Both sides are being heard, which is encouraging. One opinion, printed yesterday in the Muskogee Phoenix and titled, "Victims first, sex offenders second," ends with this appeal:
"But rather than making state legislators worry about a sex convict’s ability to return to a normal life, the convicts should be thinking about whether their victims will ever be able to return to a normal life."
First, a victim's ability to return to a normal life is not dependent on the outcome of the offender. Ask Elizabeth Smart. Ask Jaycee Dugard. Ask Jacob Wetterling's mom. Ask other high profile victims and thousands of low-profile ones who chose not to remain victims and who chose not to benefit from their positions of victim or family of victim, and they will tell you that their recovery depended on themselves.
Secondly, we must stop seeing what is best for victims and what is best for former offenders as two separate things. They aren't. It isn't either-or. Research and experts agree that what helps former abusers recover--ability to find employment, find housing, have access to counseling and community services, ability to stay connected with family and community, ability to re-integrate--are the very factors that reduce the risk of recidivism and work toward public safety, less crime, and fewer victims.
It really doesn't seem to be a difficult concept.