Is there any more emotive subject than a sex offender living among us?
Apparently not, based on the righteous fury emanating from the Hutt Valley community of Maungaraki, complete with all the local MPs and mayors piling in.
Nobody wants to hear about monitoring and rehabilitation when these issues flare up.
Naturally sex offenders are the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth etc – so reviled they have to be housed in protection in prison from the other inmates.
The problem is these people have to be freed one day, whether they’ve completed any rehabilitation at all. And being released means they have to live somewhere.But, and here’s the big but, I just can’t bring myself to support a public child sex offender register – sitting on a website, open to everyone, outlining who they are, what they’ve done and where they live.
Imagine it. These offenders would have a target on their forehead – shoot me here and shoot me now. It would only encourage the vigilantes to go after them and who knows how far that could go. Maybe murder.
A grown-up and responsible functioning society can’t allow that to happen.Yes we need a register and indeed one is coming – but it’s going to be private and shared among the agencies tasked with managing these people once they’re out.
We saw that this week in Maungaraki as locals protested against a child sex offender being placed in their street.
Corrections has completely stuffed up this case – and please don’t bother blaming the third-party service provider – you must take responsibility for it. No wonder we have little confidence in Corrections.
They broke their own rules by placing the offender next to a family and just 600 metres down the road from a school.
Never mind that this guy hasn’t offended in 10 years – the court still considers him a threat in its most recent judgment.
Clearly Corrections need a total overhaul of how, and where, they place these people.
Once again they completely failed in this instance. The only thing that saved them this time was they had told a few important people. They got that right. And they must continue to do this.
Local mayor Ray Wallace, National MP Chris Bishop and Labour’s Trevor Mallard knew about the offender’s placement and they all made a real public fuss on behalf of their voters.
It didn’t require a public register of child sex offenders to see him relocated back to a house on the grounds of Christchurch Men’s Prison – all it took was community knowledge (and a mini uprising).
Communities must know and we must be told when a child sex offender is placed not far from us.
We need to be able to assess the risks to our families. It is our right.
We must always be told who has moved in and what their background is.
The rights of law-abiding citizens and their families in my view outweigh the privacy of the child sex offender. But we don’t need a name-and-shame website to make this happen.
The answer must include a solution where people that are considered active threats to the community are not placed within the community. Society doesn’t owe these people a chance to prove them wrong. They can remain well away from other people and under complete supervision.
– Duncan Garner, Stuff