Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Can Bad Men Change? What It’s Like Inside Sex Offender Therapy

time

Someone has shoved a workout bike into the corner to make room for a circle of overstuffed chairs dug up at the local Goodwill. The men jockey for a coveted recliner and settle in. They are complaining about co-workers and debating the relative merits of various trucks when a faint beeping interrupts the conversation. One man picks up a throw pillow and tries to muffle the sound of the battery running low on his ankle bracelet, a reminder of why they are all there.
Every one of the eight men in the room has been convicted of a sex crime and mandated by a court to see a therapist. Depending on the offense, their treatment can last several months or several years. (TIME has given both the men and the therapists pseudonyms in this story.)
They sit in the circle, the man who exposed himself to at least 100 women, next to the man who molested his stepdaughter, across from the man who sexually assaulted his neighbor. The group includes Matt, whose online chats led to prison; Rob, who was arrested for statutory rape; and Kevin, who spent decades masturbating next to women in movie theaters.
Some of the men’s crimes aren’t all that different from the allegations against public figures such as Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and Roy Moore. Unlike the famous men, they cannot afford lawyers to draft nondisclosure agreements, or arrange hush-money payments, or appeal guilty verdicts, as Cosby’s attorneys are planning to do following his conviction on sexual assault in April. (Cosby could also be ordered to seek therapy.) Nor can they attempt to stage professional comebacks or publish mea culpa memoirs.
Instead, these men were all found guilty and had their names added to a state sex-offender registry. They will remain on that list for decades and, in some cases, the rest of their lives. Anyone can search online for the ugly details of their crimes, including employers, partners and their own children. A judge has limited where most of the men in this room can live, work and socialize–and whether they can access the Internet. Some are unemployed, and many live paycheck to paycheck, dependent on the few employers who are willing to tolerate their criminal history.
The more than 800,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. may feel that their parole restrictions are onerous, but the mere presence of a known offender in almost any community precipitates clashes of competing interests and legal battles that have only intensified in the wake of the #MeToo movement. In at least 10 recent lawsuits filed in states from Pennsylvania to Colorado, civil rights proponents argue that sex offenders face unconstitutional punishments that other criminals do not, and they note that there are no government registries for murderers or other violent felons in most states. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case challenging the limits of the registry in its October term.
In October, the Supreme Court will consider a complicated case challenging the federal laws that govern some sex offenders. The decision could allow hundreds of thousands of convicted offenders to move more easily across state lines and eventually remove their names from the sex-offender registry.
Even if that suit fails, civil rights proponents and victim advocates will likely confront each other again in the nation’s highest court. A Colorado federal judge recently ruled that the state’s sex-offender registry is unconstitutional. He said the list constitutes cruel and unusual punishment because it can subject these men to ostracism and violence at the hands of the public and that it fails to properly distinguish between different types of offenses.
The Colorado judge’s decision ignited outrage. In response, attorneys general from six states wrote a joint amicus brief to overturn the ruling on appeal. In their brief, the attorneys general quote a judge from a separate case regarding sex offenders in Wisconsin: “Parents of young children should ask themselves whether they should worry that there are people in their community who have ‘only’ a 16% or an 8% probability of molesting young children.”

3 comments :

  1. “A Colorado federal judge recently ruled that the state’s sex-offender registry is unconstitutional. He said the list constitutes cruel and unusual punishment because it can subject these men to ostracism and violence at the hands of the public and that it fails to properly distinguish between different types of offenses.”
    What’s new with the Horowitz case? Last I heard the Israel Supreme Court wanted 30 days to decide to allow a police letter from NY into court evidence. The NY police letter would help Horowitz. I’m a Horowitz supporter. I support limiting the power of the Israel Supreme Court, as Bennet wants etc.

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  2. What happened to the libel case in Israel against Yanky Horowitz?

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  3. Yechezkel HirshmanMay 16, 2018 at 2:53 PM

    I am not a supporter of Horowitz and believe he deserves to be sued. I wrote why here:

    http://achaslmaala.blogspot.com/2016/08/mesira-xvi-putting-peh-before-ayin.html

    Also, I very much commend the decision in Colorado. It is a very dangerous world if we lump all degrees of offenses and offenders in one basket.

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