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One Reason So Many Felons are Repeat Offenders and How to Fix It

December 15th, 2008

56% of violent felons are repeat offenders and 61% of all felons are repeat offenders, partially because we’ve given them no choice. Many criminals will find themselves out of prison, their time served, free men, and unable to find a job. Most companies will refuse to hire someone with a felony on their police record; this is especially true for violent felons. Left with no employment options, it is easy to imagine that these felons will return to crime. So what can we do about it?

The Law

Currently, when someone commits a crime society has decided it is necessary to punish them. For most felony offenses the punishment is isolation from the rest of society for a predetermined amount of time in a prison. This is fine by me. There are no surprises this way. Everyone knows that if they do X they will be punished with Y. This means no one should ever feel surprised by the punishment they receive.

We also have laws barring people from being prosecuted (punished) more than one for the same crime. These laws exist to keep criminals from being harassed with litigation by the government or a plaintiff unhappy with the outcome. Unfortunately these laws don’t deal with the entire problem, and when it should the supreme court sides on the side of injustice.

The Problem

The problem with these laws is that our definition of what constitutes a punishment is somewhat inaccurate. Through many court decisions it has been accepted providing criminal history to the public does not constitute an additional punishment. But when you are treated differently for the rest of your life, treated with contempt, it certainly feels like punishment to the person trying to turn their life around.

By making this information available they have provided information that should be a private matter - a debt owed and a debt paid. The court believes that the resulting inability to get a job is not additional punishment for their crime. However, given the primary job of these laws is to provide a known deterrent for committing the crime in the first place, perhaps people would be less likely to commit these crimes if they realized ahead of time that they would be almost entirely unemployable after the fact.

Additionally, there have been a number of complaints about Megan’s Law, the law requiring sex offenders to register, but the Supreme Court has decided that it doesn’t constitute double jeopardy.I’ve lived in a neighborhood that had a ex-sex-offender move in and I would say most people’s attitudes were decidedly negative. Their have been instances of sex offenders moving into new neighborhoods and having their homes vandalized. Police show up at their door whenever anything unusual goes on. They can never live a normal life. Of course you’ll say the victim can never live a normal life after their attack. If that’s really how you feel we should be working towards a system where we arrange for the criminal to be raped daily for a few years. An eye for an eye? Sorry, It’s a little dispassionate for me and current prisons are only barely better for sex offenders in their current state.

These types of laws represent neither the the spirit of the law nor the spirit of our justice system. If we believe in our justice system and we believe these offenders are ‘rehabilitated’ then why must they suffer the badge of that crime indefinitely? We have decided that juvenile records should be locked to these types of searches to forgive ‘youthful indiscretions’, kids making bad decisions. But, once you hit 18 that ability to make good decisions better be cranked up to 11 (It’s 1 more than 10) because now you get branded a felon for the rest of your life. I hear your complaints immediately, “Only people released on parole are supposedly rehabilitated the others aren’t”. I agree.

The Solution

The problem is the black and white nature of the law. We assign some arbitrary number of years to each felony and we call it even. The fact that things like sex offender registries and employment problems for ex felons exist means we don’t trust these people to not do it again. I think the answer is we stop telling people when they will be released.

We should assign the penalty of ‘life’ to all felonies with a parole hearing every 5 years. Implement more programs designed around reforming our criminals and when the parole board decides they are rehabilitated they are let out. No one can check their criminal background, make it illegal for employers to even ask the question. We will get rid of the sex registry - If the person is out on the streets it’s because the parole board decided they were no longer a threat to society. If a handful of people in a jury box are enough to decide if someone is guilty then a handful of people on a review panel are enough to decide if someone should go free, we an even make this a public service - just like jury duty. On a second offense, for the same crime,  we assign the penalty of life and allow parole hearings every 10 years while making their criminal record publicly available. Of course, for a third offense of the same crime it’s game over. Either life in prison or the death penalty in cases involving murder.

These simple steps will allow us to get felons in jobs where they hopefully won’t be tempted to return to whatever criminal pursuits they previously enjoyed. Also, society will have a way to determine if someone should be released just like they determine guilt. Some people may think my solution especially harsh, I think it is far kinder than the reality faced by reformed ex-convicts today. It has the compassion our current system lacks - the good judgement of the people - and will remove silly negotiations for plea bargaining - a practice with no concern for the public’s best interest… but that’s a separate post.


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Author: T.J. Seabrooks Categories: General Politics, Uncategorized Tags: ,
  1. December 15th, 2008 at 21:08 | #1

    The problem with the conclusion is that it is based on a series of false premises.

    In fact, the conclusions display a striking amount of ignorance about the subject matter.

    This is not bad, in and of, itself. Ignorance can be ended with education. However, stupidness, the kind I run into on a daily basis in the criminal justice system, is often fueled by the atomic power of denial: The stupid refuse to learn despite the option to do so.

    Recidivism is caused by a very simple math formula, as is most crime:

    Your Brain = Your Behavior.

    Healthy brain, healthy behavior. Unhealthy brain, unhealthy behavior.

    Thus, the solution is a diagnostic evaluation upon pretrial release screening, treatment as a condition of bond, and consideration for treatment at sentencing.

    The unfortunate side effect of this effective crime reduction method is . . . that it actually works. Most people would rather stick with preconceived nonsensical notions rather than admit they might be wrong. Science and reason rarely win against raw emotion.

  2. December 15th, 2008 at 21:32 | #2

    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com

    First, let me get this out. I am totally against ANY form of abuse to any human being. And I believe anyone who murders another human being should be in prison for the rest of their life (until they die). I do not believe in the death penalty for anyone. Also, I believe that once a person has been in and out of prison and has served their probation and parole, done everything required of them, and what was signed on the “contract” when they took the plea, none of this should be required of them, none of it. The state cannot tear up a contract like this, which they are basically doing, it’s unconstitutional. Many people, if they had known they would be faced with all this, they would have NOT taken a plea deal. And the courts are very aware of this and this is why they made it retroactive; thus violating ex-post facto laws! They should be allowed to get on with their life as if nothing happened. I’m not saying for it to be removed from their record, but, the crime should be removed from public view and background checks, they should not have any more restrictions, shaming, etc. If they commit another crime, then they face a lot more punishment, like everything else is treated.

    When are we going to move away from being “TOUGH ON CRIME” and move to being “SMART ON CRIME?” If you locked every single s*x offender up, at this moment, or killed every one of them, do you think the problem is over? No, more will follow.

    I’ve heard many people say “If these laws protect one child, then they are worth it!” And at the same time, if millions are tortured, it’s ok. Offenders are losing their homes, jobs, families, and children and cannot find new jobs or homes due to the insanity of these laws. The families are also made into outcasts for associating with or being related to an ex-offender and their own children are harassed and bullied at schools due to a family member being an ex-offender.

    I know these laws are a sensitive issue, but as all issues, they must be discussed and we must come up with a valid solution that will work. The laws, as they exist now, DO NOT WORK! People are always saying they cause unintended consequences. These laws have been on the books for years now, so nothing is unintended anymore. When are we going to set aside fear, hate, rage and anger and come up with a real solution? History has proven that these feelings NEVER get good laws passed but only create bad ones that punish and torture many people. These knee-jerk reactions to a slim number of high-profile crimes, like Adam Walsh and Jessica Lunsford, MUST STOP!

    When an ex-offender is forced to move from his/her home, thus having to sell it, cannot find another home within the law due to the residency “buffer” zones, get fired from their jobs due to being on the registry, cannot find a new job due to being on the registry, their husband/wife lose their jobs due to a significant other being on the registry, their children lose their friends and are harassed and bullied in school due to a family member being on the registry, thus destroying the children’s lives, ex-offenders are forced into homelessness and to live under bridges, harassed by police, neighbors and probation/parole officers, have to wear “I’m a s*x offender T-shirt” or have a neon green license plate on ALL their cars, have “s*x offender” on their drivers license and forced to renew their licenses every year, forced from shelters during tornadoes or hurricanes, cannot give blood at some places due to being discriminated against for being on the s*x offender registry, denied housing due to being on the registry, signs placed in their yards inviting harassment and ridicule from the neighbors, forced to move when the neighbors start picketing outside the ex-offenders home, the list is endless.

    I THINK THIS IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, BEYOND THE EXTREME!

  3. December 15th, 2008 at 21:38 | #3

    Stephen,
    The conclusion here is that this is one reason why recidivism occurs, not that it is the only reason. There are certainly a number of other issues that play a large part in this ranging from upbringing to chemical imbalances and further. Also, I agree that we need comprehensive diagnostics and required treatment as part of sentencing. I’m sorry if I didn’t make that clear.

  4. December 16th, 2008 at 13:58 | #5

    I don’t think this would work well. We’re already letting people go far ahead of their scheduled sentences because the system is too full. I don’t think that the penalty of not being able to get a job is a problem since a very high percentage of people commiting felonies know what they’re doing and accept the risk. Being an outcast for violence should be a good deterient against the crime. Perhaps in the case of felonies that we’re premeditated this system would work but so many criminals know the choice they’re making and its outcome but make that choice anyway.

    Same reason I refuse to give money to panhandlers, they have tons of resources available to help them find a job (might not be that great but still a paying job) and a place to eat and sleep etc. But they’re choosing not to use those resources because they’ll be stretched or they’re lazy.

    I don’t think we should give criminals a break on getting a job when they know the choice they’re making will end in disaster.

  5. December 16th, 2008 at 19:26 | #6

    I don’t think his idea was really to let them go early. I think the idea was to keep them longer. They must be reformed before they get out.

  6. December 16th, 2008 at 21:13 | #7

    I wouldn’t want to EVER let them out unless they were judged reformed by a jury, similar to the way in which they were convicted. Also, I’m not convinced that they all realize how bad the things will be after they have ‘repayed their debt to society’.

  7. Nicole
    April 15th, 2009 at 00:14 | #8

    I agree with the writer of the original post. Possibly because I am a convicted felon. I am currently thirty years old, however at 18 I rented a car in my aunts name and wrecked it. My aunt did not want to press charges, however the car had to be paid for so the rental company pressed charges. At 18 years old, I was an A student and a felon. I did not understand the consequences until I tried to get a job after completing 4 years in college. I had gotten a degree, paid my debt to the car company and successfully completed my parole. I haven’t been able to get a job with my degree for eight years. Now at thirty I am unable to completely care for myself. Fortunately I have a wonderful family that is understanding and unbiased. Others are not as fortunate and end up depressed, addicted to drugs and repeat offenders. It is definitely a problem and this was the first good answer I have heard in 12 years. Thanks

  8. Lee
    August 25th, 2009 at 14:28 | #9

    I believe the system is fed by angry people that, like me, can not stand the thought of someone harming a child in a sexual manner. It’s a horrific thought to try and process. I believe that most people can not process such a thought rationally. Like myself, they get very angry by the very thought of such a terrible act.I was convicted of 4th degree sexual contact because the detective decided to pump up the charges on me as high as he could because I wouldn’t admit to something I just didn’t do. I was caught pleasing myself in my own vehicle while driving down the road. A school bus pulled up beside me without me realizing until it was too late. I new I was up high enough so nobody would see me. However, I didn’t consider or anticipate a school bus.I was taking Viagra to help with some sexual problems between me and my fiance at the time, and was experiencing uncontrolable erections due to the viagra. The prosecutor threw the book at me because I wouldn’t admit to intentionally following around school buses to show myself to children. Now I am labeled a sex offender even though they didn’t require me to register. Trying to find a job is almost completely impossible. I had a good job but was laid off because of the recession. My former employer knows about the charges against me and knows that I am a good person that made a stupid mistake. But it seems to me that the law allows no consideration for cases such as mine. I am treated almost the same as if I had went out and raped a child. If I was truely a sex offender, I would have absolutely no incentive to reform. What’s even worse is the background check indicates the orignal pumped up charge the detective sought from the grand jury. Sexual assault. Tell me how this is fair to someone who didn’t even approach anyone sexually, much less touch them. Our country’s judicial system is founded on the principles of punishment, fairness, and compassion for those who are truely aware and remorseful of there mistake. It should not be left up to individual prosecutors who can not control there own emotions well enough to deliver a fair and unbiased indictment. I made a mistake. I didn’t sexually abuse anyone, but I made a mistake. Why should someone like me have to spend the rest of thier lives trying to overcome it. Lets face it, we all have masterbated at times in our lives. It’s a natural human thing to do when we need to fulfill our very human needs. The only real crime I commited was doing so in an inappropriate place. My car. I will soon be forced to give up and take to the streets to live because I can not find gainful employment, mainly because I am considered a sex offender. I hope this country wakes up some day and realizes that when laws are created based on hate for a particulair act or group of imoral people, they can have detrimental circumstances for the people who are victims of the inappropriate actions of disgruntled law enforcement officials.

  9. EA
    April 5th, 2010 at 23:35 | #10

    So ex-convicts are whining about not being able to find a job and registered pervs are scared about reprisals? Tough beans. They knew what they were doing before they committed the crime. They knew beforehand, the collateral consequences would be tremendous. They knew right from wrong, and they CHOSE to do WRONG. So they gotta live with it. To those who chose the RIGHT path, why should they have to make way for the wrongdoers? I won’t. And no ex-con is going to make me do a darn thing. Other than give him a quarter and tell him to call someone who gives a $%&*.

  10. June 1st, 2010 at 16:27 | #11

    I have been looking for work for 18mon no luck the government don’t care so I find my own way bottom line do whatever u gotta to live comfortable if that means a life of crime then so be that’s what the government want why else would they alienate felons show no love I been gave up that false hope of someones gonna give me a job that’s bullshit n everyone knows so fuckit

  11. James Thomas
    June 7th, 2010 at 07:15 | #12

    For all of you sub-humans that want to keep punishing someone that has done wrong, remeber to keep beating your children for spilling milk, and for not picking up their clothes. Keep beating them daily because that is how you are thinking when you are saying stupid stuff like who cares if a felon is black-balled from society. Just remember for eveyone that has their back to the wall, hungry, cold, alone with no other chance, I hope you and your family is the ones they take it out on, because you chose to be mean and sub-human. I bet you a christian, great forgiveness!

  12. Good going people
    July 23rd, 2010 at 20:21 | #13

    What in your mind happens to people when their family, job, house and social life are taken away. A decade or more after prison/jail and probation. After all the new laws get passed when these felons are trying to live a honest life. Do you really think when they are homeless, shamed and alone that they are going to be a benefit to society?
    These are the questions I ask when I see all the hyped up reports on sex offenders. I am a sex offender and can do whatever I want any day of the week. I reply once a year to a piece of mail and once every other year for a updated photo to help everyone feel safe and secure when they look online. The current safety you feel is completely up to me. I have no intention of “reoffending” or hurting anyone (and never have hurt anyone). So I wonder, am I rehabilitated, did I even have a problem? I’m basically free but remain on this sex offender registry. I know the treatment courses I went through never touched a single time on what I know was the reason for my crime, even when volunteering it and having it disregarded numerous times. Point being, laws will change good or bad for me and I will have to face it when it does. What happens to my wife, children, house, job.. I dont know. But I can tell you if I lose all of that for a law that changes when I have done nothing since my original and only crime in my life that I fully admitted to and did not hide. Do you think I will be a benefit then? Oppression has never lead to happy times with humans.

  13. Criminal Forever
    November 1st, 2010 at 23:02 | #14

    I’ve read through the responses on this subject and I want to say to some of them that anyone that makes a very serious mistake in their life, like sex offenses should really be dealt with in a one on one situation. Should the drunk urinating on a car be put in the same category as someone who victimizes a child? Of course not, but it happens all the time, especially by John Q. Public who decided long ago that a sex offender is a sex offender, and should be locked up for life. Do you really feel that way? would you feel that way if the offender was your child? If you do feel this way, then when sex offenders “drop off the grid” just remember that YOU gave them no choice. That is the only way some of them can survive. The restrictions on sex offenders is extremely negative, you don’t really want them rehabilitated, do you? You just want them gone. Well congratulations, your getting you’re wish, to survive, they are going underground. Now you don’t know where they are, do you?
    Have you ever stolen anything? Even if it was just a piece of candy, or a paper clip? Don’t you think you should be forced by everyone around you to cry, and regret it everyday for the rest of your life? Shouldn’t you be looked at, not as a person, but as a criminal for the rest of your life? Or would you wish that you would be forgiven at some point and allowed to let the past be the past, and be able to go on with your life? Be HONEST here! Have you ever sped in your car? Failed to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign? If so, I hope you think about your own criminal behavior every time you want to point your finger at anyone ever again! When you think about children now, do you also think about sex offenders and what they could be doing? Do you let your imagination run wild with all the possibilities of what an offender must be thinking when they see your child walking down the street? Congratulations! Your more perverted than the sex offender your afraid of! The fact of it is, most sex offenders never re-offend, your children are in more danger from your brother, or uncle than a known sex offender who has had the therapy to confront the problems and know what they need to do to never harm another person for the rest of their lives. You are more of a danger to them than a convicted sex offender.
    If you truly believe that you a better person, then you refuse to look at yourself in the true light of who you really are! Everyone makes mistakes. (But I would never act out sexually to anyone! You say?) Okay, then just what is YOUR VISE? There is always something that appeals to everyone! What illegal activity appeals to you! If you say nothing, then your a LIAR! Even the police will say that the only difference between a person convicted and someone who isn’t is, the person who hasn’t been convicted of something just hasn’t been caught yet! If your still not convinced that your just as dirty as any convict, then you tell me, where are all the sex offenders who have gone underground because of you?

  14. Montrail J
    November 4th, 2010 at 12:05 | #15

    @Stephen G. Cobb
    The problem with your theory is that you are to quick to blame the behavior instead of the cause of behavior. Everything that you present is based on pre-trial and during the actual trial. Which is the norm in the justice system. I think the most effective help should come after punishment. We should provide emotional support, positive programs, job training, and job placement. This would help the individuals express themselves, get a sense of belonging to something positive, help their self-esteem to see themselves as productive, and it’ll save the tax payers dollars. People like you have the big degrees but biased beliefs and thoughts that influence repeat offenders. I’m only in college and i have a better solution than most of you.

  15. kelli
    November 7th, 2010 at 14:29 | #16

    I think that everyone should get a second chance. Lets not just talk about crime, im sure that there were many times that every person (convict or non) has made a bad choice. everyone needs an opportunity to prove themselves. One day i will be one who will help these people. i do think that these people need closer monitoring, and maybe even work for a lesser pay but as time goes on, there productivity and honest behaviors can speak for themselves, and maybe they can work thier way up on this world. What does anyone have without any kind of hope in thier lives. I do understand sex offenders etc, people are very against them, and so am i; however, some were convicted and actually learned. everyone deserves a chance to prove themselve. If a drug abuser/user doesnt ever see any hope of being a valued citizen who can support thier family, then why should they even try tobe a law abiding citizen! for you people who are against it,that is fine, but i hope when they break into cars because they couldnt find a job, i sure hope its yours. are u all too dumb and close minded to realize, if given the chance, maybe these people can get better…and the end result, less crime for all of us. ONE DAY I WILL HELP THEM..i will give them opportunities, and a system will be set up to try to make this world a better place, and it will have some sort of numbered scale and if a person keeps messing up, then they have to start even further down on the totam pole and make even less, but hopefully a lot will seize the opportunity, and gain hope. immagine all thier loved ones who will be able to love and be with thier fathers or mothers because they now see hope, and are able to support them.

  16. Scarlet R
    November 27th, 2010 at 02:48 | #17

    I am felon. I was convicted of strong arm robbery for attempted purse snatching. The truth of the matter is I was incredibly drunk, leaving a bar, looking for a cab, and had no idea what I was doing. I was 20 years old, owned a business, had no reason to steal a purse. I never stole the purse but it was claimed I tried to by the plaintiffs and that’s all the evidence they needed to slap me with a felony and all the stigma that goes with it.

    The idea that all felons should be given “life” with 5 year parole board reviews is absurd. The punishment should fit the crime, and even each crime has its own caveats that should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    I think your criminal history should be treated like credit history. After 5 or 7 years of committing no crime, it should be wiped clean automatically. Same should go for sex offenders.

    It’s not fair to judge someone the rest of their lives for what may have been a temporary lapse of judgment or for someone who has committed to going straight and has demonstrated this through time.

  17. Robert C.
    January 17th, 2011 at 00:46 | #18

    WE have so many outrageous laws this is just the tip of the iceberg. No wonder we incarcerate more people than any other society. Great to be a part of the land of the free and home of the brave. Lets cut back on these laws and their requirements, but that will take some brave hearts to do it.
    These are sad facts that confront all sex offenders it would be nice if there were a way in which sex offenders can police themselves.
    A program that puts responsibility back into the lap of offenders but with that there should be reasonable time limits to having to register as a sex offender. The lowest level (level 1) offenders should be registering from 5 to 10 years, the level 2 from 10 to 15 years and the level 3 from 20 years to life. This way the offender has hope and encouragement to constantly improve and change towards acceptance. It’s true although an airplane is the safest form of travel the few times a crash does occur shocks everyone to the bone. Sex offenders after probation, mandated therapy and having to register as a sex offender rarely and I mean rarely! Rarely Re-offends. Considering there are over 900,000 sex offenders among us yet if one re-offends it make national news. Actually I’m surprised at the lack of re-offenses. Most sex charges are against those with no history and first time offenders. That’s why the list keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s a witch-hunt that is fed by more and more fear. Our media and politics feed into it with more and more hype and laws that act only to hurt and paralyze our society. The reason is in the name of security for our children but as Thomas Jefferson once said,” those that are willing to sacrifice freedom for the sake of security deserves neither.” Even Jesus concerning a female sex offender caught in the very act of adultery was told,” he who is without sin let him cast the first stone.” Now Jesus was the only one there without sin yet he forgave her and commanded her to go and sin no more. Are we greater than him? No, so we at least should follow his example. Our Constitution starts by saying “WE THE PEOPLE” not stating, “BY THE LAW!” The laws are to serve the people not the other way around!
    Take a sex offender’s side of the matter. They really have little incentives in society. At this point 43% of citizens don’t even pay taxes. As a sex offender that must register why should they decide to pay into a system that has socially castrated them? The other point is why shouldn’t they just elect to change their name and become as an illegal alien in their own country all they need to do is fill out a form from the IRS to get a non-resident ID number. Doing this on an IRS form in the box that asks for your SSN right in, “NOT REQUIRED BY LAW” Sheesh, my Mexican housekeeper owns two houses and isn’t even legally suppose to be here! Almost makes a guy want to move to Mexico and re-enter the USA as an illegal and take on the name of Jose Diaz or Hernandez. Wonder if a Flood of sex offenders did this already? It’s kind of ex-patrioting by putting someone under the radar. Is it legal? Well, isn’t it quite Un-American to register as a sex offender after you have served you time? I mean despite the ruling on it’s constitutionality it’s still unconstitutional. So, to register as a sex offender is an Un-American act.

  18. Bland Noanme
    February 24th, 2011 at 07:44 | #19

    If you have ever had a friend or family remember that everyone around him or her had given them every break, ever second chance…

    good job, place to live, every chance to get their lives back together.

    And presto, few minutes later they are out back on alcohol and other drugs, then soon after that back in jail…

    Very idealistic article but I’m just saying, talk to some people who have been through this with children, spouses, friends or other family members. They will say “my son/daughter/friend is just programmed to be that way, I gave them every chance”.

  19. blah
    May 1st, 2011 at 17:26 | #20

    wow such ignorance… ur telling me speeding in my car is as bad as sexually abusing a child?@Criminal Forever

  20. Marie
    May 8th, 2011 at 15:52 | #21

    I am a convicted Felon for a drug charge. I didnt asked to become addicted to drugs, I was mix up with the wrong people and was in denial that i had a problem with drugs. Is that my problem today NO!!!!!
    My problem is that I have changed my life around completly, I did my time, I paid my fines, I finished parole and I took it even farther by going to drug treatment. Now, my kids and me are living off of the welfair system hoping that one day I will be able to GET A JOB that pays more the 7.50 hour. Im also in college for Automovite Tech and I coming to find that my education isn’t going to get me any where because of my recored. If you dont call that PUNISHMENT then what the hell is it!!!!! I think there sould be some kind of way that we could prove are self to the courts or public to be able to have our recored not looked at when we go to get the jobs so I can live my dreams and make a better life for my children. Im only saying that about some crimes not them all.
    See if you are reading this think about some of the time in your life that if it was possible you would go back in time and change them. Well that is me!!!!!!!!!

  21. Shannon
    July 23rd, 2011 at 11:21 | #22

    I agree to an extent, I don’t think that sex offenders should ever be let out. They are a direct threat to the innocent and it has been proven that they have been unsuccesfull at rehabilitating sex offenders. I do however agree with everything else as my brother dealt some marijuana back when he was in his late teens and is still being punished by being unemployable here in his late twenties!

  22. LexiP
    September 19th, 2011 at 10:35 | #23

    I have recently felt the pain of felons and how there is no life after a felony. I know these people have made mistakes and im not talking about all of them like sex offenders and murderers,but the rest they are humans.Yeah they may have knew what they where doing or even knew the outcome, but exactly they made a mistake and mistakes can be learned from. I feel like many of them not being able to get a job is life punishment. This law deosn’t give them a chance to change i feel like if they meet all the requirements and are let out then why can’t they get a job if they barely spent anytime in jail or prison why can’t they take care of their families. Its like they can’t when for losing like being put on child support because their children’s mom or dad needs child care or some assistance from welfare but can’t get a job for their mistake they made. They go out and get an education or in some cases have an education but can’t put it to use. Aren’t yall tired of seeing these homeless people ex-felons, i mean we all have a brain give them a chance to use it the world could be a so much better place if these humans where giving back a chance. These people could be Lawyers Doctors ect. Im just saying all those people in the court rooms and White House and Employers ect. had to change at least one thing about themselves to be where they are. So, give them a chance nomore denying them a job or welfare if they have changed give them a chance to prove it to themselves their family, and most of all the man upstairs that knows what he or she is capable of anyway and the big sign of change is them getting up and looking for a job in the first place DUH!!!! Please let’s make this world a better place give these people a “CHANCE TO CHANGE”

  23. jaqueline johnasen
    October 9th, 2011 at 17:34 | #24

    I too USED TO BELIEVE

  24. jaqueline johnasen
    October 9th, 2011 at 17:46 | #25

    I used to believe ex-cons should be given many many chances to get their lives together… until I befriended a few of them… after years of knowing them I now realize there is no easy answer. When I had a lot I was very generous and helped in every way I could, hoping the ex-felons I knew would start a new life after years of doing repeat crimes- mostly thefts of $300 or more- I gave or paid for their shelter, got them jobs, gave good references, bought them new clothes many times, gave them rides to their new jobs, etc. etc. Well they would stay sober and clean a couple months or one did that for a few years, but when tough situations came up, one of them went out after years clean, and reverted to old behavior- stoled major appliances out of his friend’s house! And that was another friend trying to help him. In fact the other felon repeatedly stoled from the very man who rehired him over and over and gave him jobs and references. So, if a person is young and they make a mistake or a few mistakes, I believe in giving them a chance. but if someone is past 30 and they continue to break the law.. obviously this person is stuck in time because they don’t seem to learn or practice new behaviors! Either the person is brain damaged or had a damaged childhood at some point or is addicted to criminal behavior. I realize now it’s not my responsibility to be the do good-er.. apparently some people take that for weakness and just use your wanting to help as an excuse to steal from you or not respect your boundaries- THINK About this: If they don’t respect the laws or have enough courtesy to respect stranger’s boundaries, are they really capable or willing to respect their new bosses or friends boundaries and resist stealing from them? No, theyre more likely to go after friends stuff cause friends might not press charges.

  25. jaqueline johnasen
    October 9th, 2011 at 18:18 | #26

    Also, I learned a lot about the prison system after getting involved with trying to help… I learned the jail and prison system do a LOT to help repeat offenders. Believe me. There is a lot more help being offered to them by our tax dollars and i think this is a good thing that should continue. Most judges and many correctional workers actually do want people who commit crimes to turn their lives around and do well- It isn’t a matter of there being no shelter for them.. at least in major urban areas there are tons of sober houses and re-entry houses reformed convicts or sympathetic AA people set up for them where they can go without any money.. also the church and institutions like Faith Farm and Salvation army have places for people with no money and with criminal records WHO WANT TO CHANGE ENOUGH TO MAKE A COMMITMENT TO LIVE AT SUCH A PLACE FOR 9 months to a year. 9 months is how long it takes for a new life to form in his or her mother’s womb and it probably takes that long for a man (or woman) to get grounded and get a good healthy start back in society. Also, I don’t know if there are that many resources for women, but for men there really is a lot more help out for them then they will admit to. If someone you’re trying to help starts whining about how uncomfortable those places are it’s probably because your house or apartment is so comfortable they don’t want to leave and they just might try to take over it! Don’t let them fool you- are government hires tons of social workers, chaplains, and counselors to help these guys in jails and prisons.. most of us who pay homeowner’s taxes realize it’s to our benefit to have people contribute to our society in positive ways and not just keep taking and living parasitic lives- we want them to succeed! but there is a reason they get locked up— to protect us- the hardworking people who own cars and things like that- to protect us from guys who want to overpower us with their strength or wit and take those things from us without working for them.

  26. Ex-Convict
    November 1st, 2011 at 00:40 | #27

    There is no easy answer. Some crimes are unforgivable… only some. The other crimes need some sort of step-down after the conviction. Like a few have mentioned. Then, if the FIRST-TIME-Offender has proven his/her self then they are placed on 100% equal ground as the rest of the population. Like having their criminal history removed from all background checks, only to be viewed by Courts and Police under certain situations.

    Then, make penalties for repeat offenders much more harsh. I like the “Three strikes and you’re out!” rule-set.

    For those of you that mention “Sex Offenders” need to realize that term fits a very wide range of offenses!

    My sob story:
    I got busted for growing pot in my home almost 8 years ago. I have been able to find work but it has been only very low paying jobs with employers that abuse their position. My current employer for the past 5 years is known to hire mostly felons. We are desperate people willing to work hard with nowhere to go. I keep getting turned down for far better jobs only because of my record. I test higher then most others when applying for jobs and I have a better work history but my conviction trumps all unfortunately.

    An example, I went to a job fair in a nearby city. The employer wanted to hire 22 people. After three days of pre-applicant testing, there were 478 people that took the tests. I made it to the top of the test scores and even made it to a second interview with the employer. At the second meeting I was given a form to sign to give them permission to do a background check on me. It was the only thing that stood in my path to that job. I lost to that last obstacle. All because I committed a single crime in my lifetime.

  27. Alyssa
    November 22nd, 2011 at 01:46 | #28

    @Stephen G. Cobb
    one problem with your comment and just one is that if some one is stupid, truly stupid. they do not refuse to learn they cannot learn it is not within their natural capacity.. usually those who you term as stupid are from minority group who have less advantage then other from poverty neighborhoods and bad environments so are they a product of natural stupidity or a product of their environment?

  28. Alyssa
    November 22nd, 2011 at 01:50 | #29

    It costs ten million dollars to imprison one hundred offenders for 4 years. For one million dollars more all of those individuals could receive a full bachelor’s degree (researchbrief:education as crime prevention) Which would drop the recidivism rate to fifteen percent instead of sixty percent. So basically out of the hundred people only fifteen would be reincarcerated rather than sixty.if prisioners are educated when they get out the will be less likely to return to a life of crime and more likely to be a productive part of the United States. More likely to be an employed taxpayer rather then an unemployed lawbreaker. When an individual has been incarcerated for 5 years with a felony on their record then they cannot find a job that pays well. Repeat offenders might not want to return to criminal behavior because they know they will be punished but they have not been taught anything else so are left with little other option. Especially when you consider that most of the prison population has a low education it seems obvious that there is a link between education and criminal behavior.

  29. Frank
    December 31st, 2011 at 16:34 | #30

    When an ex-convict applies for a job, he has to inform his employer about his felony convictions. That’s a question on the application: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Moreover, many employers (the Federal Government, for one) will not hire an ex-con. If he’s had a security clearance in the past, he can no longer get cleared. The SEC will not give him a license. He can’t sell real estate, etc etc etc. The criminal justice system is grossly unfair. It punishes a person for the rest of his life. If he’s a sex offender, no matter how trivial, he has to register for the rest of his life. Most of the money budgeted for prisons goes to CO’s salaries and overtime. In California, prisons are the main industry. Prisons cells are filthy, food is horrible, and recreation is almost nil. It costs more to feed your dog, than an inmate.

  30. Frank
    December 31st, 2011 at 16:43 | #31

    Discriminating against an ex-con should be illegal. Employers don’t need to do a background check (other than drug testing) if you have a good resume, and a track record of achievement. That should be proprietary for police only.

  31. January 17th, 2012 at 06:16 | #32

    Can any one of you (felons) overturn the pain you caused your victims? The shame, loss of life, property or maximum future success? Conceptually the impact of your “so called mistakes,” especially for you with actual victims can be related to seeds of wild evergreen plants that readily grow each time it rains out in the forest. Stay with me…except for those of you whose victims were actively involved in the process of crime in the beginning; the rest of victims were not aware of your attack, which means the direct impact of pain felt would affect their unconscious processes. Do you know what this means? It means they do not have control over that memory formation, growth or devastation. As specialists, we try to help victims regulate control by increasing their conscious efforts over their unconscious processes to establish a balance; but some are so weak that chemicals/drugs are administered/used to help them in the coping process. Another important fact that you may not know is the role of their cognition: “woe unto that child, adult, elderly, woman or man if he/she is also a victim of strong moral principles; with beliefs in hard work, understanding limitations; if a christian who believes–do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Victims within this category find it hard to understand why weakness exist, why others can’t control themselves, question ‘why me?’ blame themselves and in the process profile a new belief system, which brings them into conflict with what they used to know as good, as not too strong to protect them when they needed it. This new conflict then becomes a seed of a wild evergreen plant that readily grows each time it rains out in the forest. Meaning, your victims use this new model of caution as a perspective lens to view every new thing, activity, event that come their way to assess their safety. In short, your behavior CHANGED THEIR LIVES. Penologists or those specialists who rate crime against pain caused to victims, consider the “forever-ness” involved or experience by victims; and the reason they try to pair the pain in situations they believe warrants it. Recidivism or repeated criminal acts are failed penological evaluation of punishment involved because of victims or families of victims involved in pardoning criminals, and reducing their punishment. Some Judges apply religious models in their evaluative assessment to make their convictions. This is an erroneous clinical intervention strategy because if the threshold is not felt by the culprit they come out feeling angrier than they were before. The hopelessness you all complain of is a result of well publicized acts of evil in our society via the media. Helping the public to remain aware and guard against their own safety. The face of punishment has two faces or sides: one side effectuate threat to others…saying this is what will happen to you if you dare to repeat this type of offense; and the other side is to punish both the criminal and the situation. Punishment was not intended for the victims but overtime, the growth/increase in the population of victims of all kinds increased the level of fear in our society which became the cloud of stigma you and I come to learn of as we read the stories of one another. You all know of the proverbs that say fire teaches the child to not play with it the second time….only when burnt once do they really understand it is dangerous. Why? Threshold recognition…..until you start earning wages before you realize the importance of spending purposefully. I believe in second chances, which violate the goal of penology or punishment. However; many theories of personality have taught us people do not change; they only change the type of adjustment they may make to the same situation, which mimics a change pattern. Because of this theory, their is need to monitor your ongoing adjustment to different situations that come your way in the future. I feel very sorry for those of you who were subjected to reproving because there are severe and dangerous criminals and violent sex offenders who remain uncaught; severely deranged bastards who are still undiagnosed for dangerous forms of mental illnesses we interact with in our day to day basis without notification. As a christian and a clinical specialist, I say to you “better for all who received reproving or those who were/are morally upright to receive a diagnosis so they can guard their behaviors; than those who remain fatal in our midst based on their wickedness to go in and seek evaluation–our babies and unborn children remain at risk of these dangerous mentally ill bastards!

  32. PINKY6700
    January 17th, 2012 at 17:07 | #33

    @MAGDALENE FREEMAN
    Let me start with i didn’t have a victim. I was a lost person that had a drug problem and didn’t hurt any one. I have changed my life around I have a couple years clean from all drugs that is including alcohol. I don’t have the desire to use any more and work a program of recovery. So that makes me such a bad person that i don’t have the right to live a good life or make one for my kids. I’m stuck working in fast food and other Shitty ass jobs because i made a mistake and got hooked on dope. I am a felon because i had drugs on me and i went to prison and did my time and have change my life round so you are saying what i don’t have that right. The only person I hurt was me. I didn’t beat on any one i didn’t rob and one and i never would have and never will so I’m the one that has to pay for the rest of my life right so think about that one before you go and con-dim all felons as shit people that have these victims because that isn’t the case in a felony’s oh ya and you the tax payer pays for the ones your talking about to live on welfare what you have to say about that??????????

  33. Cameron
    January 30th, 2012 at 00:07 | #34

    The first problem to solve is the wide ranging classification. “Felon” is so abstract now that, in some cases, merely its connotation is the worst thing about the person. For instance I was very close to being classified as a felon for riding my motorcycle without a helmet. I was in South Carolina where it is perfectly legal to do so. The kicker was that I was in the military at the time. It was at a very inopportune time, just after signing a page 13 and I was given an ultimatum. Either go to court-martial or be dishonorably discharged. The captain wanted to make aan example of me. He merely wanted it printed in the newsletter that I had gone to court-martial. What I later found out, is that if you are convicted of Article 92 (failure to obey a lawful order, ie. not wearing protective gear) at court-martial, it is a felony. Thankfully after they had their example, they wished to do me no harm and gave me a GOHC discharge with no felony conviction. Not sure what they had to do to accomplish that, but thats how it worked out.

    My point is this, the general manner in which all offenders are classified is going to be the first problem to over-come.

  34. brian
    January 30th, 2012 at 02:23 | #35

    felons dont stay on the record for ever. after 7 years they seal it. I FUCKING HATE FELONS GIVE THEM LIFE IN JAIL

  35. Tammy
    April 20th, 2012 at 02:23 | #36

    I agree that felons shouldn’t pay forever. Especially teens and young adults. How many people have made stupid choices in their teen years? What if it is your child stuck in this system? Do you really think teenagers fully understand what a felony means? Ask ten of them. I doubt you’ll find more than one that has a clue. Condemning people for life is just cruel. Laws need to be changed. Oh. That’s right. Felons can’t vote. They are practically voiceless politically. So it’s very easy for the self righteous and hysterical to continue crushing them.

    Do you realize the effect that this damnation is having on black communities? Considering minorities make up the vast majority of felony convictions, and then have no opportunities to move up in the world, it’s little wonder that the conditions of racial inequality in this country are not improving. Those who are poor, minorities, or those who lack education are convicted of more felonies. These laws are keeping these people down. It would be in America’s benefit to stop this madness.

    Sure, you can lock up the felons. Protect your pretty white children from all the blacks and the thugs and the pervs. Just wait until your little college kids get a nice hefty drug charge, or a D.U.I, or are accused of date rape. Then see if you think the laws are fair.

  36. Kateena Innis
    April 23rd, 2012 at 14:10 | #37

    You should consider citing the sources in which you obtained the information that you claim to be true. I am writing a research paper and would love to be able to use this information, however I am unable to because there is no way to prove that the information is valid.

  37. RG
    May 4th, 2012 at 11:50 | #38

    @EA
    That is not a nice thing to say but remember if we can forgive others our lives will be better also. It would mean less taxes and a boost for our economy.

  38. Katelyn G
    May 9th, 2012 at 18:48 | #39

    Hello, i was wondering if you would please email me because like Kateena Innis, i would love to use your article in my research paper, and also have a few questions for you. My email is katelyn.gramling@gmail.com. Thank you very much.

  39. Edyne
    May 22nd, 2012 at 21:38 | #40

    I am so sick of the witch hunts. People looking down on me because my husband is a sex offender he was high and urinated in the park. No kids around but cause some lady freaked out my husband is a life time registration on Megan’s law, courts case a kid could have seen him… Oh okay… No kids at the park. No where near us. It’s bull… That’s what it is. It makes me sick of this nation and glad in 3 years we leave for Japan. We will never come back to this place to me let the murderers get you witch hunters. My son died by the hands of his biological father in cold blood, he killed a neatly to term child when he stabbed me 7x 5 years ago… He is out of jail and he has a job, a life… Does not have to register… Since when is innocence held in higher reguard than life in this nation. I would love to see all you fake “Christian idealist” find out the truth your faith contains my faiths DNA and guess what… You will be judged and we will see your sins… I can’t wait. Cause half of you people are lying, hypocritical, John Walsh loving jack ***es. His son was killed by a murderer not a sec offender… How about he focus on murderers instead of his witch hunt.

    Glad to be leaving this nation of idiots. I would rather face a tsunami than you Americans. I am Japanese now!!

  40. June 5th, 2012 at 00:41 | #41

    Ass a felon this is the worst plan ever for petty drugs. 1/4 of a peace (a tiny crumb) O.C. And I’m a felon. Ya I learned my lesson it’s been 4yrs of hell. This conviction tore my family apart and not hearing replies back for good jobs that used to pay me a 1/3 more at age 25 I lose hope at times. At the same time I feel lucky that even though my family tore it tore in two and half are on my side. That was the beginning of my hope, then getting my self on track and saying fuck the system they aren’t as strong as me and god I brought an awesome girl, job, family, and so much grateattude that the system didn’t suck me in like it’s designed to do to drug offenders. They take a plea that is impossible cause relapse is part of recovery even though it doesn’t have to be. (FELON= one who committe’s forceful rape or murder) this is fak’d up to label me with a crumb a FELON. Free country my ass. REHABILATATION my ass it’s all about $$$$$$$$$$$$

  41. john
    June 18th, 2012 at 13:26 | #42

    Greta idea!

  42. jake
    July 6th, 2012 at 12:12 | #43

    Sadly, so many of you are ignorant when it comes to criminals. You have the blinders on that people don’t actually want to commit these crimes, they are forced into it by society. As a police officer in the ghetto of a major city, and having worked side by side with federal agencies, etc, I can tell you that you have no clue how the major majority of criminals minds work. I’d say that less than 1% of all the arrests I’ve made, the suspect was “sorry.” Most of the time, the response given was similar to “I don’t care, they just gonna let me back out and I’ll do it again. I don’t give a f&*^ about no one but me. I’m tryin to get mines.” That is the majority attitude of most convicted felons that go to prison. And of course, none of them are going to post on this website. The real problem with our society, is our LACK of punishment. The reasons criminal repeat their offense, is become our justice system lets them. So what, they go to jail. Free lodging, free food. United States crime rate is so high because so many liberals are so concerned with “criminal rights.” You know what I say? You CHOOSE to give up your rights when you CHOOSE to commit a felony. You break into someones house and steal, cut a hand off. You murder someone in cold blood, you are killed. If we served up a little old school justice to some of these people, we might see some results. I’ve arrested an 17yr old for stealing a car…it was his FOURTH offense and he never spent a day in jail. Guess what, he’s going to keep living a life of crime because he’s never punished, and it will only get more severe. I bet if they had cut off a finger for every car he’d stolen, he’d only have 1 missing finger. It’s their attitude that the punishment won’t be severe, so they couldn’t care less about it. For them, a few days in jail is worth committing the crime knowing they will be released. Most have no desire to get jobs, contribute to society, get an education, etc. They feel life should be handed to them. And sadly, our liberal government does too.

  43. Kenneth moore
    July 6th, 2012 at 15:08 | #44

    If you believe most felons commit crimes becasue that is the job they like, than I believe you are the police becasue you like to go racial profile in the ghetto. You are probably one the officers who throws drugs on blacks so they can be stamped with a felony. I bet if more officers were shot on routine racial profiling stops there would be less racial profiling, which would lead to less minorities with felonies.

  44. Punished For Life
    July 23rd, 2012 at 03:28 | #45

    @Magdalene Freeman, and anyone else who says sex offenders can’t be rehabilitated:

    I want you to read this story about a young man who just got screwed all of his life. You be the judge on whether he should have a second chance, stay the way he is, or just be put out of his misery:

    At the age of 6, a boy shows an aptitude for genius in the computer industry, and continues to excel in mathematics, science, and computer electronics, all self-taught and never had any formal education. In school, he isn’t challenged enough, so he doesn’t do any actual work except for tests, so he fails a lot of classes. By the age of 17, he drops out of high school in the second trimester of his senior year to go to job corps because he is behind by 17 out of 22 credits for graduation that year. Two weeks after entering job corps, he obtains a GED, then 3 months later his High school diploma via the HSD classes being offered; he graduates on time despite how far behind he is. At the end of that year, he obtains his driver’s license on his first try, and takes the ASVAB, and scores a 97, with a GT score of 124.

    He enlists in the Army as an Air Defense Systems Operator (the kind that actually setup, monitor, and maintain the air defense network for the Army). In his AIT, he slowly discovers he has a form of Sleap Apnea that cannot be treated (Central Sleap Apnea), and continues to fall alseep on duty. He is belittled, ridiculed, and even savagely beaten by his NCO’s for falling asleep against his will. On top of this, He gets a call from his girlfriends’ best friend that she is cheating on him, and thus slips into a depression and reignites his addiction to cigarettes, which he had quit the previous year. Despite this, he manages to learn his job so well, he practically aces every test and training exercise, but alas, he is removed from the military due to his condition at his first duty station in Osan, South Korea. He is awarded 50% disability, and goes back to live with his parents for support. He then applies for, and gets hired at a nearby Red Robin as a cook (his job corps trade), but is soon fired for falling asleep on the job and not keeping up with the $3,000/hr rate they work at.

    Depressed one summer night for his hopeless predicament, he goes out and hangs with a couple of people to try and bring his spirits up. They introduce him to a girl, whom she and the other guys say is 17 years old (and appears to be as well). The young man is 19 years old at this point, disabled, jobless, and living with his parents; he doesn’t think anything could get any worse. The girl propositions him to have sex with her, and the young man feels his hope coming back. All seems fine.

    The young man feeling his depression lifting and hope returning, finds a job working at a family-owned music retail store, and progresses from a simple retailer to an expert woodwinds consultant in very little time… now comes the horror.

    Two detectives walk into the store on a summer afternoon and ask for the young man by name. No sooner than he could identify himself was the young man tackled, cuffed, and dragged out of the music store like a wild animal. Formerly charged with “Rape of a child in the second degree,” the young man realizes the girl he had a sexual encounter with was in fact only a 14-year-old girl that did not look her age at all (this observation has been agreed upon by everyone who knows about this incident, with exception for the girl’s mother). After meeting with his court-appointed attorney, he discovers that the police were notified because the girl had bragged so much about sleeping with so many men that night, the word soon got to her parents. Her story quickly changed to a story of rape, and three young men were charged with Felony “Rape of a child in the second degree”.

    Because of the high conviction rate in the county the young man lived in, his attorney urged him to take a plea bargain. He argued that even though the charge is not what happened, he couldn’t win in a trial because he would have to admit the sex was consensual to win the jury over a rape charge, but that would also make him lose his trial by admission of the lesser crime, and he would be convicted of the rape charge nonetheless. Added to this, he is advised that the DA will ask for 20 years in prison if convicted, but a deal could be made for 15 months plus 3 years probation plus 15 years of being a registered sex offender if he plead guilty to “Child Molestation in the second degree”, which is what he should have been charged with in the first place. Almost a month passes, during which the young man is attacked in his own cell for what he has been charged with, put in solitary for being a “participant” in a jail fight, and later for the safety of others lest he attempt to kill any of them out of desperation. He caves, and tells his attorney he will plead guilty to the lesser charge.

    Upon moving out of the county jail and into his first cell in the state prison system, he coasts for about 2 weeks before he is put on the spotlight for his crime. His only lifeline he feels he can lean on is his survival training; kill or be killed. He plans meticulously, waiting for his cell-mate to fall asleep, and decides he will slit the man’s throat with his own shaving razor. As he is about to commit the murder, he hesitates, gets lost in thought, and realizes, he cannot get away with something like this, at least not for his entire prison term. He decides he will talk to the guards after breakfast. He gets moved that afternoon, made to look like a new inmate, and put into a separate building (rival gangs are separated thoroughly). Unfortunately, he finds that they discover him even faster than before. Frantic with adrenaline, fear of attack, and fear of being forced to attack first, he reaches out to the guards again. He finds that his current correction’s sergeant is not so understanding, and refuses to do anything. Gripped with his fear, the young man refuses to go back to his cell. He is sent to solitary confinement. He decides this is better anyway, as he can eat in peace, read books all day long, make his phone calls in privacy from other inmates, and best of all, no one will put him in that horrible situation again… at least for a while. Two months pass, and he starts to drift into insanity, not knowing if he is dreaming, or awake in this nightmare.

    His parents finally reaching his counselors and demanding they do their jobs and help him do his time, he is deemed fit to be placed in general population, and to not lose his good behavior time. He is transferred out of the prison reception site and moved to another prison with people who have never seen or heard of him before. Making good use of this move and fresh start, the young man coasts under the radar for the rest of his imprisonment over the next two prison sites before his release.

    Now out of prison, he must register as a sex offender, be on DOC supervision, and abide by not only his court sentencing, but anything his DOC officer says. He is barred from the usual things a felon and sex offender are barred from: no drugs, no chat sites, no contact with minors, no hanging out in areas where minors congregate, no pornography, and must remain at home from 11pm to 6am everyday. Here was the sucker punch he didn’t see coming: No alcohol, must live at an approved residence, must submit to 4 polygraph tests per year, and he cannot leave the county without permission. Return, the depression does.

    He pays off his court fines, his cost of supervision, and with a nice chunk of unspent disability money he saved up that past year, he buys his first car and gets it insured. He struggles to find a job, only to get a threat of a violation charge if he doesn’t get one or start at the nearest labor-ready, which was 15 miles away, and had no guarantee of any employment, and has a long line by 5am. To make matters worse, his sleeping disorder is kicking his ass almost as hard as it was in the Army. Losing hope, he tries to talk to his friends that remained. Luck would have it that his remaining friends understand his messed up situation, and know better than to judge him the way the rest of society is. He finds a job working for a moving company two cities away, and tries to make the best of it.

    Just as things are beginning to look up, one client finds out that the young man is a convicted sex offender, and decides he isn’t allowed on the property. His boss can’t help but feel sorry for the crap that just got slung at the young man, but can no longer afford to pay him if he cannot work. The young man is fired, and slips back into depression. About to run away from it all, the young man prepares for the life of fugitive and underground criminal, where other criminals judge you based on your likeliness to rat them out.

    After his 21st birthday, the depression just gets too much to bear, and he desperately wants to have his happy 21st like any other person would; with a drink. He is just about to leave his destroyed life behind him, break his supervision, and go to the bar, and then leave town. He pauses to contemplate the consequences. He realizes he will eventually be caught, and the cycle will repeat itself. A flash of fear comes over him from those times before, and he decides he will only leave when he cannot come up with a single reason why he should stay. He gives his first reason: he didn’t want to leave without telling somebody first. He chose to tell the one person who wouldn’t tell anybody until it was too late; his ex-girlfriends’ best friend. That night he meets up with her and prepares to tell her what he is about to do. Before he can, she tells him that she had a crush on him since the day she met him almost 5 years ago. The upside, she is 4 years older than him, and she knows what happened to him.

    Fast forward to the present only 2 and a half years later; he just finishes his probation. He is married to the woman who had a crush on him for years, and they have a son who will soon turn 2. They live with their parents, he is more than halfway finished with his bachelor’s degree in IT at a regionally accredited College, and he will soon vote for the first time in his life. He is struck with a heavy financial burden to provide for his now unemployable wife and his son, and he cannot get a job he can hold, and even the VA can’t find him one. From time to time, someone discovers his situation, and more often than not, he is either harassed, assaulted, or publicly humiliated for his past.

    At the time that I am writing this, he has fallen to depression again, and he is contemplating resorting to drugs, drinking (which he can now legally do, but can’t afford), or suicide in order to escape his lifetime punishment of pain and suffering. He tells me that he feels like he is Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon (the first one), where Riggs tries to come up with at least one reason why he shouldn’t blow his brains out. Last night he called me up and said he felt that depressive feeling again. I told him I wanted him to give me a reason he should hang in there. He gave me three: “My pack of cigarettes is still not empty, I still have 30 bucks, and my wife and son would miss me.” I told him “okay, go to bed, and call me in the morning, but the last reason was more than enough for anyone.” Just two seconds after I hung up, I burst into tears. I couldn’t wish this upon anyone who has a conscience, especially a good guy like him. I actually wish I could trade places with him.

    My prayers have been going out to him since the day he was arrested, but he only narrowly escapes the worst of the circumstances. I don’t know how much longer he can last. Even though he has completed his DOC supervision, I see him getting more and more depressed by the day. It occurs to me that he realizes that he has no way of using his degree to get a job when he graduates. It sucks, because he is such a smart guy, he actually knows the class material before he even starts the classes. He actually showed me some messages he got from some of his classmates, they were asking him if he was an undercover professor or something. I laughed so hard because if I was there I would have said “Damn! They figured it out professor.” I just wish I could see him smile more often now, instead of looking like he is dying inside. I see him with his kid once in a while, and he looks like he is pushing whatever he has left in him just to keep that kid happy. It breaks my heart to see that smile on that kids face, and he has no clue what his dad is going through, or that his dad might do the unthinkable.

    So while I’m getting all choked up trying to write this and finish before the crack of dawn, I just want to ask again: does he really deserve to have this happen to him for the rest of his life, and have his family suffer too?

  45. Punished For Life
    July 23rd, 2012 at 04:00 | #46

    I guess I forgot the part when his son was born, CPS actually tried to take his kid away before they even left the hospital. No joke, his wife was actually hemorrhaging to death and had to have her uterus removed to save her life, and all CPS wanted to do was take their kid away. He had to pay for a very high priced lawyer to make them leave, only about a month AFTER the legal time limit for an investigation without formal charges. They first tried to use his felony status and sex offense as ammunition, but he did see that coming. He scheduled a quick court date and left his wife’s side for one afternoon to get an amendment to his judgement and sentence, then he came back to the hospital with a copy of the order. Just after the CPS meeting started, they tried to cite him being a convicted sex offender on the list of why he cannot be a father. He interrupted them and showed them the court order, which states that his judgement and sentencing shall not be construed as to prevent him from having contact or guardianship over his biological children in any way. In other words, his kid and any future children of his are an exception to his “no contact with minors” order. Too bad that CPS would continue to lie, cheat, and do what they all do best over the next few months, and he would soon have to fork out thousands for a good lawyer to scare them off. I still say he should have sued them for violating his civil rights, but then that depressive mood struck again, and he said “Yeah, but they would just use me being a sex offender as a reason why they have the right to investigate, and everyone will be blind to the rest of what they did after I brick-walled them on that. They stayed involved and changed their motives and reasoning, but nobody will give a damn after they hear that I’m a sex offender.”

    Tell me, is this right?

  46. August 10th, 2012 at 00:11 | #47

    I never imagined I would have to know this thank goodness for
    the internet, right?

  47. Tim
    August 28th, 2012 at 16:30 | #48

    You’re argument lacks both common sense, and any sense of compassion. Even if you were to say “I don’t care what happens to felons, they deserve what they get”, it would still behoove society to create for them a path back to a normal life. I simply cannot see the recidivism rate going anywhere but down if a convicted felon, having served his/her debt to society had all or at least most of the options for life going forward that the rest of us have. Imagine you are 17(the vast majority of new felons are young men) and get charged with a violent crime. Say you made an absolutely stupid decision while you were trying to protect a friend or family member. Now, you’ve done your ten years. You are 27 and no-one will hire you. Firstly only those lacking compassion entirely would not feel for this kind of individual, and this, or some permutation of it, is not an uncommon scenario. Secondly, if that person cannot go to school, get a decent job, or have any kind of gratifying path forward, the chances that they will become productive members of society are extremely low. Let’s be honest here, as it stands now every sentence is a life sentence, and that is wrong. It is wrong for the individual and wrong for society.

  48. Tim
    August 28th, 2012 at 16:33 | #49

    It seems my thread did not repost underneath the comment I was referring to which was the comment of EA from April 5th

  49. September 17th, 2012 at 08:18 | #50

    @Sex Offender Issues
    What kind of monster forces his penis into a five year old child’s mouth?!!!!!!!
    F**K. all you bleeding heart bastards who have so much concern for CRIMINALS!!

    If your child was molested it would be a DIFFERENT story bub!! I have no sympathy for criminals; take your empathy and SHOVE IT!! ASSHOLE!!

  50. October 2nd, 2012 at 02:35 | #51

    Hello are using Wordpress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own.
    Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  51. Punished For Life
    October 29th, 2012 at 17:22 | #52

    f

  52. Punished For Life
    October 29th, 2012 at 17:57 | #53

    @horseman: well, I wouldn’t say that some of those monsters should get everyone’s compassion or sympathy, but those who made a bad choice on young stupid judment, and who are not sick and twisted like that, should not be shunned just because you can’t see anything good in a person who regrets their decision and never wants to do that again. It’s people like you who make policies based on some psycho who raped/molested/tortured some innocent toddler, and apply them to a guy who gets screwed over by an barely underage but very promiscuous girl!

    As it stands now, you (the society of heartless bastards) are treating every person with any kind of black mark on their record as if they are going to do it again and again and enjoy it. Rarely does a convicted felon ever commit the same crime out of enjoyment or desire. Hell, even most murders are actually done out of necessity to preserve one’s life, they are just slammed as a heartless murderer.

    I actually heard about a guy about 20-something years ago that got convicted of Murder in the second degree of his wife, and she wasn’t even dead (at least there is no evidence to support any claim that she is dead). Seriously, I have seen the death certificate, and half of it is absolutely BLANK! The guy was convicted because the neighbors thought he was a muderer by the way he looked. That goes around town, and his wife is all of the sudden gone (turns out she left him without a care in the world), so they believe anything they want. They convicted him despite the serious doubts he raised in court, such as no body, no crime scene evidence, no motive, no personal gain, and his own son testified that he saw her leave and she didn’t come back. They didn’t care, and they won’t care.

    Think what would our world would be like if everyone in it decided to look at someone and judge them for what they appear to be, and was willing to ignore facts, ignore aything that would speak on their behalf, and we just cast them out as murderers, criminals, rapists, molesters, or whatever they appear to look like. Now what happens when someone makes a bad choice, or even if they were conned into it? The policy of rehabilitation of criminals who served their sentence will never happen because society will not accept them ever again because they made a bad choice. Everyone has a skeleton in their closet, and if you were caught for something dumb and childish, something you would never do again, would you be ok with everyone casting you away for the rest of your life? Could you live a normal rehabilitated life with everyone looking at you with disgust because of a bad mistake that happened when you had a lapse of good judgment?

    I like this saying, and I don’t remember where I saw it, but I think it applies to everyone in the world, because nobody is perfect, and we will always make mistakes:

    “Success comes from good judgement. Good judgment often comes from bad experience. Bad experience comes from bad judgment.”

    I would add that if you got experience without bad judgment, then you are just lucky, and you can’t always be that lucky.

    For the monsters with repetitive behavior (either multiple convictions of the same haneous crime, or a string of the same haneous crime), I agree with the general consensus: keep them locked up because it was proven that they will undoubtedly do it again. But for the first-timers, if they succeed in their rehabilitation, let them reintegrate into society and be productive members, and let them live their life. They made a mistake, they paid for it. Let the debt be done. You wouldn’t want your precious credit scores to stay destroyed for a single lapse in good credit, would you? It’s called repair, and if banks can learn to trust you again after you defaulted on a $100K loan or failing to pay taxes to the IRS, then you can learn to forgive someone for a past mistake. They can never move on or forgive themselves until society learns to do it first.

  53. Tommyboi
    November 13th, 2012 at 21:56 | #54

    You’re a liar. To many made up circumstances to believe you.

  54. walkinmyshoesthentalk
    November 18th, 2012 at 05:05 | #55

    I personally am an “ex-felon”, over 9 years ago I committed credit card fraud, I felt so guilty that I turned myself in after the crime, before anyone knew what I had even done. Then, 3 years later did the same exact thing and again felt so guilty, I turned myself in to the police before anyone even knew what I had done. I excepted the punishment for my crime and went to prison for 13 months. Living in a room with 8 women 5 of which had been sentenced to life for killing thier husbands, not to mention the women who killed their babies, or were even serial killers walked around in front of you like it was any other day. Fast forward to now, I am a college student. Who finally, has found out why I committed the crimes that I did. I suffer from Anxiety, social to the point that without medication. I can barely leave my house, now after the personal shame of my record haunting me in my own mind, and realizing its public record and must explain to anyone I come in contact with due to fear people would get to know me and then find out about my past and then automatically dis-trust me. More so, now that I have my child that I left to go to prison and my new child living with me, I want nothing more to be able to work and show them that I can change. I cannot due to my past, so believe me when I say not all criminals are alike. I do fine now with medication, except for the fear of making new friends and explaining at some point my past, that will take longer for me to get over. Other than that, I have a 4.0 in my second year of college, and am an active member of my church. Please, dont tell me I can get an expungement and have my case cleared someday. I can for one case, the other I would have to wait 2 more years than ask for a certificate of rehabillitaion and that is not so easy, the courts want proof that I have been an active positive memeber of society. Like, having a job, doing community service etc… The truth is when companies go to do a background check the “7″ year rule means nothing unless someone is willing to take a chance on you. After 7 years of not getting in trouble your record does not clear up magically, it stays public record forever. I may go to college and never get a job anywhere for the rest of my life due to having extreme anxiety, panicing to try and help my family avoid living in a homeless shelter. I am not saying I did not deserve this ongoing punishment, I did the crime and deal with the struggles it has impacted in my life. I am just saying not all cases are the same, some are more cut and dry. Whereas, others are more complexing as to the reasoning for some people who committe these crimes no matter how small or how big. A better way to deal with the ever growing problem when people are sent to prison #1 it should not be so comfortable, in jail your inclosed in a cell inside a building and get out for eating and maybe an hour or so a day inside to watch some T.V. etc.. in Prison, you can stay outside all day unless your locked in your room for some reason or its time to count everyone, you get T.V.’s outside food you can buy, have your family send you things via mail catalog such as new shoes etc.. even make-up instead they should focus on more time with psychologist in therapy helping get to the root of why individuals committed crimes, since mental health is free to paroles. It would be a good place to start, not to mention especially, for drug offenders in Ca the rule is wherever you were sentenced is the county you have to stay in!! How much harder is it for someone to stay sober when all thier old drug friends are all around them!! Statistically, over 75% of people who commit crimes have mental health issues, which cause the drug problems to begin with. I do however, agree with some of you that sex-offenders need to be handled more carefully, as well as repeat offenders who will not except the help. I think it should be a case by case bases, not as the original poster said basically, do in with all criminals. Who do you think pays for criminals stay in prison which is more emotional scaring than physically? When they leave they get 200 or more to buy a bus ticket home to the county they are paroling to and the rest is theirs to keep. Its a crazy system believe me I have seen it first hand!!!

  55. Rocky Thomas
    February 16th, 2013 at 10:58 | #56

    Spoken like a true liberal! One who doesn’t own his own business.

    While there are certain professions where this theorum may be plausible, to suggest this is a one size fits all program is absolutely ludicrous. There are many many professions where I would not want anyone who has ever committed a felony offense in the position, PERIOD. And, then there are those seemingly inoccuous positions, that pose serious repercussions.

    Do we honestly want to deny background checks for child molesters applying for janitorial or security jobs in day care centers and kindergartens?? To even remotely suggest a yes answer here suggests you are too stupid to breathe without assistance.

    Do we honestly want to deny background checks to those companies we entrust to protect our Life Savings? They have to be licensed and bonded; if you were writing the policy on the bond, would you or would you not feel a higher rate would be required for someone hiring known repeat offenders to guard someone’s life savings?

    Do you honestly believe that we should hire convicted drug addicts to stock shelves and do after hours cleaning in the local pharmacy.

    Do we really want someone that has expressed violent tendencies toward society as a whole working in a bottling plant, processing plant, or bakery where it would be easy to tamper with products?

    There is far more to recidivsm than being picked on because you made one little itty bitty mistake, once in your life. To suggest otherwise defies reason. When 60% of all convicted felons are known repeat offenders, it’s probably because the want to be, not because they applied for work everywhere they do backgroud checks.

  56. Ex-Convict
    February 24th, 2013 at 19:48 | #57

    brian :
    felons dont stay on the record for ever. after 7 years they seal it. I FUCKING HATE FELONS GIVE THEM LIFE IN JAIL

    Are you kidding me?!! There are a few very stupid comments in this thread but this may be the worst.
    An ex-felon is one for life, the Gov. doesn’t seal shit you moron! So, who’s going to pay to keep all of these life-term serving felons locked up?