mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and blindness, but normal heterosexual interest. The latter person can have children, the sole purpose of life.

You may deny that homosexuals are different, but nature does not. If you lawyers insist on privileging, promoting, and empowering homosexuality, you must do the same for the other 538 ways to love.

Even that person with intellectual disability, cerebral palsy and blindness, knows a 17 year old female is an adult, and dating her at 20 is not a crime. The lawyer morons do not know that. Why would they want to imprison a normal person who has committed no crime? They are feminists, and seek to deter and to destroy the American family. Their prosecution is an opportunity to deter normal family formation. Why are they opposed to the American family? It competes in moral teaching and authority with their wholly owned subsidiary the big government. The lawyer profession destroyed the black family, and 90% of blacks now vote for the party of the lawyer, the Democratic Party.

The lawyer profession is coming after the white family, and is doing a good job of destroying it, with attacks from many directions. The white bastardy rate in the 2010 Census was 40%. Who knows what it will be in 2020.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 19, 2018 3:01:24 PM

Why couldn't we cure witches? We called upon them to repent before God. Didn't work. We tried to banish them from the community. Didn't work. We tried burning them at the stake. Didn't. In fact, the more witches we burned at the stake the more witches there seemed to be! Funny how that works...

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 19, 2018 4:54:39 PM

I remember reading that a bar was adjacent to a small neighborhood park.

The bar doesnt allow smoking, as is the trend these days. So they go outside and fire one up. Many take a whiz behing a tree etc. Those that got caught were prosecuted and ended up on the sex offender register. Via the charge and not within a 1000 ft of a park, but within it.

Doesnt do a thing for the general public. Those that find out, think its ridiculous as well.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jul 19, 2018 7:33:57 PM

Why couldn't we cure witches? We called upon them to repent before God. Didn't work. We tried to banish them from the community. Didn't work. We tried burning them at the stake. Didn't. In fact, the more witches we burned at the stake the more witches there seemed to be! Funny how that works...

This is the correct analogy, imho.

Posted by: Guy Hamilton-Smith | Jul 20, 2018 9:10:12 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB