by Derek W. Logue, The Crime Report
On Nov. 19, members of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) took a critical first step in altering the language used to label those convicted of a sexual offense while in treatment towards a “person-first” perspective.
This effort was not without opposition.
The victim advocates and representatives from county prosecutors unsuccessfully attempted to table the vote and even accused members of the SOMB of not following protocols. Ultimately, the SOMB settled on the phrase, “adults who commit sexual offenses.”
This change does not go far enough.
In the words of one prosecutor who testified at the SOMB hearing, it was just a “longer way to say sex offender.” I agree. Furthermore, the phrase implies the SOMB clients are continuously committing offenses.
Victim advocates and prosecutors argued that replacing the term “sex offender” with different terminology “minimizes harm.” Victim advocates, including those currently on the SOMB, had argued they suffer lifelong consequences as victims and therefore those who have committed an offense should also suffer for life.
But this argument merely proves the intent of sex offense treatment schemes and post-conviction laws are to dehumanize and cause enduring harm to those who have committed offenses ...