Everybody deserves a second chance

NdeyKumbaDembaIf you randomly ask anyone if they believe in second chances, the answer would most likely be “yes.”

Our society believes in a new day and a fresh start. This ties in nicely with the popular saying that “everybody deserves a second chance.”

Yet, the National Sex Offender Public Registry takes what could be a second chance from previously convicted sex offenders on the registry.

The Registry is a searchable website that links state and territory sex offender public registries.

It gives users access to public information about sex offenders throughout the country.

The site delivers instant matches on sex offenders, coupled with detailed information and often a photograph.

Since it was launched in 2005, the National Sex Offender Public Registry has done more harm than good to society.

When the Department of Justice launched the Registry, within a twelve hour period, the site received 22 million hits.

It is no guess what the users were trying to find. The users were indeed searching for sex offenders living within their communities.

While this was good for individuals and communities who seek to know those with a previous sex offense record, understandably to protect children and create awareness, it did little for ex-convicted sex offenders. It took away from them a second chance and a chance to be better persons.

They are “ex-convicted sex offenders” for a reason. This means, they served their time in prisons and did pay for their crimes, a payment, law and society deemed was enough.

The Sex Offender Public Registry and its easy access give individuals and societies the power to make ex-convicted sex offenders pay twice for the crimes they have committed.

The Registry raises serious safety questions.

While it is clear it provides “safety information” for the public, it does not provide any form of safety for former offenders.

A single query from a web capable computer instantly gives a user detailed information, which includes address of the former offender and photograph.

This makes them an easy target for anyone who wants to harm them.

In 2006, two former sex offenders were murdered on Easter Sunday.

The murderer allegedly found their addresses on the Maine online offender registry.

When the police confronted the murderer who was twenty, he shot himself.

On that day, three lives were lost, a loss that could have been prevented.

The former offenders committed no crimes after their release many years on; yet, their lives were cut short.

When the story broke, one former sex offender was quoted saying, “It’s really scary. I live alone…. way out in the country and basically I could be here for days, a dead body,” according to the Associated Press.

This is true for many former offenders. Society forces them to live alone, far away from normal life.

They would be easily targeted and killed. They would be dead for many days without anyone knowing. Nobody deserves that, especially after they have paid for a crime.

The Sex Offender Public Registry is not a bad thing.

It has a lot of advantages, especially when it comes to creating awareness among community members.

However, there are a lot of things wrong with the registry.

“Who should be on that registry” still remains a question unanswered.

The length of time any former offender should be on the registry is still very much debatable.

Since no crime is punished twice by society, why should sexual offenses be an exception?

If people commit crimes and pay for their crimes, their crimes should not follow them wherever they go and for the rest of their lives.

There should be a balance between providing information to the public and ensuring the safety of former criminal who are entitled to protection by the legal system like everybody else.

There should be control over who gets access to these information, and rather than focusing on exposing former criminals, rehab should be given a chance.

Ultimately, it is not about privacy, but a fresh beginning.

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