Washington State policy board considering rolling back sex offender punishments

Washington State policy board considering rolling back sex offender punishments

What is it about the Pacific Northwest? Is it the proximity to Vancouver? Is there something in the water? Did we empty our insane asylums and install the former residents as government officials in charge of social policies?


Whatever the reason, Oregon and Washington policies regarding anything alphabet-related are becoming more insane by the day.

I have detailed before, Washington and Oregon have been on a rampage when it comes to overturning any policy that protects civilization. Rampant drug use, homelessness, gender-related policies, and a host of other civilization-destroying decisions have been imposed on the residents of those states, resulting in the rapid decline of Seattle and Portland.

Now, according to a report in the Post Millennial, Washington State is considering easing up on sex offenders, including eliminating community notification laws.

The Post Millennial has learned that Washington’s Sex Offender Policy Board is working with the state’s Sentencing Guideline Commission in an attempt to roll back restrictions and sentence guidelines for sex offenders, claiming “these laws actually undermine public safety, the exact opposite of what lawmakers and the public so confidently assume they accomplish.”

This is on the heels of community blowback from Washington Democrats including Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, releasing level 3 sex offenders, those deemed the “worst of the worst” and most likely to re-offend from high-security facilities to halfway houses in unsuspecting neighborhoods.


The theory is simple: current policies stigmatize sex offenses and sex offenders, making it harder for them to reintegrate into society.

True enough. Unfortunately, our experience shows that in general sex offenders don’t actually integrate back into society all that well. They re-offend, especially Level 3 sex offenders, who are generally understood to be extremely high risk. Here in Minnesota, we have a running battle over what to do with Level 3 sex offenders who were sentenced prior to the time when the legislature imposed harsher sentences that kept them incarcerated for decades.

At least here in Minnesota our lawmakers still understand that society needs to be protected from predators. Washington State officials apparently don’t.

The policies are simply under consideration, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a public backlash so strong that the “reformers” are prevented from implementing their policies. Then again, given how off-the-rails these state governments have become, I wouldn’t be surprised if the proposals get implemented.

A draft of the recommendations for the Model Penal Code obtained by The Post Millennial from a Sept. 21 meeting reveals that the entities are claiming that “those convicted of a sex offense have some of the lowest recidivism rates compared to individuals convicted of a non-sex offense” adding “This is also true for individuals convicted of sex offenses against children.” The document did not cite the pertinent data.

According to the document, “…recidivism rates for these offenses are as low as or lower than for other sex crimes.” Despite acknowledging that “Sex offenses are ‘distinctively unsettling and injurious’ justifying exceptional prevention efforts…punishments like registration, public access, community notification, and residency restrictions conclusively do not reduce recidivism rates.”

The entities claimed that “Reduced reintegration, social support, stable living, steady employment, all undermine rehabilitative efforts and may actually increase registrant recidivism.”


Pedophiles. They want to ease up on pedophiles.

The Department of Justice, which keeps statistics on such matters, does note that recidivism among sex offenders is indeed lower than for many other crimes, but also that it is not that low and is likely undercounted. For arrest and conviction of a new sex offense the rate is measured at about 1 in 4 being caught and convicted of a new crime. Given the nature of the crimes, this is bad enough. Taking into account the fact that this is likely an undercount, it is appalling to think that these offenders aren’t monitored constantly.

And, of course, these recidivism rates happen despite the notification laws and the restrictions on where released sex offenders can live. Letting up on these measures is unconscionable.

Comparing sex offenders to other criminals when it comes to recidivism rates is insane. A sex offense is so grave that in my mind it is comparable to murder. The trauma it leaves behind is lifelong, and except in rare instances (“Romeo and Juliet” situations in which two teenagers of similar age technically violate the law) it bothers me not at all that significant stigma follows someone throughout life.

That is a small price compared to the harm done to the victims.

“What they’re trying to do is align the sentencing of the sex criminals to non-sex offenses. Meaning that they’re taking the seriousness out of both crimes, but they’re taking the sexualized part out of it and they’re saying they’re the same crime, which we know they’re not.”

She noted that Brad Meryhew is the chair of the committee and a defense attorney who represents people who have been charged with sex crimes.


Criminal justice systems can’t work in an idealized way–they always produce some level of injustice, and we could all wish that this weren’t the case.

But the reason is simple: crimes themselves are a breakdown in civilization, and there is no way to simply repair that breakdown. Some criminals reform and should be reintegrated into society ideally; the problem is that there is no way to know who they will be, and doing so perpetrates an injustice, often, to the victims who have been harmed.

If you have to choose between an injustice against the treatment of some truly reformed criminals and an injustice perpetrated against already harmed crime victims it is an easy choice. We could wish it were otherwise, but there it is. We try to balance the costs and benefits of our policies, but look around at the mess we have in our society–criminals are clearly getting the better of the deal, and that is much worse than unnecessarily harming a relatively small number of reformed criminals.

And, of all the criminals in the world, sex offenders are among the worst. I would feel more comfortable and less angry at releasing a murderer (provided he was not a serial killer or a sociopath) than a sex offender. Murders often take place in the context of rage; sex offenders are predators who often calculate to do harm.

Criminal justice reformers–at least those of recent vintage–have done immeasurable damage to society in recent years. Let’s hope this particular group of them is stymied before they wreak more havoc.


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Jazz Shaw 10:01 AM on December 02, 2023