Letters to the Editor

From the week of December 12, 2002

Of Mice and Men

Lock 'em up:Julie Jargon's article on sex offenders ("Arrested Development," December 5) was well-written and very informative. Nice job! Now let me get to the part of this letter that might offend some people by stating bluntly:

Sex offenders, take notice! Fair treatment and understanding are two things you do not deserve! There is no rehab for you, and you deserve any and all criticism and prejudice that you receive. To me, the idea of letting multiple offenders live under the same roof seems like conspiracy to commit. In addition, this "association" is a violation of the law.

This letter is being written by a "convict." I served two years in prison for burglary and escape, and I can tell you firsthand why sex offenders don't want to be in prison: They are not accepted, and they are richly deserving victims of assaults and sometimes, God willing, murder! Most of the time they are kept in protective custody or in the medical unit because someone got to them. I am in favor of locking these people away forever. And for those who say these people suffer from a disease, then prison is the cure. Sex offenders deserve the worst society has to offer and should not receive a break until they are systematically disposed of the same way you would any cockroach or rat!

Brent Rouse
via the Internet

Erection fraud:I was intrigued by the description of sex offenders in Julie Jargon's "Arrested Development." How T.H.E doesn't have Amnesty International beating down the door is beyond me. The penile plethysmograph is one of the silliest pieces of monitoring technology in "law enforcement." Do they have to explain all of the erections? Imagine having to describe what, exactly, aroused you in the office during the job interview. Or when you were in the grocery store and walked by the newsstand on the way to the produce aisle. T.H.E. might claim that forcing shame is a good thing, but is placing shame on all sexuality really a good idea?

Treatment of sex offenders is something complex and difficult, but when T.H.E. forces negative attitudes about sexuality, are they taking a step in the right direction? It seems that none of these programs work on giving clients a "normal" sex life, and that could be why recidivism is high. If someone were arrested for public urination, would the court program discourage offenders from peeing altogether? Sex is a natural, biological desire and something that would prevent sex offenders from falling back into old habits. Why aren't more programs exploring rehabilitation instead of A Clockwork Orange-style programming?

Ian Derk
Fort Collins

The plague: Sex offenders are a plague on the entire planet with their ability to manipulate, lie, deceive and otherwise ruin their victims' lives. Does Julie Jargon honestly feel she adequately told us the complete story and, more important, helped with making all of us more aware of the importance of controlling this environmental scourge we currently live with?

As a notable former ACLU lawyer stated at the library town meeting regarding the massive sex-offender problem and the devastation sex offenders cause: "The issue of sexual abuse will be one of the horrors of the new millennium, and we'll be shamed by it; and what we do about it will be a measure of how good we're going to feel about ourselves."

This is an enormous, overwhelming public problem. If you're truly interested in learning and understanding the complete story and reporting these facts, for a follow-up story, may I suggest spending time with and talking to a few of the legions of victims these "graduates" have perpetrated upon with their incurable deviate needs?

You truly missed the mark with this convoluted, looking-for-the-bad-guy story. It doesn't even qualify for mediocre sensationalism.

Rich Raney
Denver

The crime of their lives:Greig Veeder's belief that "once a sex offender, always a sex offender" is simply untrue. The majority of the offenders in state-approved treatment programs are incest offenders -- they've molested a child in their family or immediate environment. Although probation is revoked for one reason or another for some 75 percent of these offenders, less than 10 percent have actually committed another sex crime. The exact number might be much lower, but the state will not release the figure. For other types of sex offenders, the recidivism rate rarely rises above 25 percent.

Use of the polygraph (lie detector) to identify child-molesting behavior is inaccurate and, in my opinion, a gross violation of the spirit, if not the actual protection provided to us in the Constitution. If every adult who had a sexual thought about a child was in jail, few of us would be left on the streets. And in professional circles, it is well-known that the polygraph measures anxiety and fear generated by sensitive issues. Sometimes the respondent lies, and sometimes he tells the truth. To the best of my knowledge, it has never been shown that polygraph scores are accurate enough to identify sex offenders and eliminate innocent responders in a useful manner.

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