Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why Our Justice System Is Broken: Part 1

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 8/06/2008 1 comment
Here on GPT, I don't just talk about fun and good times (though I do most often). From time to time, I try to discuss issues. True, it's been awhile, but I've discussed race and politics several times. And those are certainly two of the touchiest subjects amongst people. But since this is indeed Grown People Talking, we must be sure to do just that.

Well, this may be a topic that makes some uncomfortable and many may disagree with my argument, but I have a problem with an ordinance that Mecklenburg County passed yesterday. In an 8-1 vote, county commissioners enacted an ordinance that bans sex offenders from county parks. Let me first say that I think that people who commit sex crimes are despicable human beings, especially when those acts involve children. And I'm a strong believer in victim's rights.

But let's stop and think for a second. What other types of crimes are punished in as many ways as sex offenses? If I killed someone, served 30 years in prison and was then released, I would be able to go to a park just like anyone who's never committed a crime. Plus, if I was that murderer, I would also be able to live wherever I want without having to register the way that sex offenders are required to.

Do I think sex offenders should be treated easier? Heck no. But I believe that all people should be treated fairly even if they have a criminal history. Our justice system is broken. I'm sure most would agree that it is designed more to punish than to rehabilitate. I believe that if you do the crime you should do the time. But let's not pretend like we're not giving people lifetime punishments and are just not calling it such.

I can tell you what's at the heart of this new ban: people's concern for their children. I'm not a parent, but I'm sure if I was I would do whatever I could to protect my kids, too. But we can't allow fear to push us too far. So far that we think we can solve problems or prevent crimes simply by boxing people in then releasing them and boxing them out.

Previously passed sex offender laws also prohibit offenders from coming within 1,000 feet of schools or day cares. That law is obviously designed to protect children. But, again, a convicted killer could pick his kids up from those places. Probably even serve on the PTA if no one knew about his past, which they probably wouldn't because he doesn't have to register.

I remember seeing something on TV several years ago, and I apologize that I don't recall all of the details, but it was something about someone proposing that we place all sex offenders on an island and force them to live there for the rest of their lives. It was called ridiculous and unfeasible at the time. But it might not be that far away.

As I got to the end of this blog post, I realized that there are several other things that I think is wrong with our justice system. And since I usually come up with the titles of these posts at the end, I've decided to make this a series, which makes this part 1.

1 comment :

  1. Banish from the parks or anywhere for that matter is uncivilized. so I agree with you. If illegal immigrants,who no one even knows of their criminal past or sexual preferences are, can work and go anywhere in the US, then legal citizens who are no longer incarerated should not be banned. Felon or not. My uncle is a felon released after time served and we play softball at the park. I dont condone the things he did, but i can clearly see he's a better man and if he were to one day not be allowed to play softball with us because of his past, that would be devastating. Now if a predator was lingering and staring at a child, then yes, he or she should be arrested or removed.


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