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Sarahs law and the rights of sex offenders

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Pappy_Lazaru, 26 Jan 2010.

  1. Pappy_Lazaru

    Pappy_Lazaru Bish bash bosh!

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    Got a release through this morning about how its taking forever for the government to make a decision on rolling out "Sarahs law"...even though the pilot scheme has been pretty successful! In the same breath they mention this new website http://www.theratbook.com which is basically trying to be a free/open access sex offenders register! Has anyone seen this before?? There are over 5000 paedophiles listed in the uk! :geek:
     
  2. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    I'm glad they're taking the time to think this one through, because I'm not at all sure it's a good idea. A comparable scheme in the US - Megan's Law - has proven to be a total waste of time and money. It doesn't stop reoffending (check the study referenced at the bottom of that article), so it doesn't protect people. All it does is ensure that sex offenders can never be successfully reintegrated into society, which might be entirely justifiable but should at least be conducted within a prison setting rather than society. I remind you that in the US, pissing in public is enough to get you registered with your name, address, and photograph, as a sex offender along with rapists and child molesters. That is, I promise you, the effective end of your entire life - you will never be gainfully employed or housed after that.

    I know that defending the rights of paedophiles is likely to be a highly unpopular move on the internet, but the facts are that having sentenced them to a prison sentence we describe as appropriate to their crimes, it seems rather unfair to then advertise for the general public to ostracize and attack them upon release. That, of course, is what anyone with the capacity for independent thought will immediately recognise as the practical if not the stated aim of the entire programme. If we think they should be suffering more for their crimes, then we should increase the length of their sentences, and if we don't think they are safe enough to be released into society without letting everyone know first, then we shouldn't be releasing them. There isn't, for example, a News Of The World campaign for access to the 'violent offenders' part of the ViSOR, even though such people arguably pose a greater risk to their new neighbours, seeing as the general reoffending rate is around fifty per cent higher (59% plays 8.5%) than sex offenders'.

    I could also go on about how the 'stranger danger' the law will allegedly protect from is deeply exaggerated (with 83% of sex attackers already knowing their victims) and about how under the HRA 1998 it seems likely that the only warning you will get is 'An unspecified sex offender has been located in your vicinity,' which is as useless as warnings come, but I suspect everyone's already decided whether or not this is a good thing. IMHO HMPS would do better to properly supervise offenders and try to actually 'fix' them BEFORE they are released, or make their release conditional upon it, rather than just letting everyone know they've given up and are letting them loose nearby.
     
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  3. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    A well thought out and reasoned response.
     
  4. Matticus

    Matticus ...

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    PureSilver has hit every point I was going to make, and made them a lot better than I ever could. So rep to you sir.
     
  5. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    tbh, I don't think the general public are intelligent enough to cope with something like a publicly accessible sex offenders register. We're likely to get more examples like the case where a paediatrician was attacked and her house vandalised because her neighbours were too stupid to know the difference between a paediatrician and a paedophile.

    Having a published register also means that released sex offenders are more likely to be driven underground, where they are more likely to re offend than if they were integrated into society quietly.

    Bear in mind, too, that the rate of paedophilia hasn't really changed that much in the last 50 years, despite the advent of the internet. The availability of paedophilic images on the internet just means that it's easier to be a paedophile, it doesn't (and hasn't) necessarily mean that there'll be more paedophiles.

    Sarah's Law, like Megan's Law, is just a knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate incident - but which won't have much of a positive effect. It won't, for example, help in those (large proportion) of cases where the child already knows their attacker - where the attacker is a step-parent, relative or friend of the family.
     
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  6. Red Eye

    Red Eye Member

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    I studied law a long time ago in school and the first thing that was told to us by my teacher was that the purpose of criminal law and punishment/prison was that offenders could be rehabilitated so that they can be reintroduced to society. That point makes alot of sense with me and I agree with it. It makes me feel like they are really missing the point with this sex offenders register.
     
  7. Matticus

    Matticus ...

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    One thing I will add, which is more me playing devils advocate (remember when it was still called that, and not just trolling).

    While I agree with rehabilitation instead of just punishment. Sometimes many people feel and I have caught myself felling on occasions that some people are just "too evil" to deserve a second chance or to be able to live a normal life. If you have taken away someone elses human rights, why should you keep yours?

    Now it seems that in a country such as ours it is not feasible to lock these people up and throw away the key, it seems there are far too many other laws stopping this and this is reserved only for the most prolific offenders. Obviously the death penalty is out of the question. People want justice, and clearly what the majority of the population seem to think is justice is being named and shamed. There were calls for those two young lads who tortured another two boys to be named and shamed. It seems the majority of people are pack animals and want blood.

    TLDR; I believe in rehabilitation over out and out punishment, but the majority of people don't and the Government are bowing to the pressure.
     
  8. Pappy_Lazaru

    Pappy_Lazaru Bish bash bosh!

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    Puresilver,,,a very well thought out response,,,some good information there!!
     
  9. craigp84

    craigp84 New Member

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    PureSilver - rep added :)

    In addition to this, while we're being liberal and reasoned thinkers... Viewing pictures should not be enough to warrant being labelled a paedophile.

    The reasoning the law is as it stands (if you draw 2 stick people having sex, that's fine. If you write "age: 14" below one, you're now a paedophile) is because it's very hard to catch real paedophiles, so the approach taken is to kerb demand for images by making the consumption illegal, that should, in theory stem the supply.

    The problem with this approach (apart from the fact that it stinks of giving up at the harder problem which doesn't sit well with me) is that people can be unfairly accused, and in several widely publicised cases prosecuted for what should have been non-events.

    However ignoring for now, the miscarriages of justice, consider just the people who go on to be acquitted (provably innocent people). In the same way that if you're accused of raping someone and later acquitted (because it was all made up by a girl who for example stood to loose her long term boyfriend and saw only one way out by blaming you) your life will be destroyed, these laws could unfairly destroy your life. Noone makes a distinction between accused of rape and convicted, who's going to listen to you anyway, you're now a rapist.

    I used to work with someone (average guy never really liked or disliked him, seemed nice enough) who was accused of possession of child porn. He was later acquitted but his life was completely destroyed, i saw him once after he was accused before he was acquitted and on reflection he just looked devastated.

    I didn't help by drawing looks and keeping my distance, but at that time he was a suspected paedophile why would i show anything other than disgust? I've never seen him since, noone knows where he went to or what happened. I suspect that means he no longer see's his family and had to start again friends wise wherever he ended up. Just hope his new friends never googled his name.

    We should NEVER allow an innocent person to have their lives destroyed, even if that means a guilty person has to go free to ensure this.
     
  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    PureSilver is the name, pure gold is the post. + rep for a beautifully written response. :thumb:

    That was my initial response. Sorry, but the general public is too dumb to be able to handle this.

    Sarah's law is panic mongering. As PureSilver points out: 'An unspecified sex offender has been located in your vicinity' gives the worried parents no useful information whatsoever except to make them more paranoid. And that, I suspect, is the object of the exercise.

    It is like the government putting the Terrorist Threat level up a notch recently because apparently we have all these highly-trained, deviously cunning terrorists out gunning for us. Whereas the attempts we actually see are mainly executed by self-styled nutters with a chip on their shoulder and a limited understanding of explosives and no association with Al Qaeda whatsoever. Meanwhile a British company made £85 million selling "bomb detectors" to Iraq which basically have as much science and technology in them as a dowsing rod, and the police continues to exercise the S44 stop and search under the Terrorism Act even though the European Court has told them it is unlawful.

    Now I'm not a conspiracy nut but I'm starting to think that the aim of this government is to make us feel vulnerable, paranoid and above all, helpless. It is the feeling that makes people vote for authoritarian rulers and surrender to their will. The BNP has got it wrong; it is too crass, too clumsy. New Labour can teach them a thing or two.
     
    Last edited: 26 Jan 2010
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  11. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Nexxo - what you said reminds me a little of V for Vendetta (movie, not novel) and honestly it's a little sad that that's where we're heading.

    I say 'we' because even though I am not British, I see the paranoia every day here in Delhi. Yesterday was our Republic Day and I have honestly never seen so much security in my life. The city was locked down, we had TSA-level screening at the metro stations and you were likely to get shot if you uttered the 'b-word' within 15 feet of a cop/para/security feller.

    The reason I bring this up (admittedly very off topic) is to say this - we all can see what's happening, we can all comment in reaction to the changes that the government, and then the criminals/terrorists/<other 'bad' guys> bring about. But where does it end? Is there a solution? Having lived in the US and India, and also been a frequent traveler to the UK, I want to know if we're going to have to live in a society dominated by fear and paranoia forever?
     
  12. Ph4ZeD

    Ph4ZeD New Member

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    I completely agree with the above posters. Hysteria is ruling the UK currently. Theres so little chance, virtually zero chance, of a stranger running off with your child that I can't fathom the paranoia in this country. The fact is, a similar law did not work in the US, and there are places in the USA where convicted sex offenders are forced to live under bridges as they cannot find a place to live. The rate that the UK is infringing on human rights I wouldn't be surprised if we were doing the same thing soon.
     
  13. Furymouse

    Furymouse Like connect 4 in dagger terms

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    Just a note from over here on the sex offenders list, it's use is very limited as its upkeep is so poor. So from a technical standpoint, I find it very flawed. But from a government program I would expect nothing less.


    I will disagree with this statement, but will agree with it in a minute. My former neighbor is a perfect example of the system working. He is a registered sex offender, for what I have no idea. But his rehabilitation, I would say, has been a huge success. He has a great job, lives in a good neighborhood, has a great family, and everyone likes the guy.

    So I disagree with the broad analysis that being on the list is the end of the world. But on the same note I do agree that the list serves to alienate those on it from the support and acceptance they may need to actually rehabilitate.
     
  14. unknowngamer

    unknowngamer here

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    I agree with puresilver, but as well as his points, there is another.

    I work in a school with vulnerable kids and have to be CRB'd (Criminal Records Buerau check) every year. One of the girls I work with due to a failed relationship and other things moved house four times in a year, this was flagged up as paedophile behaviour and she had to go through the board of governors and be re-vetted and have various questions and re-checks. The point here is predatory paedophiles tend to move around allot, it would be very easy to get lost. If every sexual predator was on the public register, you can be dam sure more will move around and get lost in the system. As it is the sex offender register should keep track off them, but as soon as that is open to the public they will go underground and not report, making the system WORSE than useless. Because they very people you are meant to be wary and informed about by "Megan's / Sahara's law" won't be on the list.


    Another problem with this law, and the general scaremongering by the tabloids, is it will stop people seeking help. Many people with paedophile tendencies do not offend, they get help and manages to contain their urges. There is no way anyone would come forward and seek help if they thought they might go on a public register. So they then don't get the help they need to stop them from offending. Once again the very law that will supposedly keep kids safe will once again put them at risk.

    While paedophilia is a heinous crime, the constant scaremongering creates a massive social hatred of paedophiles, in this culture paedophiles will not come forward for help. Without help the risk of offending goes up massively. It may also be of note that many paedophiles were sexually abused them selves and that create is a vicious circle. These people need help, very badly. Sending them underground is one of the worst thing this society can do.
     
  15. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    This guy may be one of the lucky few to re-integrate back into society, but for most sex offenders life is pretty tough, if not down right miserable.

    One of the many reasons the notion of a public sex offenders list is a bad idea is the immediate connotation between "sex offender" and "paedophile." Already in this thread the concept of a sex offenders list is recognized as a veiled attempt to protect kids from all those predatory bad guys. Personally, I would like to see a breakdown of a typical list to compare the number of paedophiles vs (adult) rapists vs people found guilty of sexual assault.

    Something struck me while I was thinking about this topic. One of the arguments offered in favor of gun rights is that if you ban guns, only criminals will have guns - the idea being that criminals will ignore the laws anyway, so everyone may as well be armed for protection. What happens when the Concerned Mothers of the World lobby for legal restrictions on where a sex offender can freely live and work? Surely if you ban convicted sex offenders from participating in Halloween, then the repeat offenders are going to ignore the law anyway.

    Have any of the politicians in favor of these measures have ever considered any research regarding the recidivism of various types of crimes? I suspect the results would come as a surprise, but I doubt it would do anything to curb the trend.
     
  16. thehippoz

    thehippoz New Member

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    read something the other day, a guy in the uk going to jail for encrypting his drives and then not giving the police the key when asked.. they couldn't break it either (he was using pgp XD).. you guys have some rough laws over there

    we've had the online sex offender registry here for years.. punch up your neighborhood and see all the pedos living next to you

    look at how many live right next to the elementary schools.. what's up with that!
     
  17. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    It does feel as if this government is falsely representing the risks - presumably with the intention of riding in on a white horse to save the day.

    It started back with the invasion of Iraq - there were accusations at the time that the war could be illegal without a second UN resolution, and the evidence being presented in the Chilcot enquiry seems to bear this out. We have proposals to introduce scanners and heuristic motion analysis equipment in airports which are less effective than random chance - this is to say nothing of the cost of these systems. We have measures being introduced/discussed to attempt to block internet piracy, which will restrict the legitimate use of file sharing. We have measures such as this - "Sarah's" law - which, as has already been so eloquently discussed, will ultimately do more harm than good. We scientific advice from advisory boards on illegal drugs being ignored, and drug classifications based on perceived political/public opinions rather than actual physical harm.




    On a rather tangential subject.... @Nexxo

    I saw the Newsnight report about the ADE651 et al; I'd heard about bomb-detecting equipment being sold in the past, but never even considered how they would work - I just assumed that they would have chemical detectors... I had no idea that they were just telescopic dowsing rods. No internals, no electronics, not even a power source. I seriously hope that guy is convicted for fraud. If you haven't already, check out what James Randi has to say on the subject...
     
  18. MacWalka

    MacWalka New Member

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    Yeah I saw that stuff on the bomb detectors too. That isn't just fraud in my eyes, thats just downright murder to me. Selling something that is supposed to save lives knowing full well that it won't, thats just downright nasty.

    They said that they sent the detectors to a lab to check and the cards inside that were supposed to detect a bomb turned out to be a device very similar to a tag on clothes to prevent shoplifting. Therefore it wouldn't do anything to detect a bomb.

    It would be funny if it wasn't so dangerous.
     
  19. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    [THREADHIJACK]I just watched that thing on the ADE651. Wow, that guy's going on the "scientific advisors who are going to hell" list with Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. The question is, does he really believe that it works? I think it's probably better if he does because if he's selling them cynically I can't really think of a worse human being or worse things to sell. Fake AIDS medication is probably up there though, eh Manto?

    What I am now hoping for is for this guy to be placed in a minefield, and to then be handed an ADE651 and told to get on with it.[/THREADHIJACK]
     
  20. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    [CONTINUING_THREAD_HIJACK]If he believes that it works, then why would he make such an effort to avoid contact with the media, and say nothing about the allegations? Also, if he does truly believe in dowsing, then why would he need to jazz the device up so much and sell it with "tuning cards"? It strikes me as nothing more than a conscious effort to defraud people.

    All right, you can get back to the point now! ;)[/CONTINUING_THREAD_HIJACK]
     

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