Saturday, February 10, 2007

Revealed at last: the true purpose of sex offender laws

I've long suspected that a good bit of sex offender legislation has been less about public safety than about legislatively beating up convicted sex offenders, but what with all the poorly-written legislation (and poorly-considered, as this blog has been recording), it's been hard to prove.

No more.

The folks in the Show-Me State have now shown us conclusively that it is the latter:

Bill would refuse lottery wins for sex offenders

Jefferson City — Registered sex offenders could try their luck at the Missouri Lottery but they wouldn't be able to score a prize under legislation proposed by a Marshfield lawmaker.

Republican Sen. Dan Clemens introduced legislation that would prevent registered sex offenders from winning money in the Missouri Lottery.

The proposal comes about one month after a registered sex offender scored the $14 million jackpot in Florida.

"We thought that was a bad idea," said Gus Wagner, Clemens' chief of staff.

Under the proposal, names of lottery winners would be checked against law enforcement databases.

Registered sex offenders would have to forfeit their winnings to the Missouri Children's Trust Fund, a foundation devoted to preventing child abuse.

The legislation now awaits a committee hearing.

I was told that when this state's sex offender registration and notification law was passed, word flashed around the state prisons that this was but the first step towards the death camps. I think time has probably disabused that notion but laws such as this, laws that having nothing whatsoever to do with public safety but everything with telling the registered sex offender, "We've got you down and out now, and we're just going to keep on kicking you until you snap," will not help. Inferring from what the experts have said about other laws, this law is likely to create more, not less, victims.

Thank you very much, Republican Senator Dan Clemens of Missouri.