The sex offender system

From Brongersma
Jump to navigation Jump to search

[B]oth candidates for the U.S. presidency in 2008 [Barack Obama & John McCain] offered, or felt the need to offer, a rebuke to a Supreme Court ruling that overturned the death penalty for certain kinds of sex with children, even though these crimes did not involve homicide and, upon closer inspection, did not have to involve violence, rape, or even actual contact (Andriette, 2008). [...]

In November 2007, two teenagers killed a 26-year-old man, who was on Michigan's registry for sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 17. The killers lured the man to a garage, where he was stabbed to death and decapitated (Fox News, 2007). [...]

In some jurisdictions, the resulting inability of sex offenders to find housing can itself be grounds for declaring that they have not legally registered and must therefor go back to prison indefinitely. In August 2007, an offender from Augusta, Georgia, was convicted of failing to register for the second time, an offense carrying a mandatory life sentence. His failure to register, though, emanated from a Georgia law requiring a permanent address for registration, but he could not find one in Augusta that conformed to the legal requirement that it be 1,000 feet away from any church, school, park, swimming pool, school bus stop, or day care center (Dewan, 2007). He was not the only one: in December of the same year, a man from Atlanta also received a mandatory life sentence for trying, but failing to register a second time. His original offense was having consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 19 (Rankin, 2008). [...]

In Louisiana, as Andriette noted, an 18-year-old woman giving oral sex to a boy just shy of his 13th birthday, for whom she was babysitting and who was complicit in the sex act, would have been eligible for the death penalty before the Supreme Court ruling. Even after the ruling, she would still be subject to mandatory life in prison without parole. In Oklahoma, a 2006 law elevated "lewd molestation" with someone under 14 to a death-qualified level, such that looking upon a minor lewdly or lasciviously could put an adult at risk for this punishment. Chatting online with someone purporting to be a minor, but actually an adult, could also result in the death penalty.
Given the unabated public outrage over sex offenders, along with the ever-increasing dehumanizing treatments of them detailed in this review and the tenuousness of Court's 5-4 decision, it is not hard to imagine that death sentences could eventually be imposed for acts that in the past might have resulted merely in probation. Hilberg's (2003) documentation of the transformation of German Jews in the 1930s from people with rights, to sub-humans with sharply limited rights, and finally to anti-humans requiring urgent elimination, arguably has parallels with the transformation if the modern sex offender.
It is not the purpose or intention of this article to defend or excuse the sexual acts of the persons labeled "sex offenders," but to confront the reader with the flip side of the offender's victimizing, which is the demonology that has emerged with respect to him (or her). A set of legal and social centered on demonology speaks not of any real progress, but of a dangerous backwardness not befitting a civilized society in the twenty-first century.

source: Article 'The Sex Offender System: Punishing homo sacar, the New Internal Enemy' by Thomas K. Hubbard; From the book 'Censoring Sex Research - The Debate over Male Intergenerational Relations' edited by Thomas K. Hubbard & Beert Verstraete; Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA; 2013