Letters

Should past sex offenders be free from surveillance?

I cringed when I read the June 14 editorial "Overreach Over Child Molesters." As a professional social worker and therapist working many years in this field and on this issue, I felt compelled to speak out.

Yes, many child molesters have been abused as children themselves, and they deserve our pity, perhaps. However, once they have crossed the line to become criminal predators themselves, they must deal with and receive society's justice and confinement.

You say at the outset that all adults must care for their children and protect them; yet you do not protect them if you object to the lengths to which cities and states are going to put victim concerns and safety first. You cannot "overreact" in the protection of children from known perpetrators!

Also, your studies and research are incorrect in assuming that predators can be rehabilitated. This is not so, and many more studies are available to prove that.

I am afraid the "ethical" bent of your ideas - though we do need more ethics in our society - is not useful in this situation. It is up to victims to decide about forgiving or helping the attackers. It is our job as a society to enforce the law.
Cheryl Bremer
National Association of Social Workers
Ann Arbor, Mich.

I found the June 14 editorial heart wrenching. You were right on the mark when you said the government should work with molesters, as most were victims themselves.

I am one of them. I was raped at 12 and was molesting by 14. I live with the past. I do not want to be what I am. If I could change time and fix things, I sure would. I don't want to hurt anyone or have victims. All I can do now is try to live the best life I can and not offend again.

The places where I can go and where I can live are limited. I am forever in a metaphorical prison in my own country. My name and face are published like a Most Wanted poster. But such is not considered punishment.

This country is losing sight of the principle upon which it was founded: freedom for those who are persecuted. But, the courts say I am not being persecuted.

I don't see it that way. It seems funny that no one thinks of me at all as a victim in this situation.
Glenn Bracy
Anna, Texas

Please go to "National Alert Registry" and see just how many convicted child molesters there are - maybe right in your neighborhood. Unless you personally have suffered this type of crime, you do not know what you are talking about.

These predators should be monitored for life and citizens have the right to know if such people are living among them. Nothing is more despicable and dangerous than a child molester.
Rita A. Chapman
Yoncalla, Ore.

Bravo to the Monitor for taking the politically unpopular position on sex offenders. We do not need knee-jerk reactionaries making laws that will keep sex offenders on supervision for their entire lives. Many of the sex offenders will not recommit, and all the resources for this monitoring will be wasted when they are needed in other areas of the judicial system.

Sentencing reform is what we really need, not more supervision. Sentencing based on the specific violation of law and not a class of felonies is needed. Without it, reactionaries will soon want all felons to register forever. Once their punishment has been completed, we are to consider their debt to society paid. Sadly, this is not the case.

Until we can accept people after they have paid for a mistake, those of us who have been convicted will never be free again.
Carl Ridgeway
Coconino County Jail
Flagstaff, Ariz.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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