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Warning: unpopular view

This really bothers me..

If the Sex Offenders Register has taught us anything, it's that people will plead guilty to crimes that they might not strictly be guilty of if it means getting out of a custodial sentence (or indeed lessens the sentence in any way).

That means people who streak might get arrested, and in order to save the time and effort of a court case about it, they'll get a warning, get put on the sex offenders register, and that's that.

So what happens when a woman punches a man in the face, he punches her back, she makes a complaint to the police, and he cops a guilty plea to save the effort of having to go to court and try to argue "She hit me first!"?

I'm not suggesting that this is typical of domestic abuse cases. Obviously in a majority of cases, the guy is a violent asshole who wants to be put away.

But my point is, we tend to let people get off with lesser punishments so long as they sign up to a register that says they're a Bad Person. It's a flaw in the system, and it seems like one that they want to reproduce..

So in the example, the woman hit the guy, the guy shouldn't have struck her back but he did, and in order to avoid the publicity, he'll sign up to a list that says he's a domestic abuser.

It just doesn't sit right with me that they'd create a list like that, and potentially put people onto it who don't belong there. The sex offenders register is full of people who haven't committed sex offences, they've gone skinny dipping, or streaking, or whatever - so creating a list for innocent people to be forced to sign to say they beat women just sounds.. well.. unjust..

When I think about how the justice system works, I think I would rather that some people slipped through the net and we just tried harder to catch them, than casting the net too wide and snaring innocent people in it. Punishing an innocent person in order to catch another two guilty people isn't an acceptable trade. Knowingly introducing a system that will see people falsely accused isn't my idea of justice.

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I see what you're saying. Living where I do and knowing what I do about what goes on, I can see how it would easily be abused here. And, very quickly, just about everyone in the city would be on the register. We're awesome here.

I see your points. And at the same time... part of me also understands the (potential) benefit. That's the eternal optimist in me that hasn't been drowned in cold medicine yet this evening.

I'm generally against any new measure which seeks to list people whether for the apparent purpose of preventing some future event or not.

I understand that people are scared of sex offenders living near them and so that leads to a list of people the police can keep tabs on. But really, when you have people who run down the road naked classed in the same way as "people" who abduct and abuse kids the system's already gone really wrong. That just seems to lead to a culture of more fear and being guilty until proven innocent. "He was streaking today, but tomorrow it'll be our kids".

If they can't get that right then how on earth do they plan to get this right? If a man comes at a woman with a knife, but he trips and cracks his head open does the woman go on the list? Would the man if the roles were reversed? Does that then affect the kind of job they hold down where they can go, who they can date?

It's just all getting beyond ridiculous. 1984 should become required reading in schools.

Edited at 2009-03-10 12:01 am (UTC)

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