I received something from an organization the other day which reminded me that many times family members wish to help their incarcerated loved ones, but are at a loss as to what, if anything, they may do. Particularly those whose loved ones are incarcerated as ‘sex offenders’, or “SO’s”. I thought I would pass along some information and resources to those who have recently started reading these pages and anyone else who might be unaware of the existence of these fine groups. Contacting them directly and inquiring as to how you may help your loved one is something that may be found to help you deal with the absence of your husband, father, brother, uncle, or other family member, friend, or loved one.
The something I received was a template for a letter to be addressed to each recipient’s U.S. Senator regarding a proposed bill for ‘earned time’ credits with which federal inmates can reduce their time of incarceration. The bill, as proposed, EXCLUDES many inmates for a variety of different reasons, those convicted of crimes of violence, career criminals, and terrorists among them. Also included in that group are those convicted of “all sex offenses.” The letter, which was very well written, addresses the fact that this is unfair to “SO’s” for a variety of reasons; chief among them the fact that sex offender recidivism rates are the lowest of ANY CLASS OF CRIME IN THE COUNTRY. Sex offenders are currently excluded from many, many programs which can reduce the time they spend in prison, and this should be the case for those convicted of sexual assault and sexual crimes of violence, but there are many, many people in prison who deserve the same opportunities at redemption and reduction of sentences as those who are ‘merely non-violent drug dealers’. Don’t even get me started on the death and destruction this ‘overly prosecuted’ group reigns down on this country and its citizens.
The first group I will mention, which is the one from which I received the letter is CAUTIONclick.com. They are located near Buffalo, NY, and they sent me the template for a very well written letter. I encourage you all to obtain it, print it, and send it. Share the information as well. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can request being added to their mailing list. Contact them and ask for a copy of their letter re: Earned time credits.
The second group, and one which I have seen remarkable growth in over the last 4 years is Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL). Their link is: http://reformsexoffenderlaws.org/ and it is possible for you to go there and sign up for a digital copy of their newsletter, as well as sign your incarcerated loved one up for their print version as well. It is full of useful news, links to publications and articles of interest, and actions being taken to combat some of the ridiculously restrictive and unfair laws targeting SO’s and their families. They have lists of individual state chapters and how to contact them to help in your own state. Some of the state chapters are extremely effective and well-run and can be sources of information on how to obtain change in your own state. The Texas chapter, “TEXAS VOICES” is one very good example, as is the Arkansas “TIME AFTER TIME” chapter. (To the rest, I intend no slight at your efforts. You are ALL fantastic!)
There is also “Women Against The Registry” (W.A.R.) and “SOSEN” (Which I am not all that familiar with, and I apologize).
Contact all of these groups and spread the word to others you know who may be interested. The problems facing those who are required to register as sex offenders after release continue to grow, but these groups are working to stem the tide and reverse the flow and have been meeting with some tremendous successes as of late. My heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you.
You may not be able to do much, but you can all do something. Please do what you can!
May God bless you and your families.
And to the Mother of a relatively new inhabitant of my unit by the name of Brandon: Thanks for the bookmark! I like your son and I am sorry he is in here. Like many I meet and pray for daily, Brandon could have been dealt with differently. There MUST be a better way than this to solve the problem this country faces. Supporting these hardworking people in RSOL and the rest can help to find it.
Federal Correctional Center
Oakdale, LA 71463
TODAY IS… A Gift From God ~ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKKL1RE