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Sunday, April 7, 2013
Inflammatory propaganda — like repeatedly using the word “predator” along with skewed statistics, usually by those seeking re-election, higher office, organizational donations and grants or securing criminal justice jobs — is, sadly, the norm.
Last week, this status quo was perpetuated in the opposing viewpoint, and instead of proposing solutions, clarification is required.
A patently false claim was made of 43 percent recidivism for registered sex offenders. This demonstrates either ignorance or a blatant attempt to obfuscate fact.
Forty-three percent is the national overall recidivism rate of all offenders for various offenses, including administrative and technical probation violations — possibly the inability to retain employment or to pay court fines or child support. It could be drug-, alcohol- or even traffic-related, but is not specific to registered offenders or sexual offenses.
But these facts aren’t scary enough; they don’t support a dire need for a public list of shame, a lifetime of restrictions and the millions of dollars spent to maintain and inflate it annually.
A popular phrase among lawmakers is “the devil is in the details.” This certainly applies to last week’s counterpoint statement.
An artistically arranged omission of fact or twist of percentages to intentionally force a point is otherwise a lie. Do your homework, question lawmakers, confirm their numbers. This doesn’t make you soft on crime; it’s called social — maybe even moral — responsibility.
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