Registries are useless but politicians love them anyway

Used with permission

By MICHAEL HOBBES . . . The first time Damian Winters got evicted was in 2015. He was living with his wife and two sons in suburban Nashville when his probation officer called his landlord and informed him that Winters was a registered sex offender.

The previous year, when he was 24 years old, Winters had been arrested for downloading a three-minute porn clip. The file description said the girl in the video was 16; the prosecutor said she was 14. He was charged with attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and, because he had used file-sharing software to download the video, attempted distribution of child pornography.

Winters had no criminal record, no history of contact with children and no other illegal files on his computer. Facing an eight-year prison sentence, he had taken a plea deal that gave him six years’ probation and 15 years on Tennessee’s sex offender registry.

The day after his landlord found all this out, Winters found a letter on his porch giving him and his family 72 hours to move out. He ended up in one homeless shelter, his wife and sons in another.

He had no idea that it would be the last time he would ever live in a home. He has been sleeping in shelters, halfway houses and parked cars ever since. . . .

Winters is a member of an expanding and invisible American underclass. In 1994, when Congress passed the first sex offender registration law, the list was reserved for law enforcement officials and only applied to the most serious offenders. Since then, American lawmakers at every level have relentlessly increased its scope and severity.

The registry now includes more than 900,000 people, a population slightly greater than Vermont’s. At least 12 states require sex offender registration for public urination; five apply it to people charged with offenses related to sex work; 29 require it for consensual sex between teenagers. According to Human Rights Watch, people have been forced to spend decades on the registry for crimes they committed as young as 10 years old.

“When we first started talking about registering sex offenders it seemed like a good idea,” said Jill Levenson, a Barry University researcher and social worker who has published more than 100 articles about sexual abuse. “But now the net has widened. They’re for life, there’s no mechanism to come off and there’s more restrictions on employment, housing and travel.”

The conditions imposed on registered sex offenders have become significantly more draconian over time. More than 30 states now require registrants to live at least 1,000 feet away from schools, churches and other places children congregate — a requirement that renders up to 99% of homes and apartment buildings off-limits. Some states require registered offenders to submit to regular polygraph tests and random police inspections. Florida adds “sexual predator” to the front of registrants’ driver’s licenses. Louisiana doesn’t allow sex offenders to evacuate from their own homes before natural disasters.

Read Michael’s full piece here at the Huffington Post

3 thoughts on “Registries are useless but politicians love them anyway

  • Avatar
    July 31, 2019 at 10:01 pm
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    The gov database ” useless” is a massive distortion! Sure the sex offender database has some valid use, that is to act as a punishment. In effect being listed means the imposition of affirmative restraint. That politicians were able to convince folks otherwise merely exhibits just how good our elected professional liars are at their craft. That SCOTUS turned away attempts by citizens to contest or redress the use of ” was in prison for …a crime” by congressional Act displays the Rehnquist court’s majority true lack of reverence for constitutional discipline via prohibition on ex post facto law. By upholding the obvious wrong our leadership sent a virtue signal that the whole of the nation understood.
    We see the results today when cops are being splashed with water by citizens. No one will respect leadership that they know doesn’t really follow the rules.

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  • Avatar
    July 29, 2019 at 12:08 pm
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    Robin n company,
    Tim L here getting ready for FTR. Looking forward to putting the people’s databases on trial!
    Well one of them anyway, the one that opened Pandora’s electronic box for the two parties.
    The power of the database on full display used as the foundation for bars – electronic bars.
    Now to mention the other USES, gov uses, political security via benevolence.
    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/07/29/john-brennan-calls-dni-pick-john-ratcliffe-a-servile-trump-loyalist/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+breitbart+%28Breitbart+News%29

    I know this source is tilted right, even far right but none the less it is the plantation owners who will ultimately prevail in the issue. First Clapper, now Brennon – inevitable in a nation of Free men , women and children. We both know this goes to the top dog in the high court too! The bunch holding the big cache in Saratoga Springs, UT have to be laughing their assets off. The people in some jurisdictions are moving against facial recognition, you know Schumer peeps made that necessary given Chuckys bunch stood to profit tremendously from the private firms use of the FBIs database. Congress is buzzing about the need for ” backup paper ballots”. Lol.
    Go figure the state of MI has yet to move on mandamus, still 21 days left but we know. Stuck hard up against the surveillance saints and not the public.The

    On to FTR for this indentured soul!

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