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How To Eat An Elephant

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

That’s how solving an enormous problem has often been described.  You just keep at it, taking one small bite at a time until the entire problem is devoured.

That’s how I often feel about solving the problems of the registry.

We seem to be taking one small bite at a time and yet so much of the elephant remains.

It’s frustrating.

A  2017 appeals court in Illinois had ruled that sex offenders should be allowed in public parks. By April 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the appeals court ruling thereby once again “banning” sex offenders from public parks. It’s worth mentioning that the term “public park” according to the law encompasses so much more than a mere public park, this includes public bike and hiking paths, athletic fields as well as public buildings on park land such as concert areas, museums, aquariums, etc.

This change in ruling for registrants, was one step forward in 2017 and two steps back by 2018.

More elephant to eat. 

Justices in the case relied on “ancient recidivism statistics” that were never accurate in the first place to support their decision. And to make matters worse, the justices acknowledged that the statistics had been discredited. Not only is “justice blind” but in this case it’s a clear example that it’s also “in denial” when it comes to acknowledging current facts and information regarding sex offenses and that the justices don’t care whether the facts they are using to decide a case are true or not.

In the name of “safety and protection of the public, particularly children” rather than using current data and common sense regarding registrants, the court chose to use inaccurate facts and their own biased and skewed judgements to decide the case.  The Justice who wrote the 2018 decision, Justice Mary Jane Theis, wrote “the State asserts that sex offenders have high rates of recidivism” and that “those rates have been accepted by courts across the country, including the US Supreme Court.”

Here again you have a court relying on the old, spicy 1986 Psychology Today article about “a frightening and high risk of recidivism, as high as 80%”, which even though having been disproven and repudiated by it’s own author, gets thrown into the mix.

Do those judges NEVER read any other magazines?

Adding this “spice” to elephant is probably supposed to make it easier for us to digest.

An Illinois legislator adds his own seasoning to the recipe claiming that sex offenders commit new crimes 40, 50 and even 60% of the time.

The facts, however, show that except for “high-risk” offenders whose re-offense rate is about 20%, the re-offense rate for all other sex offenders is less than 3%.

Why doesn’t anyone on the court question this? Are they all dumb as doornails? Why aren’t they doing their job, which I would imagine should include educating themselves by doing a little research “before” they rule on a case.

Justice Theis later notes that while the “frightening and high” comment may have been debunked, the legislature is in a better position than the judiciary to gather and evaluate data bearing on complex problems.

So I ask, why aren’t they gathering and evaluating current data and statistics?  Why are they moving backwards instead of forwards?  Why are they repealing sensible changes to the law in favor of ass-backwards laws founded on ancient, faulty, erroneous information that has been debunked?

Why are they constantly feeding us more elephant? 



One thought on “How To Eat An Elephant

  • Laurie Jones

    Fantastic article!


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