December 17, 2017

Sex Offenders Should Be Treated Like Murderers

Sex Offenders Should Be Treated Like Murderers

Philip and Nancy Garrido

As I’ve followed the Jaycee Dugard story, the Lake Tahoe girl who was abducted in 1991 at age 11 and held captive for 18 years by Nancy and Philip Garrido, I’ve been maddened like most Americans to learn of the layers of mistakes that allowed nearly two decades of the poor girl’s life to be taken. But the larger problems within our prison system are where the ultimate changes need to occur.

Watching the footage of police officers searching then parolee Philip Garrido’s home, where Jaycee was supposedly feet away, was frustrating and where many people are focusing most their blame.  Many accuse the officers for not seeing what was right in front of them.  Yet, there were so many distractions- a house so cluttered it should be featured on Hoarders, a chatty Nancy Garrido trying to sidetrack the probing officers, just to name two.

Yes, to visit a home 60 times and not find Dugard is outrageous, but it reminds me of human nature: we are subjective, prone to error.  I’m sure none of those officers are malicious and I’m certain they’ve kicked themselves after the fact for not finding Jaycee then.

The fact that two officers finally noticed Jaycee while on the uncluttered, wide-open campus of UC Berkeley is finally when this story took a hopeful turn.

Since humans do make errors, we need to look at the larger system and what decisions we can make that take human error out of the equation.

Sex offenders do not have a great rehabilitation record, if at all.  As a society, we need to help victims of sexual abuse while they are still minors, invest in them then to help them rebuild their lives and hopefully stop them from going on to become offenders themselves.

But once adult violent sex offenders are in the prison system, I think they need to be treated as harshly as murderers.  In fact, they may be even worse than murderers. A sex offense is always premeditated.

What really frustrates me about the Garrido case, much more upsetting than the parole officers overlooking Jaycee, is that Garrido was arrested and sentenced to prison as a violent sex offender, and each time he was released from prison early.  Human error in his release is the true travesty, and it’s representative of the thousands of other examples of parolees going on to commit much more heinous crimes than the ones for which they were originally sentenced.

When Garrido served 11 years of a 50-year prison sentence for abducting and repeatedly raping a woman, we should have never heard of him again.

Prisons are overcrowded and there are budget cuts everywhere, so inmates are released for many reasons. But murderers are not released. And once someone makes the choice to offend sexually, to shatter another person’s life, especially a child’s, he or she must be treated the same as a murderer.

New York has led the nation in confining sex offenders long after their prison terms are up. They have been viewed as a model for the rest of the country and heralded by victims’ rights groups.  However, according to the New York Times, “the annual price of housing a sex offender averages more than $100,000, compared with about $26,000 a year for keeping someone in prison, because of the higher costs for programs, treatment and supervised freedoms.”

For starters, I say we do away with these sex offender treatments and supervised freedoms.  That would save 75% of the cost of housing violent sex offenders right there.



  1. Jacquelyn George says:

    I’m so proud of you auntie Julie!! i have been reading all of your stories, and they are all AMAZING!!!! I watched the TV show last night, and it was so sad. :( This article was amazing(once again ;) ) !!

    Keep writing articles!!
    LOVE YOUU!!!! xoxoxo

  2. some who pee’s in public is a sex offender. a 21 year old who has consensual sex with a 17 year old is a sex offender. I would like the punishment to fit the crime.

    But i digress. Murderers don’t have to register on sites to be easily located. I know that a dude a block away finger banged a 16 year old but I can’t find 1 shred of information on the 7 gang members that knifed a 15 year old to death in the park across the street from me.


    I’m not afraid of perverts. I’m afraid of getting knifed by 7 guys and leaving my poor family behind.

    All these people get so fired up over sex offenders, that they basically re-enact the scarlet letter and brand people for life only because it has to do with sex. But the man who punched me in the head 5 times and the man who held a shotgun up to my eye are protected by some veil of criminal rights. If we are going to display criminals for everyone to see, Maybe we can start with the murderers across the street. THEN move on to perverts.

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