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Sex Offenders Get Scarlet Pumpkin for Halloween

As part of their parole, Maryland sex offenders must display a pumpkin sign that states "No candy at this residence." Along with posting the warning sign, the violent and child-sex offenders must also stay in their homes on Halloween, keep the lights off, and not answer the door. The state has distributed warnings to families, telling them to stay away from homes with the pumpkins.

The ACLU is currently challenging an identical Missouri law, claiming the provisions are too vague to enforce and add punishment to sentences already served. While parents and the community must protect children, do you think rehabilitated sex-offenders have a right to some privacy? Does fear go too far in trampling the rights of these ex-cons, or did they give up those rights?

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pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
snowbunny are you serious? wow so both the boy and the girl would be accused of mutually raping each other?!? And I do agree with this measure. It has been shown that sex offenders have the lowest re-habilitation rate, basically that no matter how much you punish, counsel, or even chemically castrate them they will go back to their crimes because it is a compulsion for them. It is a sickness, basically, a mental illness with very grave consequences. And while we can feel sorry for them we do have to protect our children.
Xemena Xemena 8 years
they gave up their rights
Xemena Xemena 8 years
they gave up their rights
CYL CYL 8 years
I agree with Berlin. "it's more of an addiction or a habit/preference. Just think of a serial murderer. They can go to prison for 1 murder, get out after serving their crime, and can or will very probably resume the craving for murder shortly thereafter. " Depends on the sex offender but for many rapists and child molesters that is the sad reality for them. Their attraction to children or urge to rape is what a 25 year old man would feel for a 25 year old female. So how can you supress that forever except take their temptations away? I think its a good idea.
liciababe liciababe 8 years
haven't ever really thought about it before but I think that its a good idea and an extra safty measure for both the kids and offenders whos problem is an inablilty to control themselves and this helps to eliminate the temptation and there are different levels of sex offenders, at least here, you can be considered a sex offender for peeing in a park if there are kids around and ya there are flaws with the idea- its not like you can't just take the pumpkin down- but i think that if the program keeps just one kid from being harmed then its totally worth, tough shit for the sex offender
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Undave- would you prosecute two minors who had sex with each other, below the age of consent? It sounds silly, but in Arizona two minors cannot legally have sex with each other, and though it is rare, people have been prosecuted for this as sex offenders. You can still be guilty of having sex with a minor, even if you are a minor. And the point is, these people HAVE done their time! Even murderers are completely free after they have done their time. With sexual predators who target young children, rehabilitation is not very successful, and children are especially vulnerable victims, for obvious reasons. The pumpkins, and similar post-"time served" restrictions are really supposed to protect the kids, not serve as a further punishment for the offenders (as vile as they may be). In my opinion, if they do incidentally punish the offenders, it is worth it as long as the restrictions are reasonable and do protect children. Since these restrictions aren't supposed to be punishment- they are aimed at warning about dangerous people who cannot be rehabilitated- a pragmatic concern. This concern certainly does not apply to some idiot frat boy who was caught streaking during a rush event, and is now considered a "sex offender," so that is why I was interested in knowing if there is an official way to distinguish between people with a known history of sex abuse against kids and people who don't have that history.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
It depends on the offense. I do think that, for the safety of children who might be wandering about unsupervised (or lightly supervised) that night, a warning could be useful on the homes of violent offenders and pedophiles. I think that as far as a class of crimes go, sex crimes aren't just one-time offenses like vandalism or punching some guy at a bar--they indicate a deeper problem that may (probably does, considering recidivism rates) not have been solved during incarceration, and children's safety comes first. With that being said, parents themselves have to make sure their children understand what the signs mean, and take them seriously.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Agreed. Allegedly it only applies to "violent and child-sex offenders"
chancleta chancleta 8 years
It doesn't matter if they served their time...if they have a history of committing criminal acts against children then they should mark their door. The only real arguement here is weather or not the rule applies to all sex offenders or only sex offenders who assulted a child with out consent.
chancleta chancleta 8 years
A necessary (albeit imperfect) evil. Better to err to the side of caution than risk the well beings of innocent children.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Cant wait till the ACLU gets rid of crap like this.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
When I was 18, I could rent a car. Then they changed the age to 21, the month after I turne 21. I almost expected them to change the age to 25 when I turned 25, I lobbied hard for that, but alas, they didn't listen to me on that one.... ;)
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
I think some 18 year olds in high school who live at home with mommy and daddy do think they are adults but in a lot of cases they are wrong I mean they can vote and go to war, but they can't rent a car among other things and no I don't think most 19 year olds are adults either for the most part. For the most part this is a parenting issue not a sex crime issue. I think that each state needs to reassess the ages and in most cases raise them. And of course some 18 year olds are rapist but they are usually rapist in the real sense of the word. This is a perfect case of someone being railroaded by bad laws ( race played a part in this too)
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I might agree basty, but then do we change the age to 19? I understand that most of the people charged with "statutory" may not be real sex offenders, but some are. I just think we need to have more accountability in this great country. If you want to be considered an adult, act like one. If that means you can't have sex with your girlfriend if she isn't old enough, then don't. It's not that difficult.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Actually there are levels of sex offenders dependant on the state, however most of the rules are the same. The levels just denote if you are a statutory rapist, full fledged predator, or repeat offender.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
People turn 18 in high school and I find it hard to believe that anyone who attends high school is an adult regardless of their age. I think a 15 year old in a relationship with and 18 year old high school student is in a relationship with an intellectual equal in most cases unless this person actually commits rape and not statutory rape this person will never be a real "sex offender" in my book regardless of that the law says.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
The laws around sex offences are to broad and they should have "romeo/juliet" laws in every state when kids are in the same high school and they have sex with each other that should not be a crime regardless of age..teens having sex with teens is not a legal issue it's a parental issue and should be handled as such. However since the law is what is is if the terms of your parole are not to be in xyz amount of feet from children then it makes sense for an offender to have the sign up,because not to do so and open the door for children would be a violation of their parole so in some ways its protecting the offender ( I know weird). My issue with this is that the "offender" is not allowed outside on Halloween you cannot jail a person for a second time in this way, I mean doesn't the offender venture out everyday into the world isn't' there always a possibility of them coming in to some sort of contact with children?
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I meant unreasonable not unrealistic.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
An 18 year old and a 17 year old having sex they consent to but their parents might not should not be considered a crime. The laws are unrealistic in that case.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
Undave and Mich-Your arguments are the problem with this law. Who do we mark with a pumpkin? Those who molested tots of trick or treating age, or everyone who falls under the sex offender category? It seems to me to be more trouble than it is worth. I also have a problem with marking peoples homes who have already served their time for a crime. Regardless of the disgusting nature of that crime. I will be taking my two children trick or treating, walking to the door with them as they go house to house. If I want to, I can go to the sex offender registry in my state and find out if any sex offenders live in the neighborhood where we will be trick or treating. I know it isn't always accurate, but it is an option. Children who may be at an age where they are susceptible to being abducted by a sex offender should be trick or treating with their parents. Not out wandering the streets past dark alone.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Mich - What don't you understand? If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. There aren't levels. I don't think there should be. If you harm even one kid, that's too many. Also, how do you decide what the levels are? You hurt a teenager, so, that's ok. You hurt a preteen, so you get the max. It doesn't matter that both kids are now scarred for life? Where and who draws the lines as to what is less of a crime? That's a very slippery slope, and I personally don't like to have the legal system on any kind of slope.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Ditto to Mich. Does anyone know if there are "levels" of sex offenders, or if the pumpkin rule applies to everyone?
Michelann Michelann 8 years
That doesn't really make sense, Dave. I'm not even sure I like the measures, but certainly the only justification for it is to protect children. If children aren't in any danger, why would you waste everybody's time and energy to enforce the law? Perhaps this law should be narrowed so that only a certain class of sex offenders has to comply.
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