So today I got my marching papers. I am to arrive in Seattle on the 14th. I called my CCO, or the one I guess may be my CCO, to try to arrange for approval prior to my arrival to Seattle. I am trying to go back to the home I lived in for a year and the owner of the house has been very supportive in trying to help me find housing. He offered me a home outside of Seattle, one in the Virgin Islands and another he has just outside the area where I lived before. He is a good man, who has been very helpful in helping me not live on the streets. But, each time the DOC has chosen making me homeless over helping find or in approving housing in a timely matter such that the opportunity may not be lost.
DOC's 10 day housing approval metric, turns into at minimum 2 business week days. How many business minded landlords would be willing to hold an apartment or home that long without some type of guarantee. Every housing unit that I had successfully approved, even after digging deep to find an opportunity found that 2 weeks to hold a place just-in-case, was an unacceptable business practice.
When I contemplate what has happened to me during this experience, I cannot help but recognize, that being convicted of a sex crime in Washington carries with it the automatic pulse of not being able to find work, housing or very little educational opportunities. Although, it may be true that the sex-offender legislation in of itself does not create a housing or employment problem, but the extreme hyper sensitivity of the actual sex offender designation does. At least here in Washington. Let me give you an example: I recently replied to a room for rent advertiser on CraigsList in Seattle, who had a basement room to rent. My letter was straight forward and to the point. I wrote:
My name is Mike, I am a business type, who ended up moving to Arizona this summer and now am returning to Washington by this Monday.
I see you are still renting your room, I am very interested in renting the room. I am a sex offender so I have to register where I live. I am as well gay, but I do not date. If this situation is acceptable, I would be interested in calling you about your room.
and then I received this reply:
"you must be crazy, i wouldnt let you be anywhere near my daughter."
of which I replied:
I am so sorry. Your ad had no indication that a daughter was there. Also, I assure you I am gay and that any fear about issues surrounding a sex offender, in my case, is one that would not be in place in my situation.
Thank You for revealing your concerns, as I as well share issues concerning safety for everyone.
The courts here are obsessed with justifying that such a little incidence of a renter not wanting to rent as a business proposition, fails to ignore the most important issue of the responders email, Her willingness to compel a belief.
Here in Arizona, self-proclaimed having the toughest sex-offender laws in the country, I have found both a job and have actually felt very little ability to live a life after conviction.
I have while waiting in the DOC office each week have talked to many people who are sex offenders who have informed me that once leaving the prison system, they where put into half-way houses, when they have had no place to stay. They tell me about job opportunities and on the job training programs, especially ones that do not exclude sex offenders. Then I begin to wonder - wait I saw none of this in Seattle. NONE. Nor have I heard any such programs even after inquiring.
I find it preposterous to believe that a system so concerned about community safety has only one contingency plan, mane sex offenders with so much regulation and oversight, then turn a blind-eye or have a pampas attitude when these offenders have no options to live life. I remember vividly what my second CCO told me, "It appears society wants us to arrest you."
I think he is absolutely wrong!
Society wants government to make society safe by finding and arresting people who have committed crimes. Arresting sex offenders on a hyper sensitivity of rules in the community, does not make society any safer than the renters belief, that due to me having to register as a sex offender, made me automatically wanting to seek out her one year old daughter, who I never even knew lived with her. You have to ask, was she simply just being proactive, or being reactive?
Unfortunately, the answer is the latter, for she didn't gather facts, she reacted in a perverted manner by dealing with a label as the only indicator needed in the molestation of her daughter. One truly does not lead to the other. Now that is pretty perverted thought. I wonder if she would have had the same reaction if I was labeled as a wife beater, a husband beater, a drug dealer, a drug user, a alcoholic ...