When Prison Is A Better Option

Years ago, I wrote of the creation of a permanent underclass. No, not the one woke people are willing to fight for. Rather, the one we’ve created because as much as we can forgive a murder, especially if it was committed by a black man because they’re in fashion at hipster cocktail parties, there is no forgiveness of a sex crime.

Not when they get caught. Not when they get prosecuted. Not when they get convicted or sentenced. Not even when they get out. There are plenty of arguments, some sound and some idiotic, but pressed with a level of insipid passion that convinces no one of modest intelligence but so bores the rest of us that we walk away, leaving the interlocutor to believe they’ve won by attrition.

None of these arguments change anything. When a sex offender completes his sentence, pays his debt to society, and walks out of prison, what does his future look like? The “motion” below was forwarded to me. Even though it’s a public record, I’ve redacted the names and identifiers because there’s no good reason to contribute any more harm to its maker. His crime was bad, and so he was sentenced to imprisonment. But he served his sentence. This is what he faced coming out.

He had places to go, places to live, with family. But he couldn’t go there, live there, because rules proscribing where sex offenders can reside regularly preclude any home but the forest,* any bed but the ground.

He chose to violate his release so he would be put back in and get a bed for his final 220 days. He chose prison to “freedom” so at least he would have a place to sleep.

It appears that he hasn’t considered how sex offender restrictions will affect him when he’s maxed out his sentence and there’s no technical violation to return him to three hots and a cot. Either he can spend the rest of his life sleeping in the forest, or he’s going to have to figure out a way to get himself back into prison, perhaps the only place where he’ll be allowed to sleep in a bed.

Some will reply, “Well, if he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life like this, he shouldn’t have done the crime.” True but unhelpful, since saying this after the fact doesn’t make the fact go away.

Some will reply, “Screw the sex offender. Better he lives his wretched life in misery than harms another . . . hey wait, who did he harm, what was the actual crime, is he really a bad dude?” Some are. Some aren’t. But when we roll them altogether under the “sex offender” title, nobody knows or cares. More to the point, sex offender recidivism is mostly mythology. This is a remedy for a fake panic, but once one accepts the panic, the syllogism kicks in and nothing can be too harsh for the children.

Some will reply, “What about his victim?” What about his victim?  He served his sentence, so to the extent there’s any retributive concern, it’s been satisfied. The victim got “justice,” if imprisonment is what their justice looked like. But once sated, it’s over. Then what?

Some will reply, “Sorry, but got my own problems and just don’t care enough about the problems of some sex offender to give a damn.” Fair enough, but consider that there is no cost to you for this guy to come out of prison, go live with his family, sleep in a bed, find a job and live out the rest of life in law-abiding productive obscurity. If you never hear of him again, so what?

But if he’s left with no choice but to sleep on the forest floor, what do you expect him to do, especially when the better option is to return to prison rather than face a future of worse misery until he dies. And what he does to return to prison may affect you or someone you love. You don’t need one more problem, do you? It costs you nothing to live and let live, but it can save someone from harm if he’s got a better option than returning to prison.

*Not sure if it’s true, but I’m told that there is only one place, under a bridge, where a sex offender in Miami can live without violating restrictions. But it has a nice view of Biscayne Bay. Who can complain about water views?

13 thoughts on “When Prison Is A Better Option

  1. wilbur

    “Not sure if it’s true, but I’m told that there is only one place, under a bridge, where a sex offender in Miami can live without violating restrictions.”

    It’s true, at least in the City of Miami. I was told that as well by whom I considered a reliable source. I have not confirmed it personally; it may be a legend.

  2. don roberts

    In 2015 when released on probation through an emergency release due t fact I served 2 years longer than sentenced to I was immediately arrest and because I couldn’t provide an address since I only learned 3 hours before release returned to ft Lauderdale and jailed because I was homeless I basically had to sue the state and doc since they were violating the very law they arrested me under I won!!! 22 days later my attorney told me the state was out tog get me they did via a support service that claimed I rode my bicycle by a day care im a sex offender I was violated and sentenced to another 5 1/2 yrs for nothing when released in 2011 I was finally free but still homeless florida has a living restriction of 1,000 feet of schools etc and cities incorporate even stricter distances of 1,500 to 2,500 ft guys who are sex offenders and on probation are forced to “LIVE” at mass transit bus stops at one point in time those on house arrest weren’t even allowed to leave area to use bathroom at fast food joints etc is this compassion? fuck no!!!! probation officers by law and doc rules are supposed to help individuals not just violate them do they? again FUCK NO!!!! I speak from experience dealing with those in the authoritarian positions who think their shit don’t stink WHAT’S EVEN MORE IRONIC IS A SEX OFFENDER CAN’T SPEND THE NIGHT AT A FAMILIES OR FRIENDS PLACE AT NIGHT IF IT NEAR A CLOSED SCHOOL ETC BUT CAN SPEND THE ENTIRE DAY THERE GO FIGURE AGAIN EXPERIENCE WITH THIS WHAT CAN BE DONE? LOCK THOSE BASTARDS UP TREAT THEM THE SAME WAYS AND FORCE THEM INTO HOMELESSNESS DISPAIR WHILE TRYING TO LIVE UNDER A BRIDGE PARKING LOT TREE ETC THEN LET CERTAIN ETHNIC GROUPS OF SOCIETY PREY ON ROB AND ASSAULT THEM LIKE THEY DO TO THE ONE THEY HAVE THE POWER TO CONTINUOUSLY FUCK OVER if you desire more info im available to converse oh I moved from florida because the ft Lauderdale leaders and cops don’t like homeless people lest alone sex offenders I was arrested twice because of it I now reside in Kentucky own my own home but cannot secure employment finally I was kicked out of a church and another ran a background check on me though all I wished was to worship god people who put so’s down should look in the mirror and repeat the words of jesus–he who is without sin, cast the first stone don Roberts

    1. SHG Post author

      Notwithstanding the rules here, and the fact that this is a law blog, not reddit, I’ve decided to post this comment. I will not allow any other comments about people’s experiences. That is neither the point of the post nor the point of this blawg. Nor will I allow comments replying to this one. But having put so much effort into the comment, and there appearing to be a need for catharsis, I will let this one see daylight. But that’s where it ends.

  3. Skink

    In the Swamp, and likely in your state, child sex offenders, which includes the 18 year-old having sex with a 16 year-old, can’t live within 1000 feet of churches, schools, day care centers and other places I’m too lazy to look up. But cities can add additional restrictions. Miami added 300 feet to the restriction, along with any place where minors might congregate. That added a bunch of land, and left one spot for living within the city: under the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

    Go outside; take a look around. Tour Google Maps for where you’re sitting. Where is living allowed?

  4. Fubar

    This is a remedy for a fake panic, but once one accepts the panic, the syllogism kicks in and nothing can be too harsh for the children.

    Fake panics these days are the rage
    Life plus cancer can never assuage.
    Nothing’s ever enough
    For the children. Get tough.
    Hellfire and damnation’s our gauge!

  5. B. McLeod

    Bridges are marginally better than forests, because they provide better cover. Does Miami have grid designations painted under its sex offender causeway so they can properly register their addresses? Does Miami allow bridge dwellers with GPS apps to register by the GPS coordinates of their campsite?

  6. Ed P.

    At some economic downturn, society will have to choose between expenses for registered citizens and other needs. In California, I saw once that the state hospital costs $200,000/year for a bed and meals… Prison/parole costs are rising too and there is little evidence that all rc’s need the same levels of concern. Can you imagine if DUI/DWI couldn’t go within 1000 feet of alcohol? How about non-reformed gang members, drug dealers, crooked politicians, murderers, arsonists, identification fraud artists, living within 1000 feet of their potential victims? Land in rural America will become very valuable.

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