I read Chris Huntington’s “Mapping Sex Offenders” (First Person, April 26-May 3) with great interest and I wish to commend NUVO for the knowledgeable article. His points about sex offenders’ problems when released, both pro and con, were well-made.
Probation and parole rules and regulations are well-intentioned but in many cases are not conducive to Article I, Section 18 of the Indiana Constitution, which reads, “The Penal Code shall be founded on the policy of reformation, and not vindictive justice.” The sex offender registry and payments mandated while on parole and probation work against the ex-con who soon learns there’s no such thing as “Having paid his debt to society.”
The registry drastically limits locations where the sex offender can live and work.
Those without close family ties are forced to reside in apartments with many other ex-sex offenders, or as Huntington related, “under a bridge.” Thus they are unable to get away from the stigma and develop a meaningful new life in a better environment.
Decent jobs for ex-offenders are hard to come by, many not being available since they are within 1,000 feet of a school, day-care center or park, even when separated by as many of two major streets. A job not only is a requirement but a necessity to pay probation fees, weekly treatment sessions and occasional lie detector tests at $475 at crack. Failure to make payments can be construed as a violation of parole/probation and results in a return to prison. No wonder many with low-pay jobs are re-prisoned.
In at least three states in the past two years, vigilantes have killed five men listed on the sex offender registry, as well as setting fire to their habitats. There have been many incidences of neighbors reacting in a negative manner.
Why is the registry limited to sex offenders? I don’t want a drug dealer or a cat burglar next door. I certainly don’t want an arsonist who gets his kicks out of setting fires as my next-door neighbor.
There are cases where 18-year-old non-predators must register because they had consensual sex with their 16-year-old girlfriend. There is at least one case where a 19-year-old female by court order can not have contact with her year-old child by an underage father until that child reaches the age of 18.
Kudos to NUVO for not ignoring DOC problems as has The Star, whose most recent omission was no coverage of the past two weeks' riots at the Pendleton juvenile prison. Carole Keppler Indianapolis