Database! How Low Can You Go?

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Freda Moon profiles Connecticut State Rep. Mike Lawlor, that vanishingly rare sort of politician who wants to "add some nuance" to sex offense laws. Years of hackwork by officials and pols who want to look tough on crime have bloated the offender rolls:

Dr. Paul Amble, the chief forensic psychiatrist for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, says the registry's size is problematic. Eventually, he says, "We'll have such a huge list that it will make it difficult for people to use it." He supports streamlining the website so "the public can really focus on the individuals who experts have identified as high risk."

But try getting a majority of state legislators to do that.

There are also voices like state Sen. Sam Caligiuri, who represents part of Cheshire and is pushing for tougher sentencing laws. "This is the first I'm hearing of it," says Caligiuri… If "we implement such a policy," he says, "and then, at some point in the future, someone that might have been on the public list—who's been taken off the public list—ends up doing something really heinous, we end up looking back and wondering if we could have done something to prevent it."

More reason on sex offender restrictions here.

Headline reference here.

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  1. Hooray! Ridiculous risk aversion! Way to go government!

  2. If “we implement such a policy,” he says, “and then, at some point in the future, someone that might have been on the public list-who’s been taken off the public list-ends up doing something really heinous, we end up looking back and wondering if we could have done something to prevent it.”

    Just put everyone on the list. Problem solved.

  3. Corrupt as a Senator Sam Caligiuri said “Freeze!” and we got numb.

    Time for me to exit.

  4. Just put everyone on the list. Problem solved.

    Actually, yes. At the rate these politicians are going, the lists will become polluted with too much data, and become useless. While that is not good for finding the real dangers (which are most likely very few in number), it would be great for the guy who pissed in public and got slapped with indecent exposure and got on this list.

  5. Hmmm… It’s articles like these that make me wonder how many libertarians are actually pedophiles.

    Is it a high number, do you think?

  6. we end up looking back and wondering if we could have done something to prevent it

    I’m coming around to believing that Big Police State is a direct result of the majority’s inability to accept that Shit Happens.

  7. Just put everyone on the list. Problem solved.

    That doesn’t solve anything. Being on the list doesn’t prevent perverts from assaulting teh children. We need to put everyone in prison.

  8. But if we put the children in prison too, they’re in even greater danger of being assaulted. If we just put adults in prison, who’s going to prevent the kids from going all Lord of the Flies?

    I know. Put all the adults in prison, and mass produce Asimov-style robots to take care of the kids on the outside, until the kids reach 18, when they go to prison.

  9. WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

    (had to be said)

    Have sex offender registries really kept any child from being molested or any woman from being raped? Or are they just one of those “feel good” things from government for the masses that costs a bundle but accomplishes nothing? (Can you guess which one I think it is?)

  10. Uncle Handsy,

    There isn’t even a high number of libertarians, how can there be a high number of libertarian pedophiles?

  11. Have sex offender registries really kept any child from being molested or any woman from being raped?

    If they have, we wouldn’t know it. So we might as well try.

  12. I’m coming around to believing that Big Police State is a direct result of the majority’s inability to accept that Shit Happens.

    That’s one of the byproducts of a super-litigious society. It’s the notion that every bad thing from icy steps to murder can be anticipated and prevented, therefore it’s someone’s fault when they’re not.

    Caligiuri is playing to his Cheshire base, who are still obsessed with a crime committed over the summer by two paroled felons. They’re demanding to know why no one knew that two guys who’d had no prior history of violent crime would commit a brutal home invasion and triple homicide.

    Another example is the kids who were brutally murdered in New Jersey a few months ago, and people were demanding that the newly-elected mayor resign because his goal was to reduce crime and a horrible one occurred? That one eventually degenerated into anti-immigration hysteria.

  13. I’m coming around to believing that Big Police State is a direct result of the majority’s inability to accept that Shit Happens.

    Yep.

    What people don’t understand is that while free and open societies have vulnerabilities, police states aren’t exactly reliable in providing safety either.

  14. What do you mean, thoreau, 1930s Ukraine was TOTALLY safe!

  15. I’m coming around to believing that Big Police State is a direct result of the majority’s inability to accept that Shit Happens.

    It’s not even that. In life, Shit Happens, and you have to accept it whether you want to or not.

    What it really seems to be, to me, is a form of one-upsmanship from the parents and the politicians. The bar which you have to go over to seem like you “care” keeps getting raised, and the next politican or parent who loses a child has to propose something even more police statish to even be noticed. Then, no one can oppose you because they’d be “for child molesters” or whatever. So you have a race for ever-more ridiculous restrictions on liberty, with almost no opposition.

    It’s not the majority’s inability to accept that shit happens–it’s the politician’s and activist’s inability to admit that shit will happen, and there are things you just can’t do much about. Is it any wonder that it is spiralling out of control?

  16. The fact is, the rep who is hyper risk averse is acting in his own interest as an elected official. If something happened and he had anything to do with lowering the bar, the public would hold him responsible and he would lose his job.

    The same is true of terrorism. How much money did we spend to find out whose failure 9/11 was? Someone’s head needs to roll, right? Many (most?) of the same people who complain about airports and Homeland Security and warrantless wiretaps absolutely would raise a stink about the failures of officials to keep them safe if something else happened. I’m not defending spineless politicians here, but I’m sympathetic to the extent that people are hypocrites like that.

  17. In the 1930s in the Ukraine once the starvation period ended the streets were quite quiet.

  18. Ha ha, the Ukraine. Do you know what the Ukraine is? It’s a sitting duck. A road apple, Timothy. The Ukraine is weak. It’s feeble. I think it’s time to put the hurt on the Ukraine.

  19. JasonL-

    I would certainly complain if something bad happened and it turned out that instead of acting intelligently the officials were adding hay to the stack.

  20. …who are still obsessed with a crime committed over the summer by two paroled felons. They’re demanding to know why no one knew that two guys who’d had no prior history of violent crime would commit a brutal home invasion and triple homicide.

    David, why were they in the crime acadamy prison to begin with? This is a serious question. You can probably guess why I’m asking.

  21. J sub D,

    They were in for burglary and larceny. Whole story at link.

  22. I think that they were both in for burglaries rather than drug offenses, if that’s what you mean.

  23. …police states aren’t exactly reliable in providing safety either.

    No, but they’re pretty good at making sure that people are unaware of that fact. Then the masses get a warm fuzzy feeling from not knowing.

  24. I feel that it’s BEST NOT TO MAKE PEOPLES Credit Reoirt/Criminal History/School Grades/Heath Records/Dick and Bra Size available to the PUBLIC.

    The scarlet letter has NEVER been a good idea…And molesters, once freed, can molest children regardless of the Meagan Law requirement of registration.

    As it is now, you can’t get a job at Walmart without a
    – Clean Driving Record
    – Clean Drug Screening
    – Good Credit
    – Clean Criminal History
    – Good Health

    Pretty soon, none of us will be able to live or work anywhere.

    I say abolish the List

  25. They were in for burglary and larceny.

    Thanks for the link. It appears that they were scum before they were sent away. It appears to be a parole board miscalculation or screwup. Of course, there is one way to insure that doesn’t happen. No paroles, period. I don’t think we want to go down that road.

  26. Caligiuri is playing to his Cheshire base, who are still obsessed with a crime committed over the summer by two paroled felons. They’re demanding to know why no one knew that two guys who’d had no prior history of violent crime would commit a brutal home invasion and triple homicide.

    That’s simple: they learned how to do that while in prison. People leave prison worse than when they entered. Nonviolent criminals should not be incarcerated in the first place–we need to find and implement alternative forms of punishment for them.

    (Who wants to guess that “felon with no history of violent crime” = drug offender?)

  27. there is one way to insure that doesn’t happen. No paroles, period. I don’t think we want to go down that road.

    Some here in Connecticut are already discussing that, despite the fact that, as horrible as the Cheshire home invasions were, there’s no way anyone could have known that a burglar would make the quantum leap to multiple rapes and murders.

    And if they hadn’t been granted early parole, they would’ve been out in another few months anyway. Who actually thinks this wouldn’t have happened, if only the killers had spent a few more months cooling their heels in prison before being set loose?

  28. No paroles, period. I don’t think we want to go down that road.

    Not that I support this, but the whole situation is overblown bureaucracy bullshit.

    If these people are still dangerous, why let them out of prison. If they are not dangerous, and have paid their debt to society, why do they need to be tracked?

    It’s just one more database, and can be tragic when an innocent gets put on the list for trivial offenses that get trumped up.

  29. I agree Taktix…

    It always starts with the This is ONLY for major offenses bullshit. Then all of the sudden u find out you were declined for a job due to parkiing tickets.

    Guilliani, when mayor of NYC, wanted to deport LEGAL-IMIGRANTs with GREEN-Cards that owed more than $1,000 in parking tickets.

  30. But it really doesn’t matter whom you put upon the list,
    For they’d none of ’em be missed–they’d none of ’em be missed!

  31. If these people are still dangerous, why let them out of prison. If they are not dangerous, and have paid their debt to society, why do they need to be tracked?

    The reason u let people out of prison b-cause 99% of time time, these people did not go to trial. In leu, they took a deal, which rendered far less jail time than if goin 2 trial.

    I have NO PROBLEM with imposing the DEATH PENALTY or LIFE SENTENCES on Sex Offenders who commit CRIMES after 2-day…however, we’re goin have to live with those offenders that get out NOW…due to previous deals made with their respective DAs. And we’re goin 2 have 2 deal with it regardless of the Scarlet Letter

  32. Hmmm… It’s articles like these that make me wonder how many libertarians are actually pedophiles.

    Is it a high number, do you think?

    I hope that wasn’t a cheap shot at highnumber (or as he is affectionately known here as, high#).

  33. If these people are still dangerous, why let them out of prison?

    Because that would be mind-reading. People are in prison because of what they did, not what they might do.

  34. Sen. Caligiuri’s real issue:

    we end up looking backbad

    BTW: I keep looking at this guy’s name and thinking either “Caligari” (as in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) or “Caligula”. Anyone else?

  35. Alice Bowie. your point’s well taken. If someone is trying to turn their life around, (yes, those people do exist) and they can’t get a job, can’t live anywhere but in the seediest part of town or on the lam, the prospects of becoming a contributing member of society approach zero.

    I’m still against the death penalty, though.

  36. Alice Bowie,

    Whoa! I’m not saying we should take these guys out and shoot them. The government should never have the right to take the life of its citizens.

    All I am saying is that the list was created to monitor people who are a danger to society in the eyes of the lawmakers.

    To me, that technically means that the authorities are willfully putting the citizenry in danger. The ex-cons are dangerous (by the authority’s standard, enough to track them anyway) and being let out into the general public.

    I don’t want this to be construed as shilling for longer sentences. I just don’t know how these people justify to themselves the logical paradox presented above.

    But fuck it, I am never having kids anyway. The thought of my children being slaves to a militaristic dictatorship makes me want to vomit.

  37. Shouldn’t it be possible to criminalize sexual assaults and deal with the offenders through the criminal system? It’s not as fun as the vigilante stuff, I suppose.

  38. But fuck it, I am never having kids anyway. The thought of my children being slaves to a militaristic dictatorship makes me want to vomit.

    Taktix?
    Sometimes I regret being childless. Other times I’m grateful. Lately it’s been more of the latter. Thanks, America.

  39. A related point. As a society, we seem to have completely given up on rehabilitation. Those that claim “The United States was founded as a Christian nation” are at the forefront of this mindset.

    Of course, I’m an atheist so I have no foundation for, claim to, morality.

  40. I’m coming around to believing that Big Police State is a direct result of the majority’s inability to accept that Shit Happens.

    It’s a particularly idiotic form of hindsight. After analyzing all the conditions that feed into a tragedy, you work out a set of circumstances that would have stopped it from happening – and try to legislate those circumstances for all vaguely similar events until the end of time.

  41. Aresen –

    I keep thinking Caligula myself….

  42. Had my 1st Kid @ 43….@42…Iwould have laughed @ d idea of hav’n kids

    Taktix?…U never know

  43. If we STILL believe in INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY…then we should b-lieve in a NO-Scarlet Letter society.

    Yes…85% of prisons R Black…should we deny housing, work, fringes 2 black people…We don’t.

  44. The Stats R Equal ….

    80% of sex offenders offend again
    85% of prisoners R black

    Why shit…if u just harrassed every black guy that got off a bus or train, u would probably catch a lot with outstanding warrants, $10 bag of weed, etc.

    This is what Adolf Guiliani did in NYC>

  45. I think Jacob Sullum established that sex offenders actually are less likely than regular criminals to offend again.

    Secondly, if you done your time, that should be it. OTOH, if you are out on parole, a concept I think shouldn’t exist, then you should be on the list because you ain’t done your time yet.

    The list reminds me of the gun registration records. Had an unregistered .38 swiped a few years ago and I was reluctant to mention that to the Sheriff. He knew I was beating around the bush so he came right out and told me that there were so many guns registered that anything older than five years was purged anyway so nobody would know I had an unregistered handgun so give me the serial number please.

    That was a while ago. Before the widespread digitization of the world commenced.

  46. I don’t have much to add here, except to say that I am a database developer who works with “lists” very similar to what is being described here.

    Some of the people I have worked with who handle similar data have little to no real technical expertise at all. It’s worrisome.

    Dr. Amble seems like an uncommonly clued-in clinician.

  47. Another question that comes to mind:

    What is the point of a distance restriction? Will a sex offender say “you know, I’d really like to go pick up a little girl from the playground and molest her, but 1/3rd of a mile is an awfully long way to walk. Guess I’ll just forget about the whole thing”

    (and no, increasing the distance will not make this hypothetical any less ridiculous)

  48. What is the point of a distance restriction?

    I think they picked this tip up from the drug warriors.

    Make a distance restriction, then make the distances bigger over time.

    Next thing you know, you’ve expanded the range to the whole town or neighborhood or whatever. Easy as 1, 2, 3. No laws passed, just hands off “for the children” crapola.

  49. Taktix — In many cases, the current distance restriction effectively makes entire towns off limits. Which leads to things here in Miami like sex offenders living under bridges because theres literally no place they can live.

  50. But if we put the children in prison too, they’re in even greater danger of being assaulted. If we just put adults in prison, who’s going to prevent the kids from going all Lord of the Flies?

    Oh, it’s okay – the Mongolians will take care of them…

  51. ‘The List’ is quite difficult to live with. I’m a drug felon who can’t get a job doing deliveries, because of my record. I also got refused a job doing software support for the same reason. Basically, any job besides day labor or short order cook won’t let you be a felon. I can’t cook. The allure of the drug trade continues…

  52. Sometimes I regret being childless.

    Puh-leeze. We call that “child-free.”

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