Tuesday, January 27, 2015

CO - Should we stop labeling people 'sex offenders?'

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Original Article (Video available)

01/17/2015

By Melissa Blasius

KUSA - A state regulatory board debated Friday whether the label "sex offender" was too stigmatizing to people who committed sex crimes.

Colorado's Sex Offender Management Board regulates treatment, rehabilitation, and monitoring of sex offenders. Friday's board meeting included a vote whether to eliminate the word "sex offender" from the board's official policies. Suggestions for replacement words included "clients," "defendants" and "individuals."

Ultimately, the board chose to continuing using the term "sex offender," but member also agreed to use other terms interchangeably as they revised written regulations. The decision came after more than an hour of debate, including comments from relatives of sex offenders, victim advocates and a local prosecutor.

"People who have committed a sexual offense will have a much better chance of revising their lives and moving in a different direction if they don't have the stigma of sex offender hanging over their heads," said Susan Walker. She is the director of an advocacy group called Coalition for Sex Offense Restoration.


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