Patricia Borden, Director
Arizonans for Rational Sex Offense Laws
PO Box 10551, Phoenix, AZ 85064
623-296-2904 [email protected]
Arizonans for Rational Sex Offense Laws wholeheartedly supports this rule change petition. As the only nonprofit organization in Arizona empowering people living on the sexual offense registry and their loved ones through education, advocacy, and support, we know first-hand that our communities are no safer despite the imposition of harsher and harsher penalties by the current criminal justice system. On the other hand, Restorative Justice is a system that works - it honors the victims wishes while protecting the rights of victims and the accused alike. It also protects communities by preventing crime since the responsible person can be held accountable in ways which lower recidivism such as various treatment and educational opportunities as opposed to harsh prison sentences.
This is especially true for the 90% of sexual offenses which are committed by a loved one or someone close to the victim. In these cases, many victims are hesitant to report the abuse because they don’t want the person responsible to go to prison and may not even want them out of their life. And perpetrators are hesitant to seek treatment out of fear of the consequences. Therefore, no one is held accountable, and the offending may continue. Notably, a recent survey of 1500 victims of violent crime shows that 75% of those who report victimization ‘Prefer holding people accountable through options beyond prison, such as restorative justice, community service, and treatment for mental illness or substance use disorders ‘. [http://tinyurl.com/WhatVictimsWant]
Additionally, extensive research proves Restorative Justice keeps communities safer. For example, see Beyond Fear: The Sex Crimes Podcast, Episode 9: Why Should I Care? (https://beyondfearpodcast.com/2020/09/09/why-should-i-care/) by Dr. Alisa Ackerman and Dr. Alexa Sardinia both of whom are experts on sex crime policy and restorative justice.
On behalf of our hundreds of participants and the over 14,000 people on Arizona’s sexual offense registry, we urge you to adopt this rule change petition because, by valuing the needs of stakeholders in the criminal justice process, Restorative Justice is an idea whose time has come. We would be happy to answer any questions or provide additional data. Thank you for your consideration.