The concept of being able to pay a debt to society and for that to settle the books, and to then allow those people to return to society and contribute value again... is alien to America.
The problem starts with the lack of rehabilitation and not with the original incident. If a person is deprived of the hope of ever living a meaningful life again, then what incentive exists against their prior behaviour? There is no disincentive that works when a life has already been destroyed.
Regardless of what it was, drugs, sex, violence, theft, or simply going to a demonstration and being arrested when someone else kicks off and you are convicted by proximity... once you deprive people of a future, of hope, then you really start bringing out the worst in them when you could have brought out the best in them.
 - https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/whos-getting-rich-off-the...
I've even seen comments on here regarding immigration that simply said if someone has ever been arrested then they shouldn't be allowed into the USA. (No qualifying statements on recency or severity, or even acquittal.)
With regards to crime (including the mere accusation of sexual things) the sentiment of the USA runs counter to the aspiration and promise of social mobility of the USA.
Yes others profit from maintaining the status quo, but worse is that people are judged for life, based on a single incident in their past. And as the article points out, the zero tolerance amplifies the destructive nature of a society that judges.
Bad people deserve to go to prison, and therefore people in prison are all bad people. Why should any mercy by shown to bad people? Why should good people have to pay to help bad people? That sounds immoral.
By the same set of rules, good people deserve to be rich, so therefore rich people must be good.
It may not be correct, but it sure does seem to accurately describe how American culture works.
Perhaps it was that calvanism somehow seeping back in, but the fact that we got rid of that for at least 40 years means that it's possible we can get back there.
Not punish, destroy.
Would it make sense if a homeless child had been caught shoplifting for food in their teenage years and 30 years later had turned their life around and become a professional... does it still make sense?
And of refugees, does it make sense to offer foreign governments a mechanism to prevent emigration simply by arresting those who are likely to leave?
The lack of rehabilitation as a fundamental concept that underpins the treatment of people, is a life sentence to those people.
To enshrine in the process one of the myths of the American Dream in the form of potential for social mobility.
To judge based on the virtues of the individual, rather than to judge based on the legal domain from which the individual originates (you should know that different countries have different standards, is the USA an enforcer of every standard?).
Those are a few that spring to mind.
I see this similar to "tech interviews" where an individual is asked for arbitrary algorithm questions (that are deemed hard). The idea is to eliminate false positives, even if it comes at the expense of false negatives.
I disagree with the current US view on "criminal history", for the reasons you say, it also makes me scared because of false convictions, for example. I also don't trust the legal system of another country, and i agree each case to its own.
something that's illegal in a country could be considered a human right / freedom in the US. But i think i see the point.
It could be a sign of recklessness and an inability to mesh with society.
But, arguing over this is useless. The majority of the people who've been arrested are not the "best" people. They are usually from low socioeconomic backgrounds, i.e usually not as educated.
We can also ignore this point entirely. A large part of the American population sees criminals as life-criminals, i.e do it once and you'll do it every chance you get. It doesn't matter what the minority thinks on this issue. As long as the majority believes this is "right" it will prevail. As will the democratic process, for better or worse.
The topic that should be discussed, is how would one go about educating the public on this issue. Is it possible to go the route of the Scandinavian system?
We might be talking about 5 gifted people for every 1000 people with criminal history. But US might be optimizing for 20 gifted people outside of that group, even if it means losing 5.
Washington State, for example still has no private prisons. But it enacted one of the country's early "three strikes laws" back in the early 1990s. Private prison companies have been clamoring to get an opportunity to enter the state, but they had nothing to do with the tough laws that caused the existing public prisons to be at 140% capacity.
I think the most you can say is that private prisons (and public prison guard unions, which is probably a much bigger force) are slowing the retreat from 1980s/1990s retributive policies.
Those politicians who say "If I act on this I'll lose the next election" do so exactly because they know what the private prison industry can do to them.
Granted, some won't rehabilitate, and will be habitual reoffenders, but as the article shows, many are once off offenders or just made bad choices as a kid or young adult, and don't really deserve to be marked for life. I just wish there was more evidence of the judicial system at least trying to differentiate the two groups rather than place everyone in the same 'too hard' basket.
The guy was living with his Sister and looking for a job. But due to the charge no one would hire him. I remember him being shook up over being denied a janitor job at Bob Evans. I took him for a drink, and asked him what he was going to do next. He said he had to sell one way or the other. No place would hire him, he was volunteering on the side. He needed money, and selling provided that. Although he didn't want too anymore. His end goal was to get incarcerated again. As he said three square meals and a roof.
I also had a misdemeanor for a DUI. I was turned down from a number of jobs simply due to this. I had done my time, paid everything, and volunteered after wards. Despite this because I had a DUI I was a liable employee.
There seems to be a demonization almost of a lot of things. We're often afraid to give hand outs, or offer a helping hand. Survival of the fittest to an almost extreme. Rehabilitation would be great. But I know many people who don't even believe in giving second chances. One and done sort of thing.
Do we not provide rehabilitation because we don't want to, funds, whatever. Or because we don't think they can be rehabilitated?
I'll be honest with you, I think some people underestimate how terrible it is; You could have a history of beating up your spouse and be less likely to kill someone..
After that I won't let friends drive while intoxicated. I'll grab an uber, or find some other way. Make them stay with me etc.
Subjectively, thinking about films and TV involving prisoners, all the American ones I can think of (I'm certain there are exceptions, naturally) involve protagonists who are either out-right shown to be innocent or are very heavily implied to be.
OTOH, there are many British ones where the protagonist is definitely guilty, but nonetheless portrayed in a sympathetic or even positive light.
Though Scandinavia is an outlier even then: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/11/sweden-closes-...
I guess that in your binary pro/anti view of me this makes me pro-Scandinavian. I can think of worse things to be.
Where is your counter evidence to what the person you replied to just posted?
As a kid, when I was 8 years old, I played doctor with my neighbor, we we were both curious about each others differences and so we explored them. So, if I read this article, if this had been in the US, we could have been tried as sex offenders? How does this even make sense? Of course kids are curious about body differences between men and women.
And, when I read those stories, I really don't understand how a teenager could be convicted for having sex with a girl 2 or 3 years younger than her. I can't imagine how a girl sexting could be convicted for producing "Child Porn", that absolutely makes no sense.
And then the treatments describe are a form of abuse. I wouldn't want to be subject to a “penile plethysmograph”.
It's really scary how easily it is to pass Orwellian by invoking "Think of the Children" or "To prevent terrorists". As soon as those two things are uttered, people seem to lose all common sense.
Some girl and boy both at age 15 could be sexting each other. Pics are exchanged, and the pictures are removed from the phone and placed on a computer hard drive. Neither party wants the pics found, so the classic, "bury the pics 10 levels deep in a made up directory that looks like a legit folder hierarchy" is used. A week later, the pics are forgotten about.
Fast forward 5 years. The hard drive crashes. The once teen has a few sporadic backups, but they haven't been regular. They go to a data recovery business. "I'm mainly concerned with the pictures and a lot of the text documents. Try to salvage as many of those as possible. Everything else is whatever."
The business gets to work and applies a could of filters to list of recovered media. Among the media exists 10 or so pictures of a young teen. He received them when he was 15, and he forgot about them. He had no intention of ever looking at them again. Hell, he would have deleted them ages ago had he thought about it, but now he has a hell of a story to explain to the feds.
I don't think teens should be prosecuted as sex offenders for exchanging pics of themselves with other teens, but I think the heart of the matter is in the right place. I don't have a solution to magically fix everything, because there are always going to be implications. Just don't ruins a kid's life for the truly innocuous mistake of exploring sexuality with someone of the same age.
It's not. Not when you are trying to toss a teenager in prison for taking pictures of themselves.
It's also not if you consider the reasoning behind the laws. Is child porn illegal because it's disgusting, or because you can't create it without subjecting a child to an act they can't possibly consent to? Shouldn't it really be the latter, in which case you should really consider that in many (most?) places the laws regarding consent are different for teenagers.
The goal is not to fight so-called sex-crimes or terrorism. The goal is to
1. coerce people into behaving in an ideal way where sexuality is constrained and nothing happens
2. discriminate against minorities
using big words and supposed "victims" as tools and props.
To "coerce people into behaving in an ideal way where sexuality is constrained and nothing happens"
you just need some groups hell-bent on the protestant WASP ideals that "made america great". Then you
can also have some opportunists that play those cards because they make a living out of it (e.g. appealing
to a conservative audience), and so on.
So it is indeed "put through intentionally by people who're organized together".
Do they have "hidden evil plans" related to their bigger plan?
All the time.
Not all of them together, but groups here and there, conspire all the time (in the sense that doing something shady and unknown to the public to further their cause).
Like for example people were openly racist in the South in the sixties, but teams of "community leaders" and such could
also conspire to bring forward some hidden evil plan related to the cause (e.g. lynch someone or burn some crosses and beat up some militant blacks or pro-black people to put them "in their place"). They didn't do those things openly. But they did it for the same cause they were openly in favor of.
A similar "orchestrated evil plan" e.g. would be a "character assassination" of some person on the other ideological side. You get some dirt on them, have various friends in
the media push it, etc.
People don't have evil plans, only selfish ones.
"Sex-offender" registry is of course a total and complete abomination. But if you're going to write against it, maybe you owe it to yourself and your readers to not use the words of the enemy -- namely "predators".
There are no "predators". There may or may not be people who made a mistake earlier in life -- many of those mistakes would not even be frowned upon in many other parts of the world.
But to call people on a sex-offenders list "predators" is like calling everyone on a no-fly list "terrorists".
It's bigoted, it's despicable. And it's at least counter productive to use that word in an article that tries to fight the very principle of those lists.
Also, to continue on a related wording controversy that's really irritating, victims shouldn't be able to automatically call themselves "survivors". You're a survivor only if you narrowly escaped death. If your life was never at risk then you're not a survivor.
Unfortunately, you're wrong. While there might be far fewer actual predators than the registry supposes, there are indeed actual predators on the list. The problem is that the registry is abused by law enforcement and the public through misunderstanding and continued by lack of intellectual integrity. Why read any public case notes of convictions when all you need to know is that they're on the registry? It takes so much _time_ to actually find out _why_ someone's on the registry. It takes a lot of thinking to actually figure out "hey this person was simply exploring their sexuality and no harm was intended". Why spend time and thought on that when you can just assume the worst and let someone else worry about truth?
This is just as wrong as saying that everyone on the registry is a predator. Of course everyone isn't. But there absolutely are many violent rapists, pedophiles, etc on those registries. Plenty of people who made a mistake or got caught without a Romeo & Juliet law in their state, but also plenty of sexually violent predators.
Calling people who committed crimes of sexual nature in the past, predators, is the same as calling people who committed theft, rats or other epithets.
The purpose of this naming scheme is to de-humanize the person, so as to justify the inhuman treatments one wants to subject them to.
It's a technique as old as society. It never ends well.
In fact humans as a species have evolved to become the greatest predators on the planet.
There are absolutely predators out there. When your "mistake" is rape and you made that "mistake" repeatedly, that's a pretty good definition of a predator.
> many of those mistakes would not even be frowned upon in many other parts of the world.
So what. There are a great many despicable things that have no place in our society yet are permitted in the rest of the world.
Zero tolerance for kids!! They don't understand the damn /meaning/ of that word for god's sake!
We shall do that by ruining their lives!
There are some real predators out there, and I understand the threats that make something like a registry necessary. However it has become a tool of the plea-deal legal industry and a mechanism by which non-predatory individuals have had their lives ruined by the state.
Necessary? But why do sex-offenders registries only exist in (a small number of) English-speaking countries, and in no other ? Are there no sex crimes in other countries?
Or does it have something to do with Puritanism and a general fixation with sexuality in those countries?
A registry is not necessary, it's yet another manifestation of American racism  and cruelty.
> Sex offender registration does not exist outside of the English-speaking world, however. The United States is the only country with a registry that is publicly accessible; all other countries in the English-speaking world have sex offender registries only accessible by law enforcement.
> The study indicates that approximately 1 percent of African American males in the United States are registered sex offenders while white males are registered at approximately half that rate. The growth of sex offender registries reflects “a new form of punishment developed by the state that is specifically tailored to punishing sex,”
Yet, I have only met absolutely nice, intelligent, loving americans, and I've met many. I feel sorry for them. They deserve better.
Sure, in theory citizens of the "home of the brave" have it pretty good but between the atrocious healthcare and welfare systems, the insane criminal justice system, the mass surveillance, the militarised police force, the widespread influence of religious conservative groups, and everything else... I'm not so sure US citizens are any less victims of the US than anybody else.
In a lot of places in the US the Judges are elected. So never mind the politicians, the guy who just sentenced you to an absurd sentence did it because he needed the press for his campaign.
Besides, if you're only met "nice, intelligent, loving americans", you haven't spent much time in America, or you weren't the "wrong" ethnicity in your interactions with them.
If I had to pick one thing to fix first, it should be COMPLETELY ILLEGAL TO DISCLOSE MERE ACCUSATIONS (no media coverage, etc.). Disclosure, particularly for sexual crimes, has been shown to have just as much of a career-destroying and family-destroying effect as an actual conviction, and the “hehe, sorry, wrong guy, you are free to go” after the ordeal never undoes the damage. It is a shameful, garbage way for society to operate.
False positives are better than letting one slip through (see: MicroSoft hiring).
America is not a country of second chances. Look at sites like beenverified and mugshots -- their sole purpose in life is to shame those who have been arrested/convicted and allow employers/landlords to discriminate in ways that really skirts the FDCPA (beenverified isn't a CRA, so, there are no repercussions of reporting inaccurate information, nor are there ways of getting that information changed).
Hell, even AirBnB performs silent background checks on people who are renting homes -- even after presenting them the official copy of my clean (aside from a few speeding tickets and an accident from 1999) FBI background report, they still say that there are 'public records' that they are using and for the 'safety of the AirBnB platform,' they don't want my money.
We have a long way to go until this country can truly start to fix the 'prison' problem, but, it won't start until the country, as a whole, starts taking a different view of rehabilitation, corrections, and punishment.
In Norway (heck, in Scandinavia, and, is my impression, in most of North/Central Europe, too), there's strong focus on rehabilitation.
Inmates are encouraged to pursue education while incarcerated. If you want to enter a trade, there are workshops &c in the prisons where you can do your apprenticeship.
Also, in all but the (rare) cases where you are deemed to be a lasting danger to society, you are automatically eligible for parole after serving 2/3 of the sentence. This, combined with a maximum sentence of 21 years imprisonment, means that most offenders are released back into society after a maximum of 14 years behind bars.
During the latter part of your sentencing, you are progressively granted more and more freedom - for instance, halfway houses where you can go to work in the daytime but need to observe a curfew in evenings/nights. The idea, of course, being to prepare you for civilian life again.
Result? The recidivism rate is among the lowest in the world, at approx. 20% overall. (I didn't know that until I googled it while writing this comment.)
That being said, liberal me still feel somewhat less lenient towards paedophiles; I guess any parent does.
However, I don't think the solution is locking them up and throwing away the key; much better to provide counseling and treatment to bring their recidivism rate down as well. It is my firm conviction no society can imprison anyone for life just in case they should reoffend and still consider themselves civilized. Obviously, your mileage may vary.
It's a sickness. And we have (mental) hospitals for sick people. Problem solved, no leniency required.
It's a sensitive subject, but treating pedophilia as something that can be cured with medical intervention is rash.
This mindset is akin to treating homosexuality with shock therapy.
If like homosexuality it's not a mental illness then that means it is either a conscious decision to only be attracted to and target childrent (which I find unlikely) or it is natural occurence somewhere on the human sexual spectrum.
How do we reconcile that with the attitude most people seem to have, that paedophiles need to be severely punished for being what they are? Are they this way from birth like we consider homosexuals to be?
However, there are a couple of key differences (still IMHO!) which makes it difficult to compare the two.
Most notably, perhaps - we do not elect judges. Nor do we elect police chiefs. The latter are positions you apply for as you would any other; the former are appointed by a non-partisan committee.
Hence, there's no benefit for representatives of the judicial and executive to be seen as tough on crime; there's no gain to be had.
As for the legislative, there's a fairly broad consensus, the odd populist aside, that sentencing (mostly) is well matched to the needs of society - so there's no strong drive to enforce harsher punishment. (And believe me, we did discuss this ad nauseum and then some after the 2011 labour party youth camp terror attack!(0))
Surely, there's a component of punishment - after all, you want to send a message to others contemplating the same crime that you need to factor jail time into your calculations - but the main focus is to ensure you don't end up behind bars again, as that would be a net loss both to you, the future victims and society at large.
Prosecutors, however, are often elected, and you can imagine the incentive problems.
The problem is that the US system in particular is obsessed with punishment alone. Yes, sure, sometimes the punishment is justified as a learning experience but it's entirely based on the idea that punishment alone is sufficient to teach and act as a deterrent to others.
Considering mental health (especially for the poor) is fairly neglected as a public health issue in the US and the country has the highest incarceration rate in the "free world", I'm not sure there's a fix.
Oh, and paedophilia absolutely can be managed if you treat it as a mental health issue. Not to mention that most sexual abuse of minors isn't actually committed by paedophiles -- just like most rape cases aren't simply about very horny people who can't help themselves.
2nd highest in the world full stop is a starker figure (behind Seychelles which has a population <10k)
Also also this: http://imgur.com/a/SYIwN
Perhaps they hear of a few over-lenient sentences, or of someone getting away with it without a conviction, and in response vote to raise the severity for everyone?
> Well if the predilection towards pedophilia could
> be managed or "cured"
The solution to this problem does not involve changing a single policy, i.e. rehabilitate / be more lenient on practicing pedophiles, but a change in societal perspective as well as a more rational approach to age of consent laws in the US. After that, we are left with only problematic pedophiles, often repeat offenders, with whom it is a lot easier to make the decision to lock up as long as necessary for their safety and the safety of others. By removing uncertainty and doubt we can focus on real, abusive criminals and rehabilitation could truly be realized because of the large decrease in cases.
This isn't normal sexual exploration, but actual abuse.
some teenager sends a nude pic and get years in prison.
welcome to 'freedom'
i actually support the 'crackdown on sex crimes'... if it went after actual criminals!!!! politicians, CEOs, cops, bankers, all those people who routinely rape kids and get away with it.
but as usual, it just is a way for the rich to enslave the poor, extract money from them, abuse them, and discard them.
I'm fairly confident in declaring Trump guilty of that, this is not a court of law, it's an internet forum and the standards for both are different. In fact, the standards of proof for criminal law are different from those for civil law (see OJ), and I think it's a bit much to require the standard of proof for criminal law to apply to a forum discussion for someone who is on the record as stating the does exactly that which others claim he did to them.
I've personally been raped thusly on numerous occasions.
proof? and not by media assertion, please.
Hastert "cannot be prosecuted for sexual abuse because the statute of limitations has expired for his conduct decades earlier."
This also goes against the ethos of the article. Hastert apologized (although this cannot make up for heinous deeds) for his conduct and showed regret. If we believe for the sake of argument that he is truly sorrowful and wants to turn over a new leaf, who are you to deny him this?
The "rich" and "powerful" and "politicians, CEOs, cops, bankers, all those people who routinely rape kids and get away with it" are not the bogeyman you make them out to be. They are people with problems just like the rest of us. Some of them just have better lawyers.
While personally I am in favor of these types of registries (ideally with quite a few changes), the argument is that if you are placed on a lifetime offender list, you can be as sorrowful as you want, you can never turn over a new leaf. You effectively have a life sentence even if you never had to step foot inside a jail cell.
Thus, the first thing to change would be public perception about this issue.