So there is a fuss, because the Judges have ruled that sex offenders must be allowed to appeal against their lifetime inclusion on the sex offenders register. The Home Secretary will comply, although she claims not to want to, so will make the right as limited as possible. The People are in uproar, apparently (or it may just be the Mail, it's difficult to tell).
The thing is, the Judges are absolutely right. Those who object point to the abhorrence of allowing people who have committed appalling acts their full freedoms, of allowing them to move freely and undetected in our society. They point out that these people rarely reform, that there is something seriously (and often irrevocably) wrong in their make-up. And they are right, too.
Where the objections to this move fall down, in my opinion, is that they fail to note the non-sequitor in holding up these cases to show that no-one on the sex offenders register should ever be allowed off it. There are two reasons. First, and foremost, is the objection that the criteria for inclusion on the register are far wider than just these singularly disgusting individuals. As we have seen, they are wide enough to include a teenager who sleeps with their teenage crush a little earlier than is legal. It is not enough to argue that the criteria should be adjusted to exclude such "deserving" (or maybe, less undeserving) cases; it would be an impossible task to set out a perfect distinguishing line. There needs to be a mechanism for looking at the offender later in their life and asking why they were convicted, whether they are (genuinely) still a risk, and whether the limits on their freedom imposed by inclusion on the register are still necessary.
The second reason is a more philosophical one. I know, and understand, that these people rarely reform. But there is a world of difference between rarely reforming and never reforming. If we accept that there is a non-zero possibility that these people will one day reform their soul, understand that what they did was wrong, and find the personal strength to change, then we must allow a route for them to demonstrate that this has happened. By all means set a very high standard of proof indeed (although not an impossible one).
If you do not accept this, if you take the view that there is no possibility of reform whatsoever (which, as an aside, would imply that you take a non-Christian outlook on life), then by all means object to the possibility of release from the Register. However, logically speaking, you should also object to them ever being released from prison. In practice, no official register is ever going to completely prevent a predatory rapist or paedophile from meeting up with women and children, so if nothing can be done to change them then there is only one option.
The right outcome, therefore, is to allow someone's inclusion on the register to be reviewed, but (given that the known likelihood of reform is low) to set a very high bar indeed for any such applications, and to take into account the nature of the original offence.
The reason most of the Twitter links in the above post don't work is that @Wokingite/@Spiderplantblog received a number of death threats following the opinions she expressed. Now, I disagree with her on this subject, as is clear from the above, but she was speaking from the heart and simply saying what most of us think. Certainly, the above is my considered view whereas my gut reaction is much closer to hers. She had an absolute right to express them, and to threaten her for her opinions is contemptible.
Voltaire was spot on, and it is a great shame that most people will have no idea what I mean by that reference.