In the comments of a recent article I saw someone reference Dr. Marty Klein as an expert in sexual issues. I had not heard of Dr. Klein, so I did a little digging to see who he was and how he felt about our issues.
It turns out Dr. Klein is a renowned expert and lecturer on sexual topics. He’s a forensic expert who has written 7 books on topics such as pornography and even one called “America’s War on Sex”, which I feel I’ve been battling for decades now.
I came across one of his twitter posts, in which he wrote, “Lifetime
#SexOffender registration is far worse than jail–so why are people trying to recall Judge Persky?” He wrote this several months ago in response to the public outcry over the Judge who sentenced Brock Turner, the Stanford student who received what many perceived as an overly lenient sentence for a sexual assault.
However, to anyone on the registry, a sentence of life on the sex offender registry is tantamount to a death sentence. Sure you are still alive, but you are socially dead, professionally dead and because of the extreme stigma, dead to many friends and family who fear that the association to you will destroy them also.
Dr. Klein explained his comments by saying, “As a lifetime registered sex offender, Brock Turner’s life is pretty much over. Months in jail, years in jail—as awful as that is, it’s most certainly LESS awful than being a registered sex offender for life… And by pretending that lifetime sex offender registration is a light sentence or a trivial detail, we continue to dehumanize those whose lives are ruined by it. While three years in prison may feel like a lifetime, it’s absolutely nothing in comparison to spending an actual lifetime as a registered sex offender.”
I’ve often wondered which element of my punishment was worse. Prison or being on the registry?
I did three years in prison. Sure, it was awful being separated from my family and the accommodations were horrible, but I survived. Each day I was able to cross another day off my calendar and know that this would eventually end. But the registry (in Florida, at least) is not like that. There is no end in sight and it seems that every year the government-imposed torture becomes worse.
If I could do some extra time in prison as a substitute for a lifetime on the registry would I take it? Would I even take five more years just to know that I’ll eventually be able to come out and become employable again, be able to live wherever a want, or not walk around my community with this palpable cloud lingering around me? Hell yes I would!
For more information about Dr. Kline: https://www.martyklein.com