Monday, October 31, 2005

Double jeopardy

I've been remiss in posting this. Formerly the blogger behind decrimwatch, our own, Steven Young has a powerful and articulate piece in the Chicago Reader. It's a pdf, so I'm not going to excerpt. And it's not about drug policy but I urge you to read it in full anyway.

It's a hard look at an ex-con who made a bad mistake. He murdered a 17 year old acquaintance when he was 20, during a botched robbery. He paid his debt to society and he turned his life around but the system turned on him and forced him to register as a sex offender, even though there nothing sexual about the crime. He's listed as a child predator.

It seems to me that this does the community no good in terms of safety and it certainly doesn't facilitate this man's reentry into society. Meanwhile his old homies are still dealing drugs and making tons of money, while he's struggling at an $100 a week apprenticeship because it was the only place that would hire him on account of being registered. A powerful temptation, that he's managed so far to resist. But how much easier would it be for him to go back to his old life?

You can have too many laws - this would clearly be one of them.


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