Michigan Citizens For Justice (MCFJ) is a group that offers support and information for people convicted of sex offenses and their families. There is much stigma and many overly-strict laws in our society that make it difficult for these people. These laws can actually have seriously negative effects not only for those directly affected, but on their families, and on the safety of the public. Laws that restrict where people can live or work often backfire and create homelessness and joblessness, creating additional problems for society and potentially additional crimes.
Many people are kept restricted from society, but who are no harm to society. They may have been falsely accused, they may have ignorantly done a sexual act as a child, the offense may have been consensual underage sex, or the offense may have occurred decades ago. Throwing all these people into the general sex offender pool does not promote public safety. It distracts authorities from those who are truly dangerous, as we have seen in many very public cases.
We help people understand and obey the existing laws while, at the same time, work to reform the laws so that citizens can reach their full potential and be safe. We would hope to see reform and revisions in the law, limiting registry access strictly to law enforcement agencies; reversing retroactively applied restrictions; increasing public safety by reducing sexual offenses; and reducing acts of discrimination, hatred, and violence directed to those on the Registry.
The general public needs to be educated about these problems, so they are aware that not everyone convicted of a sex offense is a danger to their neighborhood or is someone to fear. Many have been caught up in situations that have forced them to register because of the way these laws work. If a person could look up each individual case and get the details, this would be apparent, and most people would be appalled to see that the authorities are focusing on the wrong individuals, and can’t pay sufficient attention to individuals who have a high risk of re-offending.