The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Sex offenders should have equal protection under law

While stricter punishment for sex offenders seems like a no-brainer because they are sick perverts, Proposition 83 prohibits anyone convicted of the crime from re-entering society once they pay their debt.

It bans probation for anyone convicted of “spousal rape and lewd or lascivious acts,” not necessarily for sex offenders who are deemed very likely to again commit these crimes. In other words, if they did the crime, they literally have to do all the time for which they have been sentenced. Whether or not they regret what they did would not be considered if this proposition becomes law.

It might make more sense to deny freedom to perpetrators who are more likely to again commit these crimes.

And this is exactly what is being called for with Proposition 83. Habitual sex offenders, people who have been convicted of multiple felony sex offenses, would no longer receive early release credits and their parole time would be extended. So no matter how well they behave, they still have to serve every minute of their sentence, leaving no incentive for them to reform. Increasing their parole makes sense, but seems excessive compared to the rest of the measure.

If passed, Proposition 83 would require all registered sex offenders to pay for the cost of being monitored by Global Positioning System technology for the rest of their lives even after they have served their time and paid their debt to society. So in addition to serving full prison terms and going through even longer parole periods, they will have to pay to let very mistrustful people know where they are.

Under Proposition 83, what constitutes a Sexually Violent Predator, someone who has committed a sexually violent act against two or more people and is eligible for commitment to a state mental hospital would be redefined. A Sexually Violent Predator would be someone who committed prior acts against one other person. Another provision of the law would make people who committed sexually violent crimes when they were juveniles eligible to be committed. The second provision thus serves the purpose of the first provision, creating more SVPs.

In each case, they might then be committed to a state mental hospital for an “indeterminate period of time,” not the current two-year period mandated by law, and their release would be entirely up to the courts that initially sent them there.

Protecting children is very important. But using propaganda-like terms like “secrecy is the child molester’s biggest tool,” “Jessica’s Law will protect OUR children,” and utilizing society’s disgust of sex offenders, only justifies taking away their rights to privacy and their rights to due process. It can lead to abuse.

Keeping these sex offenders in prison and in mental hospitals, moreover, might drain more than $200 million from the state ever year within the next 10 years.

The only part of this measure that makes some sense is to make it so that any registered sex offender cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or park. Before, only high-risk offenders were required to abide by this legal provision. This part of Proposition 83 would make certain that children are not within immediate danger.

Proposition 83 is a measure supported by people who want sexual offenders to pay for their despicable crimes, as they should and as they currently do in prison. Those who suffer from mental disorders receive treatment. But enforcing harsher treatment on sex offenders, even after they have served their time in prison, only serves to disenfranchise them from a society that will have nothing to do with them, only with vengeance. How, then, can they be expected to change for the better? Of course, the question implies that the prison system is meant to do so.

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