Posts Tagged ‘georgia’

Cobb county Georgia just got a wake up call. This prosperous area North West of Atlanta has a problem. Sex-offenders just released from prison are setting up a communal camp in the woods. Nothing new right? Just some homeless guys living under a tarp. This is a feature in any city. Except these unfortunate men were directed there by their probation officers.

How can this be? What rules govern a situation where the government is telling sex-offenders to live in the woods like animals? Georgia’s tough laws regulating where they can live and work require offenders to be 1,000 feet away from schools, churches, parks, or other places that children can gather. This requirement also means that churches cannot house the men, or even offer them religious help in this troubling time in their lives. Many homeless shelters do not meet the distance requirement to house the sex-offenders. Those few that do have a ridiculously small capacity (2) or charge $60 a week for rent.

Even men who have family, a house, a support network waiting for them when they get out; are required to go camp in the woods.  So what can be done?

Obviously the state needs to re-evaluate its release policy first of all. Maybe a distance requirement can be reduced or amended for those offenders just coming out of prison and needing temporary housing. Allowing them access to the services they need, will help them tremendously in becoming productive members of society again. I know this first hand.

In my work at the Syracuse Rescue Mission, a  non-profit shelter that provides help to homeless individuals, ranging  from clothes, job searching, recreation, recovery, and much more; I saw who was able to move on the fastest. The men who were referred to us by probation consistently established the contacts they needed to move on faster than the men who were just on the streets. Think about it. These men who were in prison have had time to think about what they need to do when they get out. Who they need to contact, which programs they need to sign up for. The men on the street are given the same information by their case manager, but they are also dealing with the daily hardships of life on the streets. Guys on probation come to the shelter, work with their case manager, do what they need to do, and are in and out in three weeks.

Georgia needs to work more closely with other private sector non-profits to set up a successful program for newly released sex-offenders. This would also provide the men with counseling, care, and the dignity they need to get back on their feet. Not forcing them to live like animals in the woods. Whatever they do, they need to do something to fix this inhumane treatment of this already mistreated section of society.

Please understand, as a father to a little boy, I do not condone what they have done that sent them to prison. But now that they are out, we need to treat them with basic human dignity, and give them a chance to redeem themselves.

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I watched the last half of the Democratic National Convention last night. I saw the part where truck driver Republicans said they would vote Obama and Barack’s speach. Well…what now. We get to see the Republican Convention and endure days of them bashing all of Obama’s ideas. But I guess my question is: besides a few points, what reasonable person could say that what he said is bad. I know there are people out there who legitimately believe that everything Obama says is wrong just because it’s coming from him and not a republican. Someone in my Bible Study said that Obama stands for the opposite of everything he (the guy) believes in. Really? Lower taxes for the middle class. Holding big business accountable and taxing them. Trying to talk to countries before invading them. Yeah, that stuff is crap.

That last one really gets me. I know our foreign policy has seen better days but people freaked out when Obama said he would be willing to talk withanyone if there was a chance for peace.  “I want to have direct talks with countries like Iran and Syria because I don’t believe we can stabilize the region unless not just our friends but also our enemies are involved in these discussions.” Why is that a bad thing. Are things going to get better by ignoring the very people we should be trying to bring to the table. I remember watching Diane Sawyer inside North Korea meeting with some of their top military leaders and them saying, “I really wish Bush would stop calling us evil.” Yes, they may have done some bad things but calling them names from across an ocean is not going to make them want to stop. In fact it may spur them on to even more terrible action. I was once a student ambassador for the US and visited two countries. Understanding increases when you just speak with people. If I settled every argument like Bush, I would preemptively punch people in the throat before I confirmed that they had a  WMD in their pocket.

I also think we need to mind our own business. Yes, I know human atrocities abound throughout the world but there are still many happening in our own country that we have not dealt with because we are spending so much time and energy overseas. So Russia invades Georgia. That sucks but what does it have to do with America? Or how about this: Saddam invades Kuwait. What does that have to do with us? Oh yeah, I forgot. OIL. Kinda like how Saudi Arabia has a horrible human rights record but because we have a good business relationship with the royal family we overlook it. And China too. Well, we get so much of our stuff from China I guess it’s OK if they are terrible to their citizens. I guess it seems like I am arguing against myself. China’s human rights violations are not our problem. Why are we the worlds’ policeman?  I am getting off on a tangent here I know. Oh well. Maybe later I will publish my paper on foreign aid and how we should stop that too. Private organizations like World Vision do a much better job than the US Government. Anyway, I suppose I will end here before I go any farther. As always, I welcome your comments and arguments as long as they make sense and aren’t just insults.