Friday, June 10, 2016

People are downplaying the significance of the sentence of the so-called "Stanford Rape Case." Here is another place where they are wrong

I don't have to mention the hypocritical outrage of so-called Liberals (who have far more in common with Conservatives when it comes to the criminal justice system), seeing as how Mark Joseph Stern of Slate already does a good job of picking that bit apart. People are so mad at Brock Turner's "mere six month" sentence with three year's probation, they've gone so far as threaten the judge

The basis argument against the sentence is he's only getting half a year in prison. Considering the rate at which California inmates convicted of sex crimes are attacked or murdered in prison, even six months in a California prison is nothing to downplay. However, they downplay the difficulties faced by those on probation, much less those forced to register as a sex offender. 

First off, life on the registry is no cakewalk. California registrants ("290s") are on it for LIFE. The faces of everyone on that list are there for anyone in America to see it, from Bangor to Guam to Miami to Barrow. He has to register every year within 5 days of his birthday, or every time he moves. Registered citizens are often subject to residency restrictions, and in California, residency restrictions have been a particularly hot button issue. Until last year, California had imposed 2000 foot residency restrictions on all registrants, until a court case forced the state to scale back the restrictions to only certain types of offenders, including those on probation. (California also allowed park bans until the courts struck that down, too.) Failing to register is a felony, and if Turner forgets to add even detail about his location, he could spend more time just failing to disclose information than he got for his alleged rape. 

What does it really mean to be on the public sex offender registry? It means an increased probability of unemployment, welfare dependence, homelessness, and discrimination on the job and an decreased probability of having the kind of jobs that earn a decent wage. (Registrants looking to state their own businesses can't get a federal small business loan, either.)It means the ever present threat of vigilante violence, including property damage, assaults, and even murder. These effects are also experienced by the families of registrants. Registered citizens are also banned from a number of places and events, like parks, libraries, celebrating Halloween, dressing in costumes, hosting charity events, and so on, and even good deeds performed by registrants are met with suspicion. 

Being a registrant on supervision can be worse. Many prisoners have been returned to prison for arbitrary "violations," such as missing the PO's call, being late to meetings, even possessing a mundane item a PO may lead to prison time without a trial. 

If the registry wasn't that big of a deal, then why would a man choose to take a felony charge with 4 years jail time instead if taking a misdemeanor plea which included registration? SCOTUS claimed it isn't punishment, but everyone knows otherwise. Lets stop pretending Brock Turner got off lightly. His time has only just begun.