When it comes to America’s sex-offense registry regime, there’s a lot to get outraged about. Indignation over its everyday cruelties serves a function when it moves us to action.
But bad news isn’t everything. There’s a lot of good to point to among those living under the system. I learn that every time I meet a registrant or one of their family members who’s running a thriving business, started a support group, or spending every week visiting legislators.
Last month the first issue of a new magazine came out that’s designed to publicize all of those good-news stories in one place. It’s LifeTimes Magazine, a sharply written four-color quarterly, and you should check it out if you haven’t.
Will Mingus’ editor’s note captures what his team is about:
We believe that once someone pays their debt to society, they should be encouraged to rejoin society as full and productive citizens. We believe they have the right to find joy and happiness in their lives, despite the sins of their past…. Helping those on registries find joy and happiness in their lives does not mean we are ignoring the needs of victims…. For those of us who firmly believe that the best way to make amends for the harm we’ve done is to dedicate ourselves to living a healthy and productive life, LifeTimes Magazine will offer stories, thoughts, suggestions, tips, and insight on how to do that.
This first issue has lots of how-to pieces: how to look for affordable health care if you don’t have insurance, how to unlock your creativity, how to find a church that’s accepting, how to reclaim the right to healthy sexuality, tips on cooking.
It’s also full of personal success stories of registrants and their family members meant to inspire: how one registrant got a college degree, how another turned his life around through community theater, how the wife of a registrant built her own house (out of straw no less) while rebuilding her identity.
The most intriguing story describes an app that lets registrants use Google Maps to show exclusion zones that are off limits—you can configure it to the rules in your jurisdiction. Yes, there’s an app for that.
If LifeTimes’ has a subtext, it’s this: yes, restrictions are everywhere when you’re on the registry. But exercise freedom where you can.
It’s the lessen that underground press movements under rogue regimes have taught throughout history: to hope is to dissent.