April 11, 2005

Closing the Gap in the Sex Offender Registry System

I really do not see what the problem is here. There is one sure way to make sure all sex offenders who are released from prison are findable by their parole officers, locatable by law enforcement agencies, and are never again located anywhere in the vicinity of their preferred prey.

Dump them on an isolated, deserted island for the rest of their lives. The ultimate Survivor challenge: let them outwit and outplay one another, with the only reward being that they get to live another day longer.

Survivors of sexual abuse carry the scars for the rest of their lives. Survivors of abuse get no time off for good behavior. While their scars may be buried deep, while they may go through years of therapy to try to learn how to construct a life around those scars, what has happened to them is a filter through which the rest of their lives are irrevocably altered.

That word itself—offend—does not begin to describe what those offenses to do the individuals the offenses are inflicted upon. Perhaps there is no word in human language that accurately conveys just what these offenses do to the victims. And so society—those who decide that offenders should be allowed to go free--put others at risk.

We see far too many cases of sex offenders who have "paid their debt to society", who are released upon the general public, and who continue to offend, whether or not they have been good little boys and kept their sex offender registration up to date.

The only difference is, when they next offend, they may decide to hide the evidence. And so we pile up the bodies of offended children and women and not a few men, and wring our hands and bemoan the fact that it has happened once again, and wonder why wasn't this animal behind bars to begin with.

So, I say, let's make it easy. Once they are convicted, dump them on the designated deserted island. Literally. If they don't break anything on the way down from the chopper, then they can jump right into the game. Why a drop zone? Why, to avoid the ring of defenses around the island to prevent escape, of course.

They are welcome to catch any fish that makes it through the barrier. But if they starve, who cares? Their victims? The people who try to help survivors pick up the pieces of their lives each time something happens to explode the fragile façade they've managed to construct around the ruin within?

Another benefit of offender desertification is that we won't have to waste any more taxpayer money on housing and feeding them once they are convicted. No more money wasted on useless counseling programs and drugs protocols to control their urges. I mean, really, we have so many good and deserving people who need the aid and assistance that money can buy – why are we wasting it on people who offend and will re-offend if they think they can get away with it?

A further benefit is that abusers tend to beget abusers. If we desertify them before they produce any offspring of their own, well, that’s a few less future offenders we will have to deal with.

Yes, yes, I can hear the outraged cries of the ACLU and other bleeding hearts who protest that everyone deserves a second chance. Well, that strikes me the same way as the right-to-lifers who rail against abortion but do nothing to take on the burden of the tens of thousands of unwanted children who end up abused and neglected at home, languish and too often abused by the foster care system, with too many ending up kicked out at age 18 with too few skills to help them cope and grow as healthy functioning adults.

I see those demanding we not abrogate the civil rights of offenders to be no different: by failing to speak for the survivors, the victims, they fail to grasp the enormity of the problem, and thus they perpetuate it.

As far as I'm concerned, those who aid and abet offenders—found all too frequently in our legal system, law enforcement agencies, military, medical associations, and churches—should be dumped on the island, too.

Yes, it will be overcrowded, and yes, island carrying capacities are limited, but there will be a virtually endless supply of recyclable protein there for a long time to come. I mean, really: taboos against cannibalism are just artificial constructs, just like not eating shellfish or pork or cow, or a system predicated on the belief that people who prey on others for their own gratification can be permanently fixed.