2007/02/16

Incarceration Nation Part 3 - A Nation of Criminals

Two stats from the debate on incarceration really jumped out at me this week.

First, we have have an injunction against enactment of Proposition 83, California's recently passed initiative that would have placed the majority of civilized California off limits to registered sex offenders. Though I applaud U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton's ruling that the proposition could not be applied retroactively, it was the numbers that I found staggering: 90,000 California residents are registered sex offenders. 90,000?! I know that our laws are harsh, but that's 1 in 400 people for Pete's sake! How do you get to that point unless your convicting everyone from child molesters to childhood masturbaters?

Next we have a study by the Pew Charitable Trust that projects that the rate of increase in the US prison population will be triple that of the general population--another 200,000 that will be locked up before 2011. Can you imagine...this will take us to a prison population of 2.4 million individuals! At this rate we'll have incarcerated 1 in every 100 residents of this nation by 2026. Madness!

Part 2 <<  Incarceration Nation  >> Part 4

9 Comments:

I'd heard that the majority of sex criminals (those who screw others against their will) weren't in jail but were living in luxury in and around the White House. Was only a rumour of course. Cheers!
You're on to something most are oblivious of, willingly, or otherwise. You seem to have some real problems out there because of space. Your quote "Most of civilized California" was pretty spot on, I think.

PART of the problem (not just CA, but all over), is exactly what constitutes a "sex offender." The person who grabs the ass or boob of a 16 year old, will likely end up with the same status as the sicko who grabs the kid off the playground and rapes him/her. Obviously, neither should ever be condoned, but what is the greater threat to society as a whole?

Unless we get a better handle on all this (read: common sense vs politically correct knee jerk), WE are going to be living in a corner of our respective state with a sign "no sex offenders allowed", while the sex offenders have the rest, because A)They outnumber us, and B)there is no where else to put them! I've always thought of the way that sex offenders are handled, as 21st leper colonization.

Incarceration for whatever is, and will continue to be, a growing problem. Somebody has to pay for all those prisoners. Guess who?...(:
Daniel...What would you call that? "neo-rape"?

TFWY... Well setting aside the fact that I think that "civilized California," ends at Babylon by the Bay's city limits...you're spot on regarding the indiscriminate application of the label "sex offender". I'm also very uncomfortable with the "criminal for life" mentality we've adopted. It's another complicating factor in the whole debate over incarceration.
My best friend is doing 27 months for "forcing" his student to have sex with him. He has an alibi for the night in question but it was thrown out because the girl was a minor and might not remember the date properly.

He may be forced to sell his property to pay the girl $10,000.

He was convicted just weeks after the new law went into effect.

His kids sure do miss him.
I hate that when I comment on your posts that I always have a legal point; but, here in the urban south, Georgia, we passed a new law that barred a sex offender from living within so many feet of a bus stop, school, church, etc.

A small problem arose, sex offenders, as defined couldn't live in most counties in the state.

The side bar to the story was that some of the sex offenders were drunk kids that got arrested for relieving themselves in, in their non-sober states, what they didn't realize were public spaces. They will be carrying that legal baggage for the rest of their lives.

We also have a kid here in Georgia who is doing something like ten years for getting a hummer from his consensual sixteen year old girl friend when he was seventeen. Given an unnanticipated quirk in the statute, he was guilty of statutory rape. A straight A student who when he gets out with some good behavior at 24 or so will be a sex offender.

A last problem with his case, it didn't help that he isn't caucasian.
Praguetwin... That's sad to hear. Sounds like his defense wasn't all that it could have been--or the prosecutors engaged in misconduct.

I was stunned when I learned that one in 400 Californians is a registered sex offender.
Dave... I commented on the Georgia law here, my objection being that your law was tantamount to banishment. But in your state's case it was the completely offensive comments of your House majority leader that first got my attention.
Read the link.

The strange thing about Georgia law, among many things, is that banishment, as long as you leave them one county they can go into is legal here.

I can't remember the counties of choice, but they tend to be on the borderlines with Tennessee and Florida as I think one of the "rules" is that the county given actually be reachable by land from other states.
Yes, public urination is "exposing yourself" and therefore a sex crime.

I wonder how many of those 1 in 400 are guys who just needed to take a leak.

And my h/s boyfriend is darn lucky we didn't really ever get caught - because I was only 16.

The "sex offender" label needs to be more clearly defined before we go banishing all the horny kids and tiny-bladder-men from the world.

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