Thursday, April 25, 2013

truth and lies...and wild-eyed guesses

I'm not sure what it says about me when someone working for the rights of sex offenders makes me mad. I'm glad Janice Bellucci is working on behalf of the registrants in our lives. Any improvement in their circumstances is welcome. But did she really say that sex offenders should go to prison, when it is abundantly clear that so many of them do NOT belong in prison?  First-time offenders? First-time non-violent offenders? Non-contact offenders?

Of course the anger I have for that attitude is nothing compared to the anger I have toward Gale Holland, the reporter who soaks nearly every paragraph in an oozing, sticky, putrid disgust for registrants.

When Bellucci compares social marginalizaion of sex offenders to the marginalization of European Jews before and during WWII, the reporter condescends:
No doubt this preposterous characterization is objectionable. Sex offenders are shunned for their conduct, not their status. And their conduct is often unspeakable.
"Often unspeakable." Why unspeakable? I'm afraid this reporter found it unspeakable because she herself has no idea what the conduct was that landed these people in prison and on the registry. Nor did she bother to do the research to find out. She blithely labels the idea that registrants are marginalized as preposterous, even though her article clearly describes that marginalization:
But even a state advisory board acknowledges that post-release restrictions on sex offenders have gone too far. In an August 2011 report, the California Sex Offender Management Board said that one-third of the state's registered sex offenders are homeless, partly because of the housing limits.
When Bellucci points out that registrants are "like everybody else," the reporter knows better.
Really? I don't think so. Some undoubtedly made mistakes, but others are hardened offenders whom law enforcement would do well to track and monitor. 
Again, how many on the registry made mistakes and how many are hardened offenders? Evidently those numbers mean nothing because this reporter doesn't bother trying to answer those questions.

Holland's example of the hardened offender law enforcement would do well to track and monitor?

Just this week, Jerome Anthony Rogers, 58, a registered sex offender, was arrested on suspicion of the home-invasion killing of an elderly San Bernardino woman. Rogers' previous conviction was for sodomizing a child under age 14.
This was a man who was on the registry! Tracked. Monitored. And yet he may have committed an even more terrible crime than his original sex offense. Murder--not a sex crime. Why did the registry not prevent this?

Holland wraps up her skeptical take on Bellucci's cause:
But we've all heard of the priests, Boy Scout leaders and teachers who molested multiple children before finally getting caught. 
Yep. We've all heard about the priests, Boy Scout leaders and teachers. We've heard about them so frequently that some people don't even question whether these categories of people are more or less likely to be sex offenders than other categories. Holland is so certain her perception is correct that she doesn't hesitate to smear all three categories in a single sentence.
The state corrections department acknowledges it can say with only 75% accuracy who is likely to commit a sex offense again, although it hopes to increase the odds with better assessments.
Seventy-five percent accuracy? I flat-out don't  believe that. Neither should you.

No comments: