1,100 Convicted Felons
Placed on "Lifetime Probation"
The state of Arizona has instituted a program to deny certain convicted felons who have served a portion - or all of their sentences - the right to privacy and to conduct their lives in a normal manner free from illegal intrusion by law enforcement. Arizona's program for dealing with sexual offenders is probably the nation's most intrusive to date. It is, simply put, a system of sentencing to lifetime probation anyone convicted of a sexual offense, especially against children. There is, as the term "lifetime" implies, no release from its curriculum of scrutiny and its invasive agenda.
This is only the beginning according to an article in the July 7th issue of U.S. News and World Report.. In the article entitled, "Tracking Sexual Impulses" the author, Mike Tharp, claims that "law enforcement officials say programs like the one in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, will become the norm as states try to manage the estimated 150,000 sex offenders now living in communities." In that Arizona county alone there are almost 1,100 convicted sex offenders "sentenced" to lifetime probation. This law includes those accused of the most heinous of sexual crimes against children to, as the U.S. News article puts it quoting a former prosecutor in the county's sex crime unit, "...someone skinny-dipping in his own swimming pool who was accidentally seen by two 12-year-olds. In the county's eyes, they're all perverts." All are then legally subject to lifelong government control.
Sexual crimes against anyone, especially children, are among the most shameful that any society can tolerate, but when they are used to shift the focus of public opinion away from even more fundamental issues, there should be alarm bells going off that would awaken us.
The Arizona law provides for placing even first time sexual offenders on lifetime probation and empowers the courts to impose this sentence of probation "up to and including life and that the court believes is appropriate for the ends of justice." The statute appears to satisfy, but actually circumvents, the double jeopardy clause of the constitution's fifth amendment -- and possibly the eighth amendment's restriction against cruel and unusual punishment -- by imposing the lifetime probation on counts other than the one on which the offender was originally tried. By dividing any offense or series of offenses into multiple counts, the law is able to apply a virtual life sentence to an offender after having served his sentence on the original count.
Under terms of probation the subject is required to submit to regular lie detector tests (the use of which, a Maricopa County attorney informed The WINDS, is inadmissible in Arizona courts) during which he is asked questions as to the content of any sexual fantasies in which he may have indulged that would include females under the age of eighteen. In addition the person must listen to a tape recording that includes some explicit language describing a fictitious encounter with a young girl. During this procedure he must endure the indignity of a penile plethysmograph test in which a sensor is attached to his genitalia to measure his degree of arousal. Failure of either of these tests would constitute a violation of the person's probation and could send him back to prison. Upon release from incarceration from that offense the individual would then be subject to another sentence of lifetime probation.. This manner of control over the former offender would, as the name of the program implies, continue throughout his natural life.
The justification for what even U.S. News calls "an intrusive program" comes from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a division of the U.S. Justice Department that serves as their "primary research and development agency." According to the NIJ, and most other published studies concerning sex offenders, especially whose targets are children, their sexual deviancy is no more curable at present than is "epilepsy or high blood pressure." They claim that, as are those chronic disorders, it is only manageable.
The Arizona program appears to be the first among potentially many expressions of a recent controversial Supreme Court decision. In a current WINDS article, "U.S. to Use Psychiatric Prisons for Offenders", the high court's decision was discussed that allows a "...state to confine sex offenders in mental hospitals indefinitely, even after they have finished serving their entire prison sentence, and even if they are not mentally ill." In that decision (Kansas vs. Hendricks), Justice Thomas, writing the majority opinion, stated, "The [Kansas] Act does not establish criminal proceedings, and involuntary confinement under it is not punishment." (emphasis supplied). One would have to ask whether or not this is a distinction without a difference. Does the fact that the law puts a different label on the cage, calling it "commitment" rather than "punishment", realistically change the effect on the individual contained in it?
Now there is "Megan's Law". Signed into federal law in May of '96 by President Clinton, this legislation provides for the perpetual tracking of convicted sex offenders for the rest of their lives. In their cases having served out their sentences, or paid their debt to society, no longer means that they are free to live normally. They must register themselves with local law enforcement anywhere they travel. California's version of Megan's Law has resulted in the police notifying neighbors of the presence of convicted sex offenders. They pass out fliers alerting the local community of the offender's presence, including addresses and photographs. This law has caused several incidents including one where, according to the July 7th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, "100 residents of [Santa Rosa's] Roseland neighborhood, demonstrated outside a gray duplex where Russell Charles Markvardsen has rented an apartment for the past five weeks. They also collected signatures in a campaign to persuade Markvardsen's landlord and police that a neighborhood full of children is not safe with a convicted molester on the streets." In another incident, added to the picketing of the subject's house, were anonymous phone calls to the person's landlady who claims she didn't know who he was when she rented the room to him. She has since asked that he leave. These people are released from prison but apparently no one wants to allow them to live anywhere.
In these laws, presented under the facade of apparent concern for children as the major - if not only - impetus for the legislation, there lies a far more insidious purpose. In another Supreme Court decision handed down in October of last year it was decided that the publisher of the pornographic magazine,Gallery, had its first amendment rights violated when a Virginia correctional institute refused to allow two convicted sex offenders to receive their subscriptions to the magazine.
On the one hand, the high court upholds a law that permits a state to translate a criminal sentence for a sexual crime, after the felon has served his full term, into a civil commitment in which the individual can be incarcerated for life with no recourse to appeal. On the other hand, the court upholds the "rights" of a publisher of pornographic material to re-infect the minds of convicted sex offenders thus, virtually, guaranteeing the mental context of the inmate--and his propensity to recidivism.
This apparent contradiction in rational thinking tends to leave the citizenry confused as to how such men of learning, as are Supreme Court justices, could come to such conclusions. It is not difficult when one looks at the fact that these confusing contradictions are intentional. From that perspective we then understand that control, not fairness and justice, is the aim of those in high places.
When precedent has been established by statute and ratified by the highest court in the land, it paves the way for ever more creeping injections of anesthetic into the public bloodstream, numbing them to the evil that is being perpetrated upon them. In ancient Judaic law homosexuality was a capital offense. Until just a few short years ago, homosexual activity between persons eighteen years or older was considered perversion and punishable with imprisonment. Now it is so only if one is eighteen and the other younger. Only a few short years ago adultery was considered an illegal form of sexual expression. Now some national leaders seem comfortable enough with it to practice it themselves on occasion. However, as illustrated by the recent case of Lt. Kelly Flinn, the Air Force's lone female B-52 pilot, only the military openly forbids adultery with accompanying punitive measures--and not because they are possessed of such high moral standards. They are fully aware of its damaging effects upon their personnel and, hence, their "mission"--or simply stated--their ability to kill, efficiently.
Now, with all of the self-righteous fury that can only be generated by a nation possessing such an amazingly polarized double standard as does this one, we consign a 19-year-old to a lifetime of rigid government scrutiny and invasiveness because he had engaged in consensual sexual relations with a 13- year-old just days after he turned eighteen. (Refer to above quoted U.S. News and World Report Article).
National law permits the free written and photographic expression of virtually everything that creates the attitudes and actions that it condemns crying, "first amendment rights" and then excoriates those who get sucked into their vortex of planned immorality. Does this not constitute the most sophisticated and insidious form of entrapment?
It is the absolute position of this writer that sexual perversion is wrong and destructive. American society and government says the same, only they filter it through that double standard--the one that says only some of it is wrong and that little part they do condemn can deposit virtually anyone into prison for life. At the same time other perversions, even more destructive than the ones condemned, are made to appear acceptable, legal and even laudable. Is it that the world leaders have obtained a wisdom of such stature that they know what is really bad and what is really harmless? Or is it that they have no concern whatever for the deleterious effects of illicit sexual conduct on the "masses" or children in particular? Is it perhaps that their real concern lies in creating a condition for the total control of every citizen - control that is derived from a state of confusion and demoralized peoples?
If the sexual predation of children is such a terrible crime (and it certainly is), why have we seen few or none of the Catholic priests prosecuted who have ravaged the faith, trust and mental welfare of the young boys in their care? Is it that the Vatican possesses such fabulous wealth and power, political and ecclesiastical?
Because of the universal execration in which sexual offenders are held, especially those who predate upon children, society has been enculturated to look upon them and treat them, somewhat, as subhuman primates. Resulting from this attitude, the severely tragic death of one child, seven-year-old Megan Kanka, has been exploited and transformed into the vehicle by which all who have had any illegal sexual involvement with children are cast into the same mold, be they child killers or all things lesser. This must inevitably impact, in some way, the estimated 150,000 sex offenders that have been integrated into communities around the United States.
In the speech President Clinton delivered at the White House ceremony for the signing of Megan's Law he made the declaration, "There is no greater right than the right to raise children in peace and safety." This statement seems to ignore the fact that the constitution delineates no rights for peace, rather it implies that the greater right in raising one's children is in freedom and safety--a freedom being denied many under that law.
The day following the Reichstag Fire in February of 1933, under a decree of national emergency, Adolf Hitler began his dismantling of the Weimar Republic's constitution. Among the first of those whose freedoms were stripped from them were the lowest classes of German society - prostitutes (sex offenders), the mentally deficient, gypsies -- those classed as unimportant and whose constitutional rights were not an issue to the average German citizen. Following this, Hitler began to move up the social ladder to those of unacceptable religious persuasions, the working class, trade unionists, etc. What followed is general knowledge. What is generally missed are the parallels evident in the recent enactment of the aforementioned extra-constitutional laws.
These laws are accepted, even applauded, as a needed protection against predatory assaults upon our children. They are enacted purely on their emotional appeal with no reference to reason. No thought seems to be given to the idea that when the constitutional rights of a despised class of people are removed, it is, as demonstrated by the German chancellor, but a short step to the suspension of all citizens' rights. There only lacks a national emergency this nation considers as great as the Germans considered the Reichstag Fire.
The only real difference between then and now is that in Germany there was a real-life flesh-and-blood, human being acting as dictator. In this country the dictator is intangible and not easily identified by the casual observer. It is the once venerated "Rule of Law" that has been slowly and imperceptibly transformed by a nearly invisible dictator who twists and turns the meaning of law into the path of his own perverted purposes.
Are the aforementioned laws the "dragon's nose in the tent"? Or is there far more of the dragon in the tent than we perceive?
Related article: [U.S. to Use Psychiatric Prisons for Offenders!]
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