Monday, November 2, 2009

Women Against the Registry

About WAR

The registry, in its original intent, while noble, has always been of dubious value.

Terrible tragedies drove helpless parents to look to the government for a solution that needed to remain with the individual. The government, in its fumbling way, took steps that are ill conceived and failed to consider whether the steps would solve, let alone address the problem.

The people cried out in empathy for the loss of some few. In some cases a loss that could have been prevented had there been a greater emphasis on education and awareness. The government answered with the registry.

The people responded to hyperbole marketed by some few who knew the facts and refused to speak truth. Legislators lacked the political courage to listen to the facts and created the registry.

The beliefs, based on the lies of the few who are making money from the registry, opposed to the facts, based on the truth, is;

* Myth: Sex offenders always escalate to a higher level of offense.
* Fact: Research shows that for many 'sex offenses', such as viewing pornography, the 'offender' never escalates.
* Myth: Sex offenders have a high recidivism rate.
* Fact: Among all classes of crime, except murder, persons convicted of a 'sex offense' have the lowest rate of recidivism (~6%)
* Myth: Sex offenders do not respond to treatment.
* Fact: For First Time Offenders, treatment is very successful, near 95%, as opposed to other classes of crime, such as drug offenses that have less than a 30% success rate for treatment.
* Myth: Sex offenders are strangers who target children.
* Fact: 90% of all victims of a sex offense know and trust the person who victimizes them. 95% of all sex offenses are committed by a First Time Offender who is not and would not be on any registry scheme short of registering every person in the United States as a potential sex offender. 80% of all offenses against children are committed in the home, school, or church by a close relative or trusted friend.
* Myth: Sex offenders are persons who have committed a serious offense such as rape, molestation, an murder of a victim.
* Fact: A large fraction of persons on the registry either had no victim, no victim contact, consensual sex (age difference less than 5 years), or no sexual component to the offense. The registry has children as young as 8 years old on it. Teens are on the registry for having consensual sex with other teens. Husbands in married relationships with children are on the registry because of the conception of that child. Teens are on the registry for 'sexting', at once being both victim and offender. Persons who had consensual sex with another person and one was barely over 18 and the other barely under 18, are on the registry 20 years after the fact and will be on the registry for life.
* Myth: While not perfect, the registry is an effective tool that lends some level of protection.
* Fact: The registry, since its first inception two decades ago, has had zero impact on the rate of offense or on the already low recidivism (~6%) for first time offenders. Methods such as treatment and education have been demonstrated, in studies, to reduce both the rate of offense and recidivism.

This must stop. We do not oppose a rational system that contains the truly dangerous, certified as such by qualified professionals. We do not condone crimes against children or adults.

Neither do we condone a system gone mad; District Attorneys who refuse to honestly investigate in favor of an easy conviction by plea bargain or judges who allow the accused to be railroaded through the system, or sentencing based on public opinion rather than rational and fair justice.

We especially do not condone the shredding of the Constitution in favor of the mass hysteria, driven by the politics of fear and hatred, that has swept America.

What You Can Do To Win:
*Join a Protest * Write Letters * Send Email * Gather Data * Research * Become an Activist * Become a Regional Leader * Donate

Our Mission: Nothing short of abolishing the registry will end this fight for us.

Our Plan is to end the myths, lies, hysteria, and hatred that drive the registry. Our goal is to replace the registry with facts, truth, reason, and to create a solution that will reduce the risk to all children of being the victim of a sex offense.

We must do this for two reasons. The first reason is that the registry has a detrimental impact on individuals and society far beyond its original intent. The original intent of Megan's Law was to alert the public to child predators, an idea that most would agree with. It has far exceeded the original intent as to who is on the registry. The far reaching effects include more people that just the registrant. It forces their families and innocent children to live under the onus of the labels and restrictions placed on them because they have a parent of the registry.

When a person is placed on the registry, they lose their ability to find gainful employment and support their family. Moving from place to place is common, the children are ostracized, normal family life becomes a matter of regulation by the government, and beyond the immediate family, relatives, friends, and associates become restricted in the relationship with the family.

The registry was never intended to have such far reaching unintended consequences. Those consequences are a result of ill conceived legislation. The facts are routinely ignored yet are readily available to any who will seek them. The registry is nothing more than a knee jerk reaction to hysteria driven by isolated high profile tragedies, fueled by the media and the legislators who pass laws without a thought of the collateral damage.

The second reason the registry must go is because it does not solve the problem. Over the past several decades, registries have spread across the nation. All 50 states and the territories of the United States have registries. Yet, over that same span of time there has been no impact on the rate of sex offense or the recidivism rate of sex offenders.

While organizations, politicians, and the media wave the banner of registration and label every person on the registry a child predator which is no longer a legitimate claim, nor is Megan's Law the law that they voted for, nothing changes. Individual, families, and children are no safer today than they were before the passage of the many versions of Jessica's Laws and Megan's Laws. The Adam Walsh Act merely compounds the danger of the false sense of security represented by the registry. The laws are actually making children less safe.

Never will any of the supporters of the registry tell the entire truth. To do so would force them to admit that the laws do not and can not work. They would then have to ask what does work. Listen carefully to those who support the registry and hear that they must speak in hyperbole to defend their position. If they were to speak in facts, truth, and directly to the issue, they would not be able to support their position.

Our mission is to abolish the registry because it does not work; it destroys the family unit and the lives of the innocent children of the person on the registry. It becomes a generational cancer on the families as the restrictions pass on to the grandparent, grandchild relationship.

Our strategy is to speak the truth, expose the facts, and bring reason to the debate. The public in order to be safe, they must recognize the flaws in these laws and help us fight for effective ways to keep our children and families safe. Safety zones, curfews, residency restrictions, lack of gainful employment, humiliation, intimidation are not ways that our children will be safe.