Weekend Edition: A Modest Proposal
Woman With a Mission: Keeping Tabs on Sex Offenders
By COREY KILGANNON Published: March 8, 2008 STONY BROOK, N.Y. — After a quick aerial survey of Long Island and the sites where its 1,200 registered sex offenders reside, Laura Ahearn used her computer’s mouse to swoop down on the Nassau County village of Hempstead, dotted with 50 icons resembling pushpins: green for Level 2 offenders, blue for Level 3. She headed east over Brentwood in Suffolk County, home to about 60 offenders, and zeroed in on the thickest cluster: the Gordon Heights section of Coram, with 69 pushpins, more than a dozen crowded onto a single block. —The New York Times
Seems like a great idea, doesn’t it—using modern technology to keep tabs on perpetrators of one of the world’s oldest crimes after their release back into society?
Not to the Civil Liberties Union. “Mapping out sex offenders makes them greater social lepers than they already are,” said Seth Muraskin, executive director of the Suffolk County chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “You’re fostering punishment, not rehabilitation, and you’re leaving them very vulnerable to mob justice. You’re basically challenging vigilantes to come to their doors.”
Mr. Muraskin’s spin here—which makes the criminal the victim—is not quite as nauseating as the crime in question. But it is close.
After all, the median age of victims of “imprisoned sexual assaulters,” according to the Justice Department, is less than 13 years old; the median age of rape victims, about 22 years.
Does Mr. Muraskin not know any 13 year old children he’d personally be distraught over to know they’d been abused by a recidivistic sex offender?
Furthermore, of released sex offenders who commit another sex crime, 40% do it within a year of prison discharge. With about 60% of convicted sex offenders out of jail and under “conditional supervision in the community,” is it any wonder Ms. Ahearn wants to keep tabs on them?
So we here at NotMakingThisUp have a modest proposal. Let all the members of the New York Civil Liberties Union take sex offenders into their homes following release from prison.
What’s good for the goose, after all, must surely be great for the gander.
Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up
© 2008 Not Making This Up LLC
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