The Sex Offender Registry: Public Safety or Witch Hunt?
by Dragonlover - July 10, 2016
Oh, and the state is kind enough to mail you a reminder of your civic duty to comply with the law. The letter states that you have between this date and this date to appear in person and verify your information. I have no problem with that. But, the envelope that the letter arrives in is clearly marked that it comes from the Megan’s Law Section of the state police department. Great. Which means that if anyone you live with has access to picking up your mail, they know that you are involved with the Sex Offender Registry in some way. And trust me, the people who see that will see you in a whole new and evil light. You will notice that they treat you differently. That is why if you live in a shared home, and you’re expecting that letter to arrive, you should try and be sure to be the first one to get to the mail. That way you can take your letter without anyone else seeing it. I have lived in many different places. And I have had to play the same game at every place. When that letter is due, make sure that I get to the mail first. A few years ago I was living at one place. The letter arrived a few days early. There was a knock on my room door. It was the guy who rented the room next to mine. He had mail in his hand. “Hey man. You got mail,” he says, handing me the letter. I could see his eyes focus on the return address. “State police huh? I know what that is. My cousin gets these every three months. So what? You rape some kid or what?” He then walks off. As I close the door, I think to myself, “Looks like its time for yet another move.”
I did some more research. It turns out that nowadays not only does all of your Sex Offender information appear on the state police website, but there are other sites run by vigilantes that post this information as well. Only, somehow (probably from sites where you pay the 99 cents to get information on people) they post ALL of your information, including your email address and phone number. That information does not appear on the state police website. They will even post the exact details of your crime. The idea behind these sites is definitely not public safety. It is to stir up trouble for you. But then, what about the state police site? Is it really designed with public safety in mind? Perhaps so, on a subliminal level. But really, it is designed to be punitive. When I was released from jail in April of 2004, I had no idea that life would be so difficult. My attempts at finding any type of employment were met with a firm “No.” Back then, employers had to go to a little bit of trouble to dig into your background. Forms had to be signed and filed. Fees had to be paid. But now, anyone, including employers, can find out everything about you with an investment of as little as one dollar. Yes, I was on a site the other night that, for 99 cents, I could find out anything about anyone. So, I paid my 99 cents and put in my name. ONLY my name. And boy was I surprised at what came up. My jail booking photo from 1999. Court documents. How much time I served, when and where. Previous addresses, including my childhood home. Previous phone numbers. Outstanding bills to credit card companies. I mean, this site had everything. And that was just one site. One site out of hundreds.
So now, being that even getting a fry cook job at McDonald’s is now impossible because even they do background checks now, I am on disability. My reason for filing for disability was for mental health reasons. The initial claim was denied. So I hired a well-known attorney to represent me in my appeal. One of the things the attorney asked me was if I had a criminal record, to which I said yes. He asked what the crime was, and I told him. He said that that would probably play in my favor at the appeal hearing. And it did. The whole process took 18 months, but I was finally awarded a decision from a judge in my favor. I now have the pleasure of living way below the poverty level for the rest of my days. I do however, have some of the best health benefits available to any American.
So, I pose the question again: is the Sex Offender Registration Law in place for public safety, or is it there for punitive reasons? You be the judge.