Saturday, December 27, 2008

Laws Forcing Homelessness

I read an interesting article in the Washington Post today about the unintended consequence of various sex offender laws in the USA. The restrictions on where former sex offenders are allowed to live have become so restrictive that many are finding there is no area in which they can reside. Once an area that fits within the narrow range is located, so many former sex offenders are housed there that the local community launches into protests until the people are moved. Now, I'm sure the more heartless folk would say that these people brought this trouble on themselves and, of course, this is true. However, these people have done their time and deserve the opportunity to get their lives back on track and become contributing members of society again. To force these people into a situation where they can't work again or even live in a home isn't about justice... it's purely about vengence and cheap, nasty politics. 

Further, not only is this treatment inhumane, it undermines the whole alleged point of the law in the first place ie. the protection of children. Only an idiot would consider that someone who is forced into ongoing homelessness and unemployment poses less of a risk to children than someone who's done their time and is given the opportunity for redemption. Again, the more callous amongst us would probably say that this is a good reason to just put them in gaol and never let them out again. Well, I'm sure there are plenty of third world dictatorships that treat their citizens like this if you want to go there. Personally, I prefer to live in a democracy that values freedom and treats its citzens with compassion and fairness.


Anonymous said...

You make some good points, unfortunately vengence seems to be the rule of the day and not democracy.

Anonymous said...

A quote from the article:

"You've got a law that says you can't do it, and it's happening," said Robert Ambroselli, deputy director of adult parole operations. "I have a sex offender who lives in my neighborhood. I'm as upset about it as anybody is."

He should be ask how many other felons are living in his neighborhood but he doesn't know because there isn't a registry for their previous convinctions.
Then he could really be upset at how many felons are roaming in society.

Voice of Reason said...

Yes, that's a good point. Personally I'd find a register detailing people convicted of such things as drug dealing, drink driving, assault, fraud, stealing, burglary, shoplifting, dangerous driving etc of far more use to me. Funnily enough, there's not the push for these registers as they're not politically expedient.

Anonymous said...

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Voice of Reason said...

Thanks for the encouragement Betty. It's great to get the feedback. I look forward to reading more of your comments and opinions.

Curious Flame said...

It does make you wonder about why are there people on the registry still they can't have jobs or live normal lives. Although the crimes that done can't be repayed nor forgotten, they are still lurking around in our world with no point of being there except the chance to strike again.

That's one of things that makes me question the point of registry. Do we really need those people to be out there in our society? No one likes them and they are marked where they can't do much. They might as well stay in prison