By John Smith:
I am a registered sex offender. John Smith is not my real name, but I'm using it here. I'm on the registry for a child porn conviction in 2003 for life, and I live in the city of Santa Ana California. I wanted to tell you how Santa Ana runs their registration process, and wondered if we could get some sort of relief.
I give you COMPLETE PERMISSION to print this letter.
Santa Ana requires offenders to come in at a designated point of time in a group to register. Usually, there are about 20 of us. We are required to arrive before 8:00 AM. Once we are all there, they take us to a booking room where they completely frisk us as one would be frisked after being arrested. Afterwards, they take us to another room where we are required to change to a jail uniform and slippers, and our street clothes are actually sorted in an open area. We have to remove our ID's out of our wallet. I haven't been in a process where someone was missing an ID, but I was told that if that happened, the sex offender would be subject to arrest.
After we are put in a jail uniform, we are frisked again to make sure we aren't taking anything like a pen or watch, then we are taken down the corridor through the jail to a cell that is in sight of the other prisoners. They all know that we are RSO's, so they hoot and holler; it seems to be the high point of their week. In the cell, we have to remain while they process us 2 at a time.
During the registration process, two relatively hostile investigators ask questions about what we are doing. They confirm employment and business information. The past couple of years, they have actually called my place of residence as well as my employer while we were sitting there. If we are out of compliance as far as address or employment, then the immediate registration process is terminated and a case is opened to investigate a registration violation. The RSO is then taken to a holding cell to be booked for suspicion of a registration violation.
Now, I know that there is no requirement for those off parole to answer questions. But the overwhelming intimidation factor discourages such actions and we end up telling them about our daily activities, our Internet activities, and they ask us if we ever entered schools (and now parks). I would imagine if we answer yes, they would immediately arrest us.
Once the questions are answered, they go over our registration point by point and make sure we understand each point before making us initial them. They do not allow us to read it beforehand, but make us follow the inquisitive protocol.
Finally, they lead us to the sex offender picture area and take our picture. Keep in mind that we are in our jail uniform, so it looks as if we are active prisoners. We then have to go to the process area and await some administrative tasks (or perhaps they are doing further investigations; I don't know), and finally they make us review all the paperwork before they are finished.
Once we are finished here, we are returned to the jail cell, and the next couple of registrants are taken. At no point are we allowed to leave, and of course the jail has a toilet. The rest of the prisoners get meals; and when they get lunch they taunt us a lot more.
Now keep in mind, we have to sit in a cell with no TV, with no reading material, and no way to communicate with the outside world. Finally, late in the afternoon we are let out of our cell, marched down the corridor past the screaming banshee prisoners, and allowed to get back in our street clothes. Now, I've placed cards in special places in my wallet and also placed a small paper in my money area so if the money were removed, the paper is dislodged. In every case, I found that my wallet had been looked through. (I've since stopped bringing my cell phone because I would bet that they would look through the listings and the history.)
So to recap: at 8:00 we are taken to a booking room, get frisked, have to change to a jail uniform, march us past hardened jail prisoners who know we are RSO's with the ensuing catcalls, locked into a cell with no TV, reading or writing material, led to an interrogation room where they question us about our activities and even call our employers and landlords, take about half an hour to fill out about 10 minutes worth of paperwork, parade us past more prisoners to the photograph area, take our pictures in prison garb, march us back the prisoners, and lock us back in the cell until everyone is processed, released anywhere from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM from the cell, march by the prisoners one more time, change back into our street clothes, and finally released with our paperwork.
Now, I'm off parole. How many constitutional violations has the state committed against me? I can think of several: Illegal search, both of person and of items, illegal incarceration, illegal questioning without benefit of a lawyer, and finally, slander of my character, by posting me in a jail uniform as my registration picture. Don't believe me? Filter the Megans Law list for Santa Ana. Note that most, if not all, registrants are wearing the same jail uniform top, even those who've not been arrested for decades. Call the registrants in Santa Ana.
Unfortunately, I don't have any money to fight this. I've told two lawyers but they wanted several thousand dollars, and the ACLU has not responded to me. And it seems like they are getting more and more bold. It would not surprise me if one day we had to stay the night, which would screw me as I work nights doing inventory, and would hate to lose increasingly hard to get jobs.
Thanks for listening to me. You do understand why I can't give my name, but it should be easy to confirm what I said simply by looking at the Megan's Law site for RSO's in Santa Ana (nearly all are in prison garb), as well as maybe contacting a couple more RSO's to confirm this. I doubt Santa Ana PD will cooperate. Please tell anyone who can help us if you can, and publicize it as well, though I fear that people would LOVE this to happen everywhere.
|Verified, all from this county are wearing the blue or orange jail uniforms|