While not recognized by any court in the United States, the human rights of American citizens are routinely violated by the Adam Walsh Act and its derivative laws. Understandably, a lot of folks look at the situation (as they’re led to believe it to be) and don’t care. Some think that the punishments should be infinitely harsher. What these white knights don’t realize is that this is only a stepping stone, a “dry-run,” into the possibility of eventually removing everyone’s human rights. Now that it’s been done to one group of people, it can be done to another. And another. Only a strong will and a mind of reason will be able to fight this atrocity for all free persons.
Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights…Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966
entry into force 23 March 1976, in accordance with Article 49.
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
Paragraph 1 sums up the biggest impact that the AWA has on its victims:
…freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development…
Those forced onto the registry are prevented from pursuing self-determination. Not because of physical limitations written directly into the law, but because of the mandatory public registry. The extreme negative stigma associated with registration is amplified by sadistic websites that rebroadcast the information – and they face no legal retribution for this.
A forced registrant will have incredible difficulty achieving economic success because of the limited scope of employment available. They are even refused professional licenses in some states and forbidden from being on certain properties. Social and cultural interactions are few because of the ease at which an individual or organization can search the registry and legally discriminate against the registrant.
1. Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant.
The entire [implied] purpose of the AWA is to destroy and deny the rights and freedoms of those forced to register.
2. There shall be no restriction upon or derogation from any of the fundamental human rights recognized or existing in any State Party to the present Covenant pursuant to law, conventions, regulations or custom on the pretext that the present Covenant does not recognize such rights or that it recognizes them to a lesser extent.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.
The public registry, the indefinite commitment clause (see Sub. 2 §20971. Jimmy Ryce Civil Commitment), a potential for lifetime registration punishment, and mandatory minimum imprisonment upon failure to comply are all cruel and degrading treatment for anyone. Considering what humans are capable of doing to each other, the term “inhuman” might not be far off: being denied the right to see your family or loved ones, get married, or even watch your child being born.
Everything about how the law impacts its victims amounts to an inescapable psychological torture that meets or exceeds the requirements of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
According to the US government’s own National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
- Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts
Avoidance symptoms include:
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or “on edge”
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
- Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
There will always be the “what about the victims?” response when discussing the torment that forced registrants endure. For those whose crimes involved a real victim and the victim was traumatized, then that’s a fair question. In those cases, it’s an eye-for-an-eye sort of thing. This site isn’t about victim shaming or trying to demean what someone might go through and we can certainly appreciate the pain that some people suffer. We are not talking about violent, predatory criminals; those offenders are typically sentenced so harshly that they are rarely ever released and thus not even impacted by the AWA’s harsh living conditions. The overwhelming majority of forced registrants are non-habitual, non-violent offenders. Many of whom with no actual victim and others with mere “thought crime” convictions.
To be fair: not everyone forced to register will develop PTSD just as not everyone who is the victim of a crime will either; some people are stronger than others and some have lived through much worse experiences. Developing PTSD is a horrible outcome for anyone to deal with regardless of the circumstance. While the traumatic stress might be similar for both parties, the forward paths and possible futures for both victim and offender diverge sharply and the stark contrast couldn’t be clearer.
The glaring difference between them is that the victim is afforded access to almost unlimited, government sponsored, mental health resources for treatment, thereby also given the potential to cope and move on with their life. The forced registrant, on the other hand, is not so fortunate.
He or she is not readily given easy access to any treatment, outside of what might be required during incarceration, and likely couldn’t afford it even if it was made available. Without the ability to find gainful employment, it is unlikely that most forced registrants will be able to get the help that they need. This leaves them vulnerable, without the ability to cope, and many will turn to substance abuse; potentially leading to recidivism.
The fun doesn’t stop there though. Forced registrants are also: reminded daily about the harsh reality that they must endure for at least 15 years without any possible relief; constantly living in fear of arrest and mandatory imprisonment; and dealing with the anxiety brought on by the fear that potentially every single person you know or love may abandon you at any moment. This forces so many to turn to substance abuse or suicide.
Who do you think has it worse?
2. No one shall be held in servitude.
The act of forcing an individual, against his or her will, to register their personal information (to be made public) and routinely update their registration or face a mandatory minimum imprisonment with an escalating sentence for each occurrence, is nothing more than involuntary servitude. Outlawed by both international human rights law and with the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution. Coincidentally, neither offer any real protection in the United States justice system.
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
Governments have the right to arrest, detain, and, if a conviction warrants, imprison a citizen for a crime committed within its borders. That is where the punishment is supposed to end. The AWA, an additional punishment that does not start until the citizen is released from prison, does not end for many of its registrants (Tier III); it’s a life sentence. The civil commitment clause allows for the indefinite loss of liberty at any time without due process.
No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.
Prior to release from imprisonment/probation, the citizen is forced to sign a legally-binding contract obligating them follow the stipulations of the AWA for a period of time (15 – 25 years) or indefinitely. Upon failure, or inability, to fulfill those contractual obligations, the citizen will be targeted for felony prosecution and imprisoned for a mandatory, fixed amount of time.
1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.
While the act, at the federal level, does not explicitly restrict freedom of movement or residence, it gives way to the states to violate this. In Florida, for example, forced registrants may not live within 1,000 ft. of a school, playground, or park.
2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
The AWA does not explicitly prohibit the freedom to leave the US. It does, however, make it very difficult; in some cases, impossible. The International Megan’s Law amendment in 2016 allows the US to put a flair stamp in the passport issued to a forced registrant. This doesn’t mean you can’t leave, but it makes it exceedingly difficult to enter another country. Those imprisoned indefinitely, without charge, by the Jimmy Ryce clause, are forbidden to leave the country. This is the only instance where the AWA directly affects this right.
Things are different for the unfortunate souls across the Pacific. One of the many US puppet states, Australia has been coerced into adopting their own twisted version of the AWA that violates this human right, among others, directly. Forced registrants are forbidden from receiving a passport entirely thus denying them the ability to leave their own country. Since they are signatories to the ICCPR, they are in direct violation of the human rights of their citizens. Hopefully, their AWA clone, or this provision at least, will be challenged and overturned by a level-headed judiciary. It appears that Aussie lawmakers have got their heads rammed-up somewhere down under…
7. No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offense for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.
1 . No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offense was committed. If, subsequent to the commission of the offense, provision is made by law for the imposition of the lighter penalty, the offender shall benefit thereby.
The AWA is applied after the initial punishment upon conviction is completed. Post-punishment punishment is a violation of both of these articles, especially when retroactively applied to persons who have completed their sentences years ago.
1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation.
This article alone reads like it was created as a direct response to the Adam Walsh Act: it lays out exactly what the Act does to its victims. If there was a reasonable defense to all of the other human rights violations that are willfully violated by the AWA, this is the one that can never be refuted, even by the staunchest white knight.
This document was created to shed light on some of the realities that forced registrants must go through on a daily basis. Aside from having almost all of their rights denied or destroyed by the States and their adoption of the federal Adam Walsh Act, registrants must cope with PTSD, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and potential violence.
Where does the forced registrant live? Not here: too close to a park. Not there: landlord doesn’t want to rent to one of “those people” and is immune from liability. Where can he work? Good luck with the background check. Money for clothes and food? Not eligible for public benefits. Every day is a matter of primal survival for so many who are treated worse than some wild animals. Yet, when a registrant lashes out and commits a crime, even while boasting the second-lowest recidivism rate of all convicted persons, politicians feign “outrage” and demand harsher punishments still.
This artificial crime-creation-punishment feedback loop is an unsafe and highly unstable practice that has no clear end. With the expansion of criminal codes and redefining of current criminal statutes, more and more people will be subject to the insane punishment of the Adam Walsh Act. Eventually, there will be so many citizens forced to register that the States will not be able to accommodate Washington’s demands and the system will collapse.
Imagine, if you haven’t already, that you were forced to live like this for at least another decade and a half AFTER you had already served your punishment for a crime. A crime for which you were given a few months of probation and/or a fine because the incident was petty in comparison to more serious offenses. Sound reasonable to you? Welcome to American “justice.”