Thursday, June 09, 2005

Public Shame for Sex Offenders

Below, I posted on the issue of Medicaid coverage of prescription drugs in the US, because I had not been aware that sexual dysfunction drugs like Viagra were covered by this very limited and minimal governmental insurance program for poor people. It just seemed to me to be a very weird priority to use such a limited program to cover something that was not, by any stretch of the imagination, life-threatening.

In the course of the post I referred to the fact that this entire issue came to light because people found that sex offenders were among the Medicaid beneficiaries getting subsidized Viagra. I said that I did not see the point of generally offering it but restricting these people who presumably served their time. (I was arguing that I did not think it should be generally covered at all.) A commenter reacted to this by saying,

"Are you against the public shame programs? Also they haven't served their time, part of their time is public shame for the rest of thier lives. And sexual predator can't be cured from thier problem... it's a mental condition that is incurable. Most psyhcologist would tell you this. So it's not just about publicly shaming them, but about protecting other people from their disease."

Forgive me, but I see a contradiction here. If they are victims of an incurable mental problem, I don't see why sex offenders should be shamed at all. If they are supposed to live in shame for the rest of their lives because of the particular nature of their crime, I don't see how you reconcile it with being a disease.

I still feel that if a person's found guilty of a crime, whatever it is, and that crime has a sentence associated with it, and the person serves his sentence, he's done. I don't really feel that exceptions should be made, because if they are really bad crimes, then the person should have had an indeterminate sentence to begin with.

And I think if a person is found to have a mental disorder that causes him or her to commit violent crimes against others and there is no hope of a cure, the answer would be institutionalization, not public shame.

I am a bit of a civil libertarian, perhaps, and I have been fortunate not to have been a victim of such a crime, so I lack that perspective, but it seems to me that the public shame programs of which I have heard for certain kinds of crimes don't do anything positive.

Sorry for the political interlude - now I will return to the regularly scheduled, very intermittent, posting on educational and language issues.

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Spencer said...

Yup, being a sex offender is really shameful situation as people often talk about you behind your back.

Spencer@Ejaculation-Trainer

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