In 2006, I assaulted my ex after an extremely toxic relationship, loss of insurance for mental health medication, and social isolation due to her unabashed slander.
Having no experience with the criminal justice system, I took a lifetime plea agreement. I felt a lot of self-loathing, and I, mistakenly, trusted my public defender and a “balanced” system. After finally getting out after 13 years, I quickly found that any ideas I had at recompense and reintegration were naive. It became clear that resources were non-existent. Companies wouldn’t hire me, except temp agencies for the hardest of labor for the most minimal pay. I found that renters patently denied me.
I quickly learned that the registry was life-long extortion to sell my information to busybodies in the public and served no true value for public safety. I came to understand that politicians were too scared to attempt to dial back the overkill in policy that only served to effectively create a marginalized demographic, set up to fail. I also learned that investigative journalism is dead, and news agencies utilize our demonization for ratings, not unlike a tabloid or reality show. I learned that I would be extorted for the rest of my life for my registration fees, even after parole. I learned that anyone who associated with me would also be demonized and have their rights impugned. We are seen as irredeemable monsters, even if our “body count” or criminal history is not extensive. We never got out, we just graduated to a larger prison.