An exellent article in “Collateral Consequences Resource Center” by Bidish Sarma addresses the question we’ve all asked, “hasn’t society’s war on sex offenders who have already completed criminal sentences, gone too far?”
We all know the answer, of course it’s gone to far!
But the real question is “how do we change society’s misconceptions about sex offenders when the misinformation they base their thinking on is coming from places like The Supreme Court?”
The Supreme Court’s Packingham v. North Carolina raised concerns about the constitutionality of restrictions placed on registrants, in that case it was access to internet websites.
The bigger underlying problem is that the Supreme Court is continuing to rely on old, outdated statistical information to form their opinions when it comes to sex offense issues. For some insane reason, even in the Packingham case, one of the lawyers for North Carolina, used the now infamous informational tidbit from a 1986 Psychology Today magazine referring to the “high rate of recidivism, 80%, among sex offenders”.
Of course there was no supporting references to back up the 80% statistic back then and there isn’t now, and yet, today, the Supreme Court is still using that misinformation when it comes to deciding the fate of sex offenders. How can that be?
I’ve come up with a simple analogy for those on the Supreme Court, something easy to understand, something that might help them when they are trying to make decisions in cases that affect the fate of thousands of registrants and their families. Perhaps this will help the justices understand the error in their thinking.
With all due respect, I’m using Senator John McCain’s recent illness as part of my analogy only because illness is something everyone, even those on the Supreme Court should be able to relate to, everyone’s been ill or had a family member who’s been ill, at some time or another.
Recently Senator John McCain was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Today, in 2017, his tumor was operable and there’s radiation and chemotherapy to treat it, hopefully with a good prognosis.
But what if Senator McCain’s physicians relied only on treatments available in 1986, not 2017, to treat his glioblastoma?
What if they didn’t bother to open new textbooks, search out new treatment options, look at current statistics or hear from expert researchers for new treatment options?
What if Senator McCain’s physicians did to him, what the Supreme Court does to sex offenders, relied solely on old, inaccurate data in 1986 medical journal articles to make decisions on treatment that would affect the rest of his life?
What kind of prognosis would he have then?
If this hits a little “too close to home” for those in Washington, for those on the Supreme Court, well, it’s factual and isn’t that what the Supreme Court is supposed to deal with, facts?
The Supreme Court needs to base it’s decisions on accurate, updated and current information and statistics, not ancient magazine articles whose information regarding recidivism has been dispelled by current day researchers and fact checkers.
Registrants want the same consideration when it comes to their lives, their chances for survival in society, as those given to Senator McCain.
It’s time for the US Supreme Court to get some new magazines in their waiting room!