Why Isn't Brock Turner Being Released In California? His Moving To A New State Is Both Good & Bad
Although we already knew it was coming, the Internet was shocked to learn that Brock Turner, who exemplifies the collision of rape culture and white privilege, will be released from prison on Friday after only three months in jail. Among the many, many questions this case raises, some might wonder, upon learning the details of his release to Ohio: why isn't Brock Turner being released in California?
While a more satisfying answer would be that Turner should probably never show his face near Stanford ever again, the real answer is a matter of both legality and safety: Turner's parents live in Greene County, Ohio, and he requested and was granted probation in the county on the insistence of his victim, who told law enforcement that the thought of seeing Turner remain in California "makes her nervous" and that his return to Ohio would ensure that she never has to see him again. (Of course, while this is formally a "request," it could be argued that the term downplays the emotional severity of what the survivor endured and continues to endure.)
It's worth noting that both the statement that Turner makes his victim nervous and the first reports of her "preference" for Turner to return to Ohio belittles the wishes of the woman whose life he ruined on that fateful night in January 2015. To say that the man who sexual assaulted her "makes her nervous" is to make light of the extreme emotional and mental damage sexual assault causes. And to paint her desire to see Turner returned to Ohio as a "preference" makes it seem like a flippant demand. This woman had her will taken from her, both by Turner and by the re-victimization of learning about her assault from the news, and to get even a modicum of her will reclaimed by legal empowerment is laudable.
Upon his Sept. 2 release, Turner will serve three years of probation in Ohio, and although he won't be required to register as a sex offender in California, he must register in Ohio.
Although it's certainly good that Turner's victim won't have to see him in California, it's unfortunate that he won't have to register as a sex offender in California for one unsettling reason — in California, sex offenders are registered for life, while in Ohio, sex offenders can be taken off the list after 15 years. Although there are three classifications or types of sex offenses based on the likelihood of someone to commit sex acts in the future that involve increasingly longer registration lengths in Ohio, Turner's offense is likely in the lowest tier, which only requires the minimum 15 year registration length. It also means that he isn't subject to community notification laws, meaning his name won't be searchable in sex offender registry databases.
It seems that Turner's release to Ohio, rather than California, is a mixed bag of competing legal requirements for sex offenders and the desires of his victim. The fact that Turner could be off the sex offender registry in 15 years, after only serving three months in prison and three years' probation, is further proof that rape culture must be ended and sexual assault taken more seriously.