Written by Phoebe . . .
I occasionally write articles about things that are hitting me at the moment. I found that as I made my daily commute to work, so many things would enter my mind. I would literally hold my phone, hit the record button, and just talk out my thoughts. These thoughts eventually became an article. This was so therapeutic to me. 2020 is a year unlike any other. I am no longer making my commute and have spent more time inside my house in the last ten months than I have in the last 15 years!
Does that mean the things of the world aren’t bothering me? No. Does that mean I am any less annoyed with the absurd laws and treatment of people on the registry? Heck-to-the-NO! Does that mean I have no complaints about the registry? Absolutely not. I have no idea why my thoughts aren’t stirring me up, getting me fired up to write and convince you to talk actions. I have turned off the television far more than I used to. I am sick to death of the news – and I’m pretty sure they are highly responsible for the reasons I get so wound up. I just needed a break.
But as I sit here today thinking about the break I “needed,” I realize I can’t really afford to take that break. If we stop pushing for positive change, if we all stop to take breaks, the lawmakers will continue making unconstitutional laws. Those decisions usually have far more serious impacts than our lawmakers realize at the time they are clicking in their Yes /No votes before moving on to the next issue so they can close out their legislative session quickly.
Let’s be clear. Supporting changes to the laws to help registrants and their families is NOT a popular campaign strategy. It takes BOLDNESS to do what’s right rather than what gets you votes. It takes BOLDNESS to slow down and learn the impacts of the registry. It takes BOLDNESS to talk to colleagues and fellow lawmakers about taboo topics. It takes BOLDNESS to make common sense laws rather than quick-attention-getting laws.
What can you do right now, even a state of blah-ness like I am at the moment? At a time when your motivation has waned? At a time when you feel like all you can do is sit at home and wish 2020 away? I’m starting my list….
1. Find the names of your Senator and House of Representative.
Email them – frequently.
Tell them stories. Tell them what it is like to be on the Registry or a family member of the Registry. Tell them your constitutional rights are impacted. Tell them how this is double punishment (after serving time, after probation, and still on the registry). Tell them the length of time on the registry. Trust me – most have NO idea of these things.
2. Join NCRSOL. Read the newsletter. Read the articles.
3. Find 1 friend or family member to join NCRSOL and start reading the articles. This isn’t just about membership drive – it’s about educating people with real-life examples of how the laws impact us. We need people to stay current with the laws and the temperament of our legislators.
4. Be bold! Report situations to NCRSOL if you are being treated unfairly by employees, law enforcement, law makers, educators, etc. We need to know about situations that are happening with people if they seem outside the boundaries of enforcement. We need evidence of these situations.
You may be a registrant, but you are also a person. You deserve fair treatment. I will always, always, always say that if you are guilty of your charges, you must first focus on rehabilitation. You CANNOT REOFFEND. Period. Make sure you’re working through treatment programs and dealing with that first. Reoffending is the very issue any person in our society will latch on to. If even ONE person is a recidivist (reoffender), then the assumption is that the thousands of registrants must be also. That’s simply not the case. Our lawmakers don’t know the statistics. The public doesn’t know the statistics. The media doesn’t know the statistics. We do, and the recidivism rate is extremely low. But it’s all about PERCEPTION. The one reoffender WILL be published on the news and papers. It will blow up into a big stink. It will hurt every registrant and every family member by sheer perception of guilt. So there’s my sermon, people. DO. NOT. REOFFEND. EVER.
We must change the misconceptions about offenders. We must educate people. We must work towards fair treatment and reintegration into society. The few volunteer leaders of NCRSOL cannot do it alone. We need YOU. We have seen so much growth in this organization in just a few years, but we can’t know what’s happening if you don’t share your stories with us.
Be the change you wish to see in the world. Be a Change Agent. BE BOLD.