Registration is cruel and unusual punishment

By Judith Levine . . . If it’s true that all seven of the football players arrested for hazing in the Sayreville, New Jersey, War Memorial High School locker room are students of color, that is one more reason not to prosecute them as sexual felons.

I don’t mean not to prosecute them in adult court. I mean not to prosecute them at all.

If they’re guilty, they should be disciplined by the school, kicked off the Bombers team, and held accountable to their victims by making amends in words and deeds.

But the punishment the state will mete out far outweighs the transgression. For kids who are 15 to 17 years old, it will be life crushing.

Yes, more life-crushing even than being punched, kicked, groped, or subject to an unwanted finger inching into your anus.

The state has charged the boys, variously, with aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual contact, criminal restraint, and hazing, involving what the New York Times called “the sexual penetration of one of the juvenile victims.”

The juvenile victim in question describes it as the pressing of a digit or digits against the shallow dent between his clothed buttocks—unpleasant, but hardly the traumatic experience the law, and the press, assume it to be. The other sexual aggressions appear to amount to grabbing of butts and genitals.

Nonconsensual penetration of any orifice constitutes aggravated sexual assault under New Jersey law — in fact, “the depth of insertion [is not] relevant as to the question of commission of the crime.” That’s a first-degree felony, carrying a sentence of 25 years to life.

But even if the boys would serve less time, in adult prison or juvenile detention, or no time at all under a plea deal, a conviction almost definitely will put them on the sex offender registry. New Jersey’s minimum period of registration is 15 years. That 15 years also amounts to a life sentence.

All former felons suffer thousands of state or federally imposed collateral consequences of conviction—from the inability to get a car salesman’s license to permanent denial of the right to vote—condemning them to poverty and social alienation.

But amid the U.S.’s harsh penalties and post-incarceration sanctions, sex offender registry, community notification, and related restrictions—collectively known as Megan’s Laws—stand out for their harshness. Registered offenders must continually apprise the state of their addresses, school enrollment, or jobs. Localities restrict where they can live or drive or walk. Parole officers may enter their homes at will. They cannot join the military. They are ineligible for college loans. They may not work with children or youth, even if their crimes had nothing to do with children or youth. In many cases, they may not live with their own children. (See counterpunch for full article)

someone outside of NARSOL

Written by 

Occasionally we will share articles that have been published elsewhere. This is a common practice as long as only a portion of the piece is shared; a full piece is very occasionally shared with permission. In either case, the author's name and the place of original publication are displayed prominently and with links.

13 Thoughts to “Registration is cruel and unusual punishment”

  1. AvatarWill

    One. You lost me soon as you said they should get off just because they’re “of color” Your racism made any thing else in this article pointless.

    I am sick of anti white being acceptable. Hell, Would it be ok with you for these boys to be punished if they were white?

    1. AvatarBarb

      I’m sorry! Wow I’m a mom of an offender and we’re white. If that matters. We are both human.
      As a mom I deal with racism too but it’s different I don’t go out anymore or meet friends because I have to deal with pedophile comments. I’m the lowest of all the white trash.

    2. AvatarAmy

      Talking about racism is not “anti-White”. Racism still exists and plenty of studies show that Black defendants get longer sentences compared to White counterparts. I bet you probably want better treatment of pedos and other sex offenders but probably still see POC as less than human and they aren’t “allowed to complain because racism is fake and a lie from minorities because they are lazy, blah, blah, blah”.

      Pedophiles and other sex offenders want to be taken seriously but are willing to ignore that other forms of oppression like racism still exist. You can’t want equal rights for a group then try to lie and discredit another group. I could say this whole site is “anti-children and rape apologists” but that is a blatant lie and disrespectful.

  2. Avatar??APersonWhoCares

    Yes, this concept of protecting children from predators even haunts juvenile boys for life (in this case the story of the football players in NJ) who may be facing serious felony charges.

    But let us look at this in a different sort of light if we may. The SO registry is so called “there” to protect innocent “victims to be” whether they be children or adults but mainly through the eyes of the public and of course politicians “our innocent children”. Hey, this is good, why put an innocent child at risk of any danger.

    But just think about this for a moment. Well, does a school who has in attendance a child once convicted of a violent sexual offense and is on the registry notified of this by the authorities. I don’t know. If anything, does a school do a background check on any child registering to attend that school. I don’t don’t know. So what is to say that a member of that team was not once convicted of a sexual offense (or even accused). You would say that if your child was a student at that school or any school for that matter would you not want your child to be protected and want to know if in attendance at that school is a convicted (youth) sex offender since your child will be associating with that “criminal”.

    Oh, but because of the age of the convicted sex offender their name is protected and not listed publicly.

    So let’s say you are a parent, you have a child (youth, male about 7 years old). Being a parent who cares about the safety of their child you check the so called “registry” to see if a sex offender lives near by. Okay, there are none within 20 miles of your home so you feel you are safe and your child is safe.

    But, your child now brings his friend over from across the street because he just met them in school and made friends with him. His new friend is 10 years old. Well a 7 year old and a 10 year old of the same gender playing together is not so unusual. So you allow your son to associate with your 7 year old. They spend a lot of time together and your son is so excited he has a new best friend. They even go camping together, go swimming together and have sleep overs together at each others homes. But one day your 7 year old son seems withdrawn and tends to shy away from his new best friend all of a sudden and you wonder why and just think it was a simple spat that kids have all the time and they usually make up quickly and go back to playing and having fun. So you as a parent just kind of brush this off as two friends just kind of not agreeing on something. This goes on for a few weeks and you encourage your child to learn to get along better with his friends and your son when asked will not really tell you why he tends to separate himself from his best friend. Then during a time when your 7 year old son comes home to you in the middle of the night from his friends house during a sleep over because during the night something took place that really upset your child you drill your child until he breaks down and tells you what really happened to him that night plus many times in the past. Yes, you got it. That 10 year old is a registered sex offender and you did not know it, why, because he was not listed on a public site.

    Some may ask how often this happens; the answer is, does not matter how often if you can protect one child it is good enough. So you put your child in danger without knowing because you were blind to this fact.

    Now, who has the easiest access to children; simple, other children. Of any kind of people out there who would you least expect to be a predator; yes, another child. So why are the convicted youths names not publicly on the registry to protect your child, because they are minors; yet this logic defies the “so called” reason of the registry to protect an innocent child.

    So we ask ourselves which is more important, protecting the name and identity of the offender in this case or the “victim to be”? Well in the eyes of the law, both, or is it either, or is it none of them. Humm, let me think about this. I can’t answer that question; can you?

    Let us go a step further now. You have a 7 year old child. He wants to go across the street to play with his best friend and you see no harm in this. You meet the best friends parents (they are your neighbors and seem very nice) so why not let your child play over there. You even check the SO registry. But you notice over a period of time that your child does not want to go over there that much anymore. You wonder why; you wonder why your child seems so upset when he comes back from there. So you end up finding out through other sources that your child has been at your neighbors home at times that his friend has been beaten by his father right in front of his eyes. And your child has been roughed around a bit by his friends father. So you feel relieved that you caught this just in time to protect your child from harm. Over a period of time it comes to light that your neighbor who beet his child has in the past has not been convicted of physical child abuse but there is proof that he has or even verbal abuse or even spousal abuse but was not on any type of registry. How were you supposed to know this then and you start to feel guilty. Then you ask yourself why there is not a registry for those types of crimes or persons who thought about committing those crimes.

    If the logic of the registry is to protect children ) or any victim then why is the registry limited to only “sexual” convictions? Oh, but the registry has people that have peed in public on it. But there is no registry for ones that have beat members of their own families or families that they have had in the past and now with a new spouse and children. Well maybe this convicted person when starting the new relationship never shared this with their new spouse and the new spouse never ran a background check on their new spouse to be. Well even if they ran that background check and nothing showed up maybe it was because they committed the crime when they were just a kid and the record was sealed or never ever reported to authorities.

    Well this is what happens with adult sex offenders. Even if the crime occurred 40 years ok they are on the registry, even if they finished their sentence 30 years ago. But being a person who committed child abuse over 40 years ago is not on a registry and now your child is at risk of abuse. How would you know. With this logic you will not know so the safest thing to do is lock your kid in their room and never ever let them leave it. But you really could let them go to “child safety zones” where registered sex offenders can not visit or loiter but other convicted youths can. How do you know who your kids are hanging with? Is your child’s friend really a good person for your child to associate with. How do you know? That kid could be a convicted violent sex offender. How would you know.

    Where does this thinking really go from here? Where has our thinking gone? Who are we protecting? Do we know? Are we protecting anyone for that matter?

    If your child is going to his friends house a lot and you find out later that his friends mother was arrested for dealing drugs from her house and drugs were out in the open all the time in front of your child who just did not know any better to recognize them. Then you ask yourself were you a good parent. You say yet because you had no knowledge of any wrong doing going on over there. But that mother who was just arrested; this is not the first time she was dealing drugs. She had been convicted two other times for dealing heroin. Then you ask yourself why you did not know; simple you say to yourself, “there is no registry that I could have checked to see if she was on it”.

    Why are drug dealers not on a registry. Logic here: if we can protect one innocent victim the registry is well worth the money and the lives it destroys; then with this logic create a registry for any type of crime where there is a potential for any one to be in harm of someone who has committed any crime in the past; or have even thought about committing a crime in the past to a therapist or doctor. For that matter let us all take polygraphs on reality shows so everyone knows your inner thoughts and what you may be capable of because if we can prevent just one innocent person from being hurt is it not then worth the effort, the money and the lives it destroys?

    1. AvatarGary

      Well written, but so many What if’s. Are you really going to be the person to lock yourself or your child never to let them experience life? Definitely a rough way to live. I’m not to familiar with the NJ incident, I try not to watch all the negativity on the news. The answers are simple. You cant be there 24/7 with your kids. So what do we do as concerned parents. We educate! We educate ourselves, we educate our children, and we stay involved. Certainly faith and hope comes into play, that nothing of a sexual offense is ever brought upon our child. Registries, sanctions, and anything other than incarceration are not effective in keeping our children safe. The fact remains, that a 1000 ft buffer or child safe zone, or probation officer etc. are not going to stop an offender from getting to your child if they want them bad enough. I am referring to the “Sexually violent predators” out there’ not these kids who get caught with girlfriends and are underaged. Do these sanctions work as a deterrent? Most of the time I think so. So what do we do about this? Lets send the whole world to prison and throw away the key? Nah never mind thats how everyone else thinks. These individuals need extensive help from accredited therapists and doctors, not from fly by night county mandated money makers for the states. These individuals are people like you and I. They have issues with being abused as children or unmet emotional needs such as love from a parent, contact with someone who cares about them and the list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, Im not in complete support of everyone who commits a sex offense. Not everyone who has been a victim becomes a victimizer. As you put it in other terms, we do not know who is a potential abuser these days. Factual basis has it that people who are closest to us are more dangerous than the next door neighbor. The example you gave with the 7 year old is key. We have to be aware of the signs, we have to be the ones t meet the parents, het involved in everything the kids do. And trust me the kids will hate us for it, but thank us in the long run. You want to be the best parent you can be, but that means informing your kids to be aware, keeping open communication about everything no matter what. From the first hint that your child knows something wrong, shows something wrong, that is the time to act. Encouragement to talk, you cant communicate enough. Telling them it’s ok to say no. Teaching them about stranger danger, unwanted touch. Old school teaching like using the buddy system. Carrying a cell pho e is not a bad thing these days for safety purposes. There are so many things that the public doesn’t want to know because its just easier to let someone else take the reigns and handle “it” for us, but without a personal involvement from each individual you may be vulnerable and caught off guard. As gar as the incident in your post, I don’t think the kids involved should be prosecuted as sexual offenders, prosecuted, community service, some harsh penalties to get their attention, maybe even some contingency based sanctions, if you do……we will agree to….., but for now as a parent, as an individual get educated about this whole subject to include abusers and the abused

    2. AvatarBarb

      Obviously you are not very educated nor do you have a loved one on the registry. I wish some people would just shut up. Ignorance, wow! Ninety percent of victims don’t re-offend. You just need to turn off your news because of all the negativity!

    3. AvatarBarb

      A good parent tells your kids friends mom! That way your kid knows your on the side of the victims. Your kid can’t go to public school. They graduate from corrections.
      I take the fallout everyday and I lost my family, friends, grandchildren and my 3 older kids.
      And after there registered as a parent you just lost another kid. By law if my son stays somewhere for 5 days and doesn’t disclose his location to police, it’s a felony

  3. AvatarCalvin J Stone

    I’m really not sure where the race card comes into this I read this thing 3 times and never saw anything like that at all. I am also sick and tired of the race cars but in this case I don’t see anything like that.

    1. Avatar??APersonWhoCares

      I believe the “commenter” is referring to their first paragraph written as:

      “If it’s true that all seven of the football players arrested for hazing in the Sayreville, New Jersey, War Memorial High School locker room ****are students of color,**** that is one more reason ****not to prosecute them**** as sexual felons.

    2. AvatarCalvin J Stone

      No I was talking in the statement from the other person who left a comment. I Also feel people should put their names on there comments. No one here on this website will not hurt you.

  4. AvatarRay

    Another registrant has been killed in South Carolina as reported today on the news:

  5. Man oh Man talk about getting off topic. All of you are wrong. Public Registration is cruel and unusual punishment, you can go on to say its a Mental Stigma, or you can go on to say its a Satanic list or Scarlett letter list. Is it cruel and unusual, YES it is and I wish the government had never had one. There are countries all over the world that don’t even have something like the USA has. That right there tells you of a perverse nation and a perverse government. I wonder how many people in this nation that are perverse that are not even on the registry. I’m sure each and ever one of us. So is it still unusual punishment. Certainly. Oh yes government would want to tell you its not but are to listen to Satan’s messengers or to God’s messengers. It was never really thought out in the beginning. Its as if they are doing an experiment with those on the registry and setting panic in the hearts and fear’s of society. Is it punishment. no more than prison or probation is punishment… its an extra bonus one might say…. but in really it solves nothing if one really thinks about it. To give you an example: if someone was going to rob your house, you would be on guard of your neighbors next door but what if the neighbor three door’s down from your house robbed your house… and he wasn’t even on the list of robber’s one wouldn’t have much confidence in it would one.
    The Registry with its cruel and unusual punishment is a political hype to rectify the wrongs of government.
    They send you off to war, you get killed, they couldn’t care less so why would they really care about a sex offender or those on the registry. If they are gone to do a registry have it in the private sector. I mean I love my neighbor till they go to far but I would rather tell them about it than have law enforcement involved in all of it.
    So Stand Up people for this Registry and its Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

  6. Avatarsandy

    Jolene, I cannot get to your profile, but you should be able to. There you should be able to un-check that option. Let me know if you can’t make it work.

Comments are closed.