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Alberta's sex-offender web site:
May 30, 2002 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Alberta's sex-offender web site: public service, or invitation to vigilante justice?
posted by brookish (23 comments total)

 
Hopefully the latter.
posted by catatonic at 1:54 PM on May 30, 2002


Arizona has one too.
posted by razorwriter at 2:02 PM on May 30, 2002




yes, this is apparently the first in canada.

catatonic -- funny how when it comes to pedophiles and sex offenders, those who claim to be civil libertarians start getting veeerrrryyyy selective. as if the bill of rights were an a la carte menu.
posted by brookish at 2:06 PM on May 30, 2002


Surely, these are all over the place in the USA.

Better yet, they are inspiration for the classic OMM web game:
Aliens Versus Child Predator

(sigh, old man, where have you gone?)
posted by malphigian at 2:22 PM on May 30, 2002


Catatonic: because there's never been a man wrongfully convicted of sex offenses, right?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:25 PM on May 30, 2002


For those of you that are curious, Texas' is here.

The value of these registries is really negligible, however. Hanging a scarlet letter on a list of names and their addresses may have the real effect of making the non-offenders who rely on such lists complacent. Parents might become less vigilant about their coaches and teachers and preachers. ("No one on the list is in *my* neighborhood, so I don't need to talk to little Suzy about inappropriate touching") Its an axiom that we fear what we do not know, and I understand that the desire to have a list is a desire to "know." Ostracising these individuals won't make *us* safer in our neighborhoods. Understanding the crime and treating the criminals better might.
posted by TuffAustin at 3:02 PM on May 30, 2002


The premise: a person who has been convicted of a crime is sentenced to prison, serves him time, and is then released into the general population. He has served his time, done his penance, and should be left alone. Good enough.

That's fine in theory -- if someone commits a crime, then serves the time mandated by the courts, he/she SHOULD be allowed to get on with life without being harassed for simply existing.

EXCEPT that, in the case of child abusers, I don't think that the sentences are long/harsh enough. For instance, if someone committed one of these unspeakable acts against my children, I wouldn't want him to be locked up for five years, and then told to go on his/her merry way. I'd want the bast*** locked up for YEARS and YEARS and YEARS, so that if & when he ever got out of prison, he would literally be too old to harm anybody. The problem isn't with persecuting someone after they've served their time -- it's that their time wasn't long enough to begin with.
posted by davidmsc at 3:14 PM on May 30, 2002


Isn't this the strongest possible evidence that we don't believe the prison system is doing it's job?

I mean, if the state is saying "here's where this person live - watch out for him," isn't it admitting that imprisoning that person for any length of time didn't do a lick of good?

So we think there is no way to give that person justice, and reform for him is a foregone hope?
posted by razorwriter at 3:26 PM on May 30, 2002


If we as a society believe that sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated, then the answer is not a scarlet letter. The answer is life in prison without parole. Period. Lobby your lawmakers to replace Megan's Laws with Common Sense. All these lists do is create a false sense of security and the occasional lynch mob.

Oh, and remember that "sex offender" includes not just pedophiles, but also any guy who happened to get caught with a girl who swore she was 18, and consenting adults who willingly engage in activities the local morals frown upon (sodomy is still illegal in some places, you know).
posted by ilsa at 3:35 PM on May 30, 2002


"sex offender" can cover a pretty wide range of things. how about 2 conselting adults in a public place? in the UK that could get you on the "sex offenders register". and while you might not be telling stories to your grankids about the (consensual) blowjob you enjoyed in a park. it hardly makes you a danger to society.

vigilantes are almost always, imo, ass-holes... uptight + ignorant. send them back to their council estates so they can name their kids "chanel" or "christian".
posted by selton at 4:10 PM on May 30, 2002


ilsa: I think that society is probably going to be pretty skeptical about anyone rehabilitating. I don't know if I'd want to be put in prison for life because of what most people think of my ability to live a life without crime.
posted by ODiV at 4:31 PM on May 30, 2002


davidmsc:- EXCEPT that, in the case of child abusers, I don't think that the sentences are long/harsh enough.
See, what I don't get is that this is the ultimate product of your democracy. Your whole judicial system, as I understand it, from - in some places - Sheriffs to D.A.'s to judges to legislators are elected. So campaign for a change, or accept that you haven't enough public support for your proposals.
Having said that, whatever protects is what I support: truly objective research from around the world (human nature is universal, right?) to treat, rehabilitate and deter offenders, plus sophisticated, well resourced child protection systems and parental education/support are the highest priority. But all that's quite expensive, if not exactly rocket science.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:41 PM on May 30, 2002


See, what I don't get is that this is the ultimate product of your democracy. Your whole judicial system, as I understand it, from - in some places - Sheriffs to D.A.'s to judges to legislators are elected. So campaign for a change, or accept that you haven't enough public support for your proposals.

Perhaps in the United States. In Canada the police and crown attorneys are not elected positions. However, the legislature is responsive to public pressure on these kinds of issues

The real issue here is the recidivism problem with sex offenders and how to deal with it. See the chemical castration thread
posted by srboisvert at 4:58 PM on May 30, 2002


See the chemical castration thread

Posters in that thread, paradoxically, are reaching the conclusion that the victims should arm themselves better.
posted by vacapinta at 5:17 PM on May 30, 2002


vacapinta: of anywhere in Canada that someone could arm themselves, Alberta would be the most likely to make it legal.

Truthfully, if I were a parent, I'd want to be able to know if my neighbour had a history of child molestation. A kid should be able to play in their backyard without the parents having to worry.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:12 PM on May 30, 2002


For what it's worth and FYI, South Korea also does this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:22 PM on May 30, 2002


I'd want to be able to know if my neighbour had a history of child molestation

Me too. But on the other hand we live with all sorts of risks, known and unknown. You can search this website, for example to see if you live on or near a toxic waste dump. Sometimes a deluge of information can blind you to what is real and imminent. We over-react to the lurid dangers (sex offender) and sometimes under-estimate the dangers of the mundane (getting hit by a car as you cross the street.)
posted by vacapinta at 9:39 PM on May 30, 2002


Catatonic: I'm with you on that one. Anything awful that happens to these people is richly deserved.
posted by fnord_prefect at 10:37 PM on May 30, 2002


> Anything awful that happens to these people is
> richly deserved

What sort of "anything" is "richly deserved" by a person on such a list? Burn his house down? Lynch him in the town square? Drag him out of his home in the middle of the night and beat him to death with your kid's baseball bat? Would you light the match? Would you bring the rope? Would you swing the bat?

If you don't like your criminal justice system, change it, don't become a violent criminal, and don't encourage cretinous others to do so.
posted by pracowity at 3:18 AM on May 31, 2002


Anything bad that ever happens to anyone is richly deserved, because we're all born with the stain of original sin on our souls, right? And we must spend our lives repenting and being punished for the sheer fact that we were spawned. Isn't that how it goes?

I'm just askin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:53 AM on May 31, 2002


Tennessee has one, too.
posted by tpoh.org at 9:42 AM on May 31, 2002


public service, or invitation to vigilante justice?

Both.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:39 PM on May 31, 2002


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