Registration Fees “Nothin’ From Nothin’ Leaves Nothin’!”

Some of you may recall an old song by Billy Preston, Nothin’ From Nothin’ Leaves Nothin’.

That’s what I think of when I hear about the registry fees and the other fees that registrants pay.

There are membership fees associated with the “exclusive club” we know as the registry. It’s very exclusive, not just anyone can join and those that do pay a hefty fee to get their name, address and glossy photo on a membership roster that the whole world can view! Ah, what a life!

Notice I didn’t say “willingly” pay a hefty fee. There shouldn’t be a registry, we can all agree on that. And those who have already paid for their offenses shouldn’t be required to “continue” paying for them after they are released from prison with ridiculous fees..

I don’t want to offend anyone, the registry is a harsh reality that no one should have to deal with, but there are times and you must agree, that we have to laugh at this craziness or we’d be crying all the time.

I make light of the registry and it’s fees because I just refuse to let it run or ruin my life or that of my loved ones. I refuse to let someone else’s definition of a sex offender, registrant, whatever they want to call it, define us, our lives and how we live.  It’s just not happening. Maybe I’m a sore loser, but I’m not going to let “the registry” win.

When someone can show me “proof” that the registry does anything, anything at all, then we can talk seriously about it’s membership and fees.  Until then, who does the government think they are fooling?  Not me.  The regisrty is a moneymaker, it serves no other purpose.

With only a few weeks to go, my family member was advised by the BOP representative that a Risk Assessment needs to be done before he finishes up at his halfway house. Oh, by the way, there’s a fee that goes along with that Risk Assessment!

Really? Who knew?

Seems that if the Risk Assessment gets done while still at the halfway house, the BOP picks up the tab.  If it doesn’t get done until he’s out (meaning he’s already completed his sentence) then he pays for the pleasure of having the BOP assess his risk AFTER he’s “already” been let out.

Give me a break. How does that make any sense? And why should he have to pay if someone with the BOP doesn’t get their work done before he gets out. That should be their problem, not his. And why would you need to assess someone’s risk after they’ve been released?

I don’t know the cost of this assessment but I’m making damn sure it gets done BEFORE he leaves there! Let the BOP pay.!

Then there’s the SO Registration fee.

When does the BOP spring that gem on people, as they’re walking out the door of prison, the halfway house?  Because so far, no one’s mentioned the “fee” to my loved one. When I told him about it he couldn’t believe it. Seems someone with the BOP, the halfway house, a counselor, someone, should let him know that every year he’ll be forking over $150 and that he had better have it with him when he goes to register.

Knowing my family member’s sense of dry witted humor, which is much like mine, when he goes to register, he’ll probably ask exactly where does that $150 go?  “What am I paying for? If it’s for the pleasure of being on the registry, what do I get for my money?” (It’s amazing what a sense of humor can get you through.)

Aside from an emptier wallet, humiliation and on-going “punishment” that the government prefers to call a “civil order” not “punishment” even though we all know that’s what it is, my family member will get Nothin’ for his $150.

“Well, then” I’m sure he’ll ask “what does society get, how will they benefit from my $150?”

Truth be told, society doesn’t benefit, they get Nothin’ either.

There’s no evidence that the registry does anything except cause financial hardships, pain, humiliation and countless lost job and housing opportunities for registrants and their families. No one is “safer” because of it. A recent ruling in Colorado just proved that.!

Oh, but it does put money in the government’s wallet.! They’re getting somethin for nothin.

Registrants in halfway houses are required to get full time jobs to pay “subsistance fees” to the halfway house, basically room and board.  Your first job out of prison is probably minimum wage.  The subsistance fee is taken out of your gross pay (meaning money that you don’t even technically have because of all those other nuisance government “fees” that are taken out of all of our paychecks before we ever see a penny. ) The halfway house’s cut of your minimum wage job is 25%. If you have to pay for buses or taxi’s to get to your job, you have even less money.

What you have left, after a minimum wage paycheck and government fees when you’re a registrant in a halfway house is, Nothin’.

And yet, the government is always trying to come up with new fees to impose on registrants so they can take their cut of Nothin’ from Nothin’. 

“Isn’t that Somethin’?”


And just a short follow up to a past blog-

In light of the recent Colorado ruling, it seems like an excellent time to get those letters sent to the Supreme Court Justices if you haven’t already done so. Keep the pressure on them to get rid of the punative registry!  We can change this!



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