September 24, 2019
President – Women Against Registry
1661 W. Highview Dr.
Arnold, MO 63010
Re: Please include this letter in the public hearing record of the Interim Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for September 27, 2019.
Judiciary Committee Members,
I would like to share a bit about what I have witnessed, heard on support line calls where males and females were crying and rendered helpless against a system that has removed all hope of a future and restoration. I have cried many times with these folks. Many of those advocating for change were thrust into this issue in a state of numbness and confusion to put it mildly.
I have attended funerals for those who had given up and committed suicide. One was 19 years old. Also, a family made a donation from a trust fund after their adopted Vietnamese son committed suicide one week after they visited him and he seemed fine. Their message was that our type of advocacy was the one they wanted to support. We regularly receive support line calls and emails talking about suicide. As a matter of fact, I am currently looking for a registered citizen or family member to reach out to this lady:
Would like to be involved and do whatever it takes. My fiancé is an offender but was 16 when it happened. His girlfriend lied about her age and when he found out he broke up with her. She then told her parents who charged him. He has been paying for it ever since and is now Suicidal. I’m trying to give him hope. At every turn from housing to MY vehicles being registered. He keeps getting hit with something. We don’t have a lot of money right now but I am disabled so I do have time to give. I would also like help to find attorneys in this area to help. Please let me know what to do and if you have any contacts in this area that could also help us as well. Please help me. Justin tried to hang himself in July with his belt in some woods by where we live. Thank God the branch broke but I may not get that lucky again…
I have seen families annihilated by false accusations based on the mantra ‘always believe the victim’ who later, due to a guilty conscience recanted but to no avail. A human being can never recover from that accusation and stigma. The perpetrator of the false accusation is never held accountable by the courts.
I have talked with individuals required to register who have been fired, walked out or told not to come back numerous times. Wives have been fired when a boss was told or discovered they were married to a registrant. HOA’s have quickly rewritten their policies to prevent our families living there. Pocket parks have been built to thwart off the possibility of an individual or family occupying a home.
Registrants have been denied life insurance, mortgages, admission to Disney World with their family, held at the airport of a country they traveled to with their family for vacation and returned to their point of origin while the family vacationed, wives removed as dog rescue helpers, older sister not allowed to help with younger sister’s scout troop because parent was a registrant, child of registrant dismissed from Montessori School due to father being adjudicated for possession of child pornography and the parents had removed him from the public school as he was being bullied there.
The public paranoia is constantly fueled by media fear-mongering and the absence of facts to educate and dispel the fear.
While attending a SMART Office Conference recently we saw the chest-beating of those justifying their jobs all the while even their website indicates the registry is ineffective in providing public safety. It is all about the money.
Where is the resolution?
It is in public education to quell the fear. That should be a combined effort to include a legislator, therapist, public safety official and victim’s rights representative. There are victim’s rights advocates who have openly stated we are spending too much money monitoring folks that are NOT a threat to public safety and those funds should be redirected to victim medical treatment and therapy. This same process has been used when legislative change was being proposed to back down some laws and requirements.
It is in the use of diversion programs to bypass ruining lives of individuals and families. Also, there are studies now available indicating the frontal lobe of a young person’s brain does not fully mature till mid-twenties.
Encourage companies to benefit while supporting those touched by the criminal judicial system in using the Federal Bonding Program and hiring felons including those adjudicated for anyone of a myriad of sexual offenses.
A research study published by a university in Texas surveyed employer attitudes toward hiring ex-offenders. Only 12% said that they were willing to hire these applicants. However, 51% said that they would hire ex-offenders if they were bonded.
A downward departure program will not only provide hope to individuals required to register and their families but possibly ward off health issues many experience after years of living in fear of harm for their family and themselves, feeling incapacitated and basically as a ‘throw-away’. We have a saying, ‘All children have the right to be free from fear of harm! ‘ I was told once that when you take away a man’s pride there is nothing left. A number of registrants have to rely on SSI to survive when they would prefer to work and support their families or be able to date and someday have a family and participate in family functions. We support the Restorative and Transformative Justice programs; restore the victim, restore the perpetrator and restore the community.
Please consider listening to our e-Symposium with the Michigan ACLU Policy Director, Shelli Weisberg where she talks about the developments in their proposed legislation that will again be groundbreaking.
Women Against Registry P.O. Box 463, Arnold, MO 63010 www.womenagainstregistry.com