Monday, December 5, 2016

No resolution to youth prison investigation one year after raid | State-and-regional | wiscnews.com

No resolution to youth prison investigation one year after raid | State-and-regional | wiscnews.com

Hartford City sex offender ordinance unconstitutionally vague | The Indiana Lawyer

Hartford City sex offender ordinance unconstitutionally vague | The Indiana Lawyer

Sex offender fights restraint law | Courts | www.journalgazette.net

Sex offender fights restraint law | Courts | www.journalgazette.net

4th Circuit strikes down North Carolina residency/movement restrictions on sex offenders - The Washington Post

4th Circuit strikes down North Carolina residency/movement restrictions on sex offenders - The Washington Post

JUDGE: Sex offender not subject to new portions of state statutes | Regional news | wiscnews.com

JUDGE: Sex offender not subject to new portions of state statutes | Regional news | wiscnews.com

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Catching up!!!

It's Time to Reduce, Reconstruct, Reclassify, Rethink and Reform the Virginia Sex Offender Registry: U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules Michigan S...:   If I hadn’t joined Twitter back in April I wouldn’t have seen Professor Corey Rayburn Yung’s tweets about this BIG decision today!  ...


Sixth Circuit panel concludes Michigan sex offender registration amendments 'imposes punishment' and thus are ex post unconstitutional for retroactive application



Attorney seeks order to stop exclusion of sex offenders


10 years after sex offender murders, questions linger about registry — State — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine


Are There More Sex Offenders Located in Wauwatosa? - Wauwatosa, WI Patch


Wisconsin spends $9.7M on one-time bonuses, pay increases | WLUK

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FBI’s massive porn sting puts internet privacy in crossfire | The Seattle Times

For two weeks in the spring of 2015, the FBI was one of the largest purveyors of child pornography on the internet.

After arresting the North Carolina administrator of The Playpen, a “dark web” child-pornography internet bulletin board, agents seized the site’s server and moved it to an FBI warehouse in Virginia.

They then initiated “Operation Pacifier,” a sting and computer-hacking operation of unparalleled scope that has thus far led to criminal charges against 186 people, including at least five in Washington state.

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Jacob Wetterling's remains found on a farm - StarTribune.com


State appeals Brendan Dassey conviction


Romeo and Juliet and Sexting: 17-Year-Old Faces Child Porn, Assault Charges for Consensual Sex with Girlfriend - Hit & Run : Reason.com


The Story Behind Danny Heinrich’s Delicate Plea Deal « WCCO | CBS Minnesota

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“If this is winning, I don’t want it:” Convicted sex offender talks about life after being released from prison | FOX6Now.com

"In the entire city, there are just 55 addresses approved for sex offenders. FOX6 Investigators checked them against the sex offender registry, and found there is not a single sex offender living in any of them. Most are single family homes -- not for sale and not for rent. The few multi-units don't allow felons."

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Overworked prison guards part of broken system -- Michael Nichols | Opinion | host.madison.com

Overworked prison guards part of broken system -- Michael Nichols | Opinion | host.madison.com



The July 27 letter to the editor "Wisconsin is suffering from eroded support" from a frustrated parent of an overworked Wisconsin Department of Corrections officer is spot-on in identifying the staffing shortages and the dysfunction of Gov. Scott Walker's Department of Corrections.
I would argue, however, that the suggested solution of "paying a little more in taxes" is misplaced. Continuing to engorge the Department of Corrections' already hefty $2 billion share of the biennial budget is unlikely to achieve sustainable remedies. Less expensive and more effective options are, or should be, obvious. Revising or repealing the state's so-called "truth-in-sentencing" law and implementing rational sentencing guidelines with an emphasis on incarcerating violent offenders should be at the top of that list. Curtailing probation officers' penchant for revoking supervision for technical violations and crediting violators for time successfully served on supervision would also lower costs, lessen staff workload and reduce overcrowding at centers and institutions.
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Regrettably, I am forced to concur with the letter writer's conclusion that the current Legislature and administration are unlikely to muster the political fortitude to effect the changes -- whatever they may be -- that are so desperately needed.
-- Michael Nichols, inmate, Oregon Correction Center

Friday, July 15, 2016

Kenosha News

Kenosha News



Snafu leads to Airbnb ban in Kenosha

Ordinance, aimed at sex offender housing, to be reconsidered

v65_i3_sbacon.pdf

v65_i3_sbacon.pdf



A Distinction Without a Difference: “Receipt”
and “Possession” of Child Pornography and
the Double Jeopardy Problem



STEPHEN L. BACON*

Prison Inmate Injury Claims, Poor Jail Conditions

Prison Inmate Injury Claims, Poor Jail Conditions: Sometimes prison inmates are injured or have to deal with appalling jail conditions. If injured in prison, you may be entitled to redress.

Prison Inmate Injury Claims, Poor Jail Conditions

Prison Inmate Injury Claims, Poor Jail Conditions: Sometimes prison inmates are injured or have to deal with appalling jail conditions. If injured in prison, you may be entitled to redress.

It's Time to Reduce, Reconstruct, Reclassify, Rethink and Reform the Virginia Sex Offender Registry: NCMEC’s RSO Counts: What State Adds the Most Regis...

It's Time to Reduce, Reconstruct, Reclassify, Rethink and Reform the Virginia Sex Offender Registry: NCMEC’s RSO Counts: What State Adds the Most Regis...: Since the NCMEC June 2016 RSO Map came out on July 6 th and I broke down those numbers into per capita I was wondering how much each st...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

ABANDONING PRETENSE | We With The Pitchforks

I don't usually post things like this.  But this is a viewpoint that all of us that have a loved one on the list should be aware of.



This boy (I can't say man because I don't believe that his father taught him to be one) made some serious mistakes.  He is going to pay for them for the rest of his life.  He will be on the registry for as long as the law deems him to be, be that life or a decade.  He will have trouble finding gainful employment that will support him and a family.  If he ever does meet someone that will be tolerant of the stigma of the registry, having a family will be another logistical nightmare when it comes to the events for those children be them at school or in a park.   He and anyone he associates with will pay for this lapse in judgement for the rest of their lives with no opportunity to recover, move on and survive this instance.



That is the biggest difference between the victim and this boy.  The victim has been traumatized, she will get treatment, she will get counseling and she will be able to choose to move on with life too, putting the experience behind her.  Yes, there are some victims out in this world that never get that far, but the opportunity is there for them to move recover and move forward.



I have been seeing all over the internet the public asking for the death penalty for this boy, which is surprising because I have not seen in a long time an outcry such as this for someone that has actually taken another's life, which would seem fitting to call for the death penalty.  Could you imagine if we gave the penalty of death to anyone that made us mad?  It would solve the overpopulation problem, but it will do nothing for the country itself.



This boy needs treatment, his father needs treatment and the victim needs treatment.   Then they all need to go to AODA to learn about binge drinking amd about being a responsible drinker all around.  Things their parents should have taught them.



So the real problem here, the parents that did not do their job, that left their children ill-equipped to be sent out into the world on their own.



ABANDONING PRETENSE | We With The Pitchforks

Ex-Stanford swimmer’s dad calls son’s 6-month sentence for sexual assault ‘a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action’

This is why consequences need to be taught while they are still children.  Because the cost only increases with age.  This family needs to do some more research to find out that they really did get a good deal, that the judge was fair and that there are consequences for sexually having your way with someone that is not awake.   He should have known better, period.



Ex-Stanford swimmer’s dad calls son’s 6-month sentence for sexual assault ‘a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action’

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Decision handed down in sex-offender placement case | Crime and Courts | journaltimes.com

Decision handed down in sex-offender placement case | Crime and Courts | journaltimes.com

Special Report: University of Wisconsin System under fire for a series of alleged sexual assaults | KBJR 6 & Range 11 | KDLH 3: News, Weather, Sports for Duluth MN / Superior WI / Northland | Local News

Special Report: University of Wisconsin System under fire for a series of alleged sexual assaults | KBJR 6 & Range 11 | KDLH 3: News, Weather, Sports for Duluth MN / Superior WI / Northland | Local News



Not once in this report did this student go to the police.  Universities are not law enforcement. Also, it is stated that she went to get medical attention, yet no rape kit was taken, nor did any healthcare professionals suggest to her to have one done on her either.



There are tremendous holes in this story and a person needs to take some responsibility for themselves as well, since college is the beginning of adulthood.  Being accountable for your actions and responses to those that wish to harm your person is part of that.  She should have gone to an ER not just the on campus clinic which is not held to the same standards although they should be.  The ER is where if she said she was raped they would have been required by law to take a rape kit and report it to the authorities.  These are choices she made, why should the whole world be held accountable for them?


She claimed to be terrorized her entire career, even after talking to the Dean, she never made an attempt to talk to law enforcement, expecting the school to be investigator, prosecutor, jury and punisher?  That is not the role of an educational institution, it is the role of law enforcement, which it sounds like from the article that she had plenty of time to contact them while she was also asking the school to take care of it.



You see this was her life, something happened to her, yet she wanted someone else to 'take care of it' for her. Now because she didn't take proper actions and steps to defend herself she is going to try to hold the school responsible again?  This is the plague of the millennials, they seem to expect that people do everything for them, that is NOT how the world works.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hope for one falsely accused...

From the desk of W.A.R.

Soon after an in-depth article appeared last fall in the Kansas City Star,  

Earnest Leap and his family realized they had the ear of a humanitarian legislator, Missouri State Representative Jim Neely (R-Cameron).

On Tuesday May 10, 2016 WAR converged at the Missouri State capitol where Representative Neely held a News Conference to announce a clemency initiative for Earnest Leap which he is pioneering with the support of a number of colleagues.

At the press conference, attended by Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, among other elected officials from both sides of the aisle Representative Neely invited Ernie Leap and his sons Brodie and Josh to speak.

At the end of the press conference the legislator and Leap family proceeded to walk the letter with numerous legislators’ endorsements to Governor Nixon’s office and presented it to his staff.

We believe this is the beginning of a powerful dialog for change in Missouri starting with a legislator who declared that what is being done to Ernie and his family is WRONG...!!!! And, he is taking action to make things right. We encourage you to contact Representative Jim Neely -- with thanks, appreciation and encouragement in this clemency campaign. 

For more information, visit www.womenagainstregistry.org or contact Vicki Henry, 800-311-3764.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Minnesota Sex Offender Program before appeals court

Minnesota Sex Offender Program before appeals court



 | UPDATED: 

ST. LOUIS — The lengthy legal debate over a Minnesota program that keeps sex offenders confined indefinitely after they complete their prison sentences shifted south Tuesday as state officials urged a federal appeals court nearly 500 miles away to overturn a judge’s ruling that the program is unconstitutional.
Minnesota Solicitor General Alan Gilbert told a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis that District Judge Donovan Frank “lost his neutrality” when he made critical comments before ruling last summer. Even before his ruling, the judge called the program “draconian” and said it is “clearly broken” and needs to be reformed.
Only a handful of offenders have been provisionally released to community-based settings in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program’s 20-plus-year history, which is why the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit say it’s tantamount to a life sentence.“He has prejudged the program,” said Gilbert, who asked the jurists to reverse the lower court ruling and appoint a new judge to consider the suit by 14 plaintiffs on behalf of the more than 700 civilly committed offenders. The panel did not immediately issue a decision after hearing 20-minute presentations by both sides.
While civilly committed offenders in California, Wisconsin, New Jersey and other states are allowed to re-enter society after completing treatment, no one has been fully discharged from Minnesota’s program.
The Minnesota case is being closely watched by lawyers, government officials and activists in the 20 states with such programs, including Missouri, where another federal judge based in the same courthouse where Tuesday’s appeal was heard cited a “pervasive sense of hopelessness” in a sex offender rehabilitation program in which about 200 people remain indefinitely committed.
“It’s a prison disguised as a mental health facility,” said St. Louis attorney Richard Scherrer, who is involved in the Missouri case and listened to the oral arguments in the Minnesota appeal.
In his June ruling, Frank didn’t shut the Minnesota program down but ordered changes, including risk assessments of participants to determine who should be put on a pathway for release. The Missouri-based appellate court put Frank’s order on hold in December pending the state’s challenge.
In asking the appellate court to uphold the ruling, Minneapolis plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Gustafson countered that Frank’s comments only cited publicly available information — including a report by the state’s legislative auditor — and were intended to encourage a swifter resolution of a legal challenge that began in 2011.
“There’s (been) no animosity directed toward the state at all,” he said, referring to the judge.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

The List - The New Yorker

The List - The New Yorker



The List

When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kenosha News - Village to fall in line with state regarding place of sex offenders

Kenosha News



Village to fall in line with state regarding place of sex offenders

Published 12 hours ago 
0
BY TERRY FLORES
tflores@kenoshanews.com
PLEASANT PRAIRIE — A change in state law will require the village to change its restrictions regarding placement of sex offenders.
The matter came before the board Monday night due to concerns of residents, who said the village has a greater number of properties where the offenders can be placed compared to the rest of county.
All state-contracted locations in the county, of which there are four, are located in the village.
The village’s ordinance requires registered sexual offenders to live at least 2,000 feet from schools and public facilities where children are present.
However, the change in the law would allow those individuals who were convicted of violent sexual offenses — considered Level 3 offenders — to live at least 1,500 feet away.
The amendment to the state law was approved earlier this year in an effort to standardize residency restrictions, which had varied by municipalities.
“What caught our eye was a provision that a local municipality can’t pass a restriction that is more restrictive (than the new law),” village attorney Timothy Geraghty said.
While the change in the law for violent sexual offenders is less restrictive than the village’s ordinance, the village is not precluded from adopting stricter policies for those not considered violent sexual offenders.
The village’s ordinance will still apply to lower-level sexual offenders who have not been classified as sexually violent, according to Geraghty.
Registered offenders are monitored and supervised by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections when released into communities, and the communities and their law enforcement agencies let public know who is has been released and their offender status.
Wisconsin Department of Correction officials as of Monday notified the village there are no Level 3 offenders residing in the county.
The board voted 5-0 to authorize staff and the attorney to investigate other municipalities’ approaches to the placing of non-violent sexual offenders.
Geraghty said some municipalities have passed ordinances to allow for sex offenders to live in their communities only if they had previously resided there.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sturgeon Bay to vote on ordinance preventing sex offenders from

Sturgeon Bay to vote on ordinance preventing sex offenders from

Steven Avery Update: Access To 4K Pages Of Prison Emails Granted, May Help To Overturn Conviction

Steven Avery Update: Access To 4K Pages Of Prison Emails Granted, May Help To Overturn Conviction



So exactly what is going to happen if he were to be exonerated again?  The Wisconsin government killed the bill that would have given compensation to those that were wrongfully convicted.  The DOJ of Wisconsin would be looking even more foolish than ever with the amount of whining that they have been doing about the documentary that has caused such a stir throughout the country.



I new our local law enforcement was not the straightest arrows in the quiver and I knew that the prosecutors offices throughout the state are in elected positions that require results to keep office, the same goes for judges.  With those kinds of incentives it is no surprise that the Wisconsin legal system has corruption in it.  The very nature of the way that it is set up cultivates those behaviors and actions.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Educators do little time for sex crimes

Educators do little time for sex crimes

“I couldn’t breathe:” State changes course after placing rapist within blocks of his victim | FOX6Now.com

“I couldn’t breathe:” State changes course after placing rapist within blocks of his victim | FOX6Now.com



While I understand her justifiable reaction to her attacker to have moved so close in proximity.  But if he has been treated, he is following the rules, and is attempting to reintegrate back into the community then he should have been allowed to stay where he had rented.  There were no laws preventing it, just media pressure that started with the victim.



Domestically abused women do not have the luxury of someone wearing a GPS monitor and being under the kind of strict supervision that this man is under.  Domestic abusers are far more likely to reoffend against their same victim repeatedly regardless of protection order or being told 'not to'.



Yes victims have rights and shouldn't have to suffer any more than necessary, but I also believe that part of the healing process is facing the fear of seeing your offender again and knowing that not only did you survive and prosper that even though sometimes it may not always feel that way, it is a fear that is conquered more and more each time there is a chance run-in.  I know this because even after 12 years from when I was abused by my ex, when I see him the same fears, panic and need to run the other direction can paralyze me.  But each time I face them, it gets better and less traumatic.



Something to think about for victims, facing the fears is part of the healing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Musings.... Avery... the resignation of Ed Wall... Lincoln Hills...

Between the Steven Avery hoopla and the Lincoln Hills fiasco in the Department of Corrections of Wisconsin, there has been a lot of spotlights on the DOC, law enforcement and those that work for those entities.  They have over crowding of 130% in most if not all prisons.  They have an astounding employee vacancy rates as well.  There are morale issues amongst the correctional officers and many others that work in the corrections system here in Wisconsin.  They all seem to have one thing in common, they blame Governor Walker's Act 10 in 2011 for all of it.  Is this chain of events all a result of Act 10?  Unlikely, problems like this are not brought about by one piece of legislation, consider Act 10 the chocolate glaze that went over the top of an already broken and struggling system that wasn't serving anyone, the offenders, the staff and most of all the tax paying public.

Lincoln Hills was little more than a storage facility for juveniles until they could be let loose again on the public, re-offend, and then land in adult prison.  With a 65% recidivism rate for youths being released from Lincoln Hills, what else can someone conclude from the information, other than the state was in the business of grooming criminals?  So then the question must be asked, what are they doing to give a child less than a 50% chance of making something of themselves, rather than choosing a life of crime, prison and persecution?

Then there is the grandstanding, Milwaukee County looking to try to help by pulling out some of the juveniles out of Lincoln Hills and reopening a facility that was closed. While it is better to keep the child inmates closer to their families and the support they provide, because it is common knowledge that a good support system is a large factor in rehabilitation.  If the action harms more children than it helps by causing other problems in other facilities because of the actions of one county, then other options must be considered. Such as Multiple juvenile facilities in different regions of the state, so that youthful offenders can be housed as close to their homes as possible. Maybe instead of razor wire and fencing for all, in depth evaluations could be done during intake and children placed appropriately for their individual circumstances.  That means that those facilities should have no more than 20 inmates per facility.  If run properly and without staff-on-inmate abuse, it would help kids develop in to good people, rather than tossed back out on the streets to offend again, this time landing in adult prison, with an adult conviction.  Instead I hear nothing about the rehabilitation of these youth offenders with a 65% recidivism rate, do they help them at all?

Then from beneath the fray of all the controversial headlines, the Secretary of Corrections resigns, it begs the questions, what did Ed Wall know and when did he know it.  Will an Open Records request reveal that he knew what was happening in Lincoln Hills and turned a blind eye?  Or could it show that he knew nothing and it was being kept from him?  We don't know now and probably never really know how or why the raid took place and the FBI came in and took over.  Is it a reflection of the whole corrections system here in Wisconsin?  Are there more (uncharged) offenders guarding our inmates, protecting them from themselves and protecting the communities from them, when the real people to be feared are those put in charge?  If there are abuses in the juvenile system, what is going on in the adult system?  With the kind of overcrowding that is talked about in the media, coupled with the large amount of employment vacancies in the correctional officers teams, what is happening in our Wisconsin prisons?

Milwaukee County plan jeopardizes youth prison - THonline.com: Iowa-Illinois-Wisconsin

Milwaukee County plan jeopardizes youth prison - THonline.com: Iowa-Illinois-Wisconsin

Walters: Many changes at Wisconsin Corrections - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

Walters: Many changes at Wisconsin Corrections - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

Monday, February 22, 2016

DoC: Department of Cruelty? | Milwaukee Courier Weekly Newspaper

DoC: Department of Cruelty? | Milwaukee Courier Weekly Newspaper

Madison woman allegedly took money intended for sexual assault victims | Crime and Courts | host.madison.com

Madison woman allegedly took money intended for sexual assault victims | Crime and Courts | host.madison.com

Madison woman charged with embezzling $50,000 from Wisconsin Coa - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison woman charged with embezzling $50,000 from Wisconsin Coa - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Laurence J. Dupuis: Solitary confinement causes severe harm | Opinion | host.madison.com

Laurence J. Dupuis: Solitary confinement causes severe harm | Opinion | host.madison.com

Schimel: There's nothing wicked about AB 666, 'Alicia's Law' - Watchdog.org

Schimel: There's nothing wicked about AB 666, 'Alicia's Law' - Watchdog.org

Lawmaker: Rough day for the Fourth Amendment in Wisconsin - Watchdog.org

Lawmaker: Rough day for the Fourth Amendment in Wisconsin - Watchdog.org

We’re Rethinking Prisons. Is It Time to Rethink Sex Offender Registries? - In These Times

We’re Rethinking Prisons. Is It Time to Rethink Sex Offender Registries? - In These Times

Friday, February 19, 2016

New Bill in Wisconsin with new fiscal penalties against offenders...

docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/proposal/2015/-1125



Proposal: AB926 (-1125) View Bill History 
relating to: creating a surcharge to be paid by persons convicted of certain crimes against children and certain crimes against sexual morality to fund services relating to crimes against children, and making an appropriation.

My Husband Committed a Sex Offense | Free Range Kids

My Husband Committed a Sex Offense | Free Range Kids

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Watchdog Update - Panel advances bill making lying on licensing application a crime

So was he a good social worker? Did he contribute to the profession?



The man served his time, paid his debt to society and from what I can tell didn't work with folks under the age of 18.  All of which seems to me to be a success story of life after prison.



Who's brilliant idea was it to start banning people from being productive members of society?



Watchdog Update - Panel advances bill making lying on licensing application a crime

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SEX OFFENDERS FILE LAWSUIT CHALLENGING INTERNATIONAL MEGAN’S LAW

SEX OFFENDERS FILE LAWSUIT CHALLENGING INTERNATIONAL MEGAN’S LAW

The International Megan’s Law Obama just signed is bad law.

The International Megan’s Law Obama just signed is bad law.




Obama Just Signed a Really Bad Criminal Justice Law

By 

Is this really the best Congress can do?


International Megan's Law.
International Megan’s Law requires sex offenders’ passports to be marked with a special indicator.
Kritchanut/Thinkstock
After months of hype about the historic bipartisan consensus that we must make the American criminal justice system less harsh, President Obama finally signed a justice reform bill into law Monday. There’s only one problem: Instead of making the justice system more fair and less punitive, the new law will make it more vindictive and petty. Specifically, it will require people who have been convicted of sex crimes against minors to carry special passports in which their status as registered sex offenders will be marked with conspicuous identifying marks.

Leon NeyfakhLEON NEYFAKH
Leon Neyfakh is a Slate staff writer.

The point of International Megan’s Law,in the words of its House sponsor Chris Smith of New Jersey, is to prevent “sex tourism” by making it harder for people to “hop on planes and go to places for a week or two and abuse little children.” In addition to the passport stamp, this goal is supposed to be achieved through the formation of a new federal unit inside of Immigration and Customs Enforcement called the “Angel Watch Center,” which will inform foreign governments when American sex offenders have made plans to visit their countries.
You might be thinking that sounds like a good idea—a wise precaution that promises to prevent confirmed perverts from victimizing more people. But like the domestic sex offender registry it’s based on, the law is premised on a profound and consequential misunderstanding of how sex crimes against minors are usually perpetrated. Though it’s understandable that parents are concerned about “stranger danger,” the most recent data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that the vast majority of sex abuse victims are attacked not by strangers hunting for prey, but by family members and other acquaintances. 

victim chart.
Bureau of Justice Statistics
The other myth the new law perpetuates is that people who commit sex crimes are much more likely than other types of criminals to recidivate and find new victims after they’ve been released. A BJS report shows that insofar as that’s true, we’re still talking about a tiny percentage of people: According to the findings, just 5.3 percent of the 9,691 released sex offenders in the study sample were rearrested for a sex crime within three years of their release. Among male child molesters specifically, recidivism appears to be even lower: of the 4,295 male child molesters in the sample, just 3.3 percent were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within three years of their release.
It’s difficult to understand, in light of these findings, how making it harder for sex offenders to travel internationally is going to help reduce the frequency of child sex abuse. What will the new law achieve instead? Further marginalization of a group of people that Democrats and Republicans alike apparently consider to be deserving of permanent social exile and never-ending suspicion.
To state the obvious, it's hard for many people to summon much sympathy for sex offenders, and that is perfectly understandable. However, it’s crucial to remember that the category includes all sorts of people, including those who were placed on the registry when they themselves were children. Here’s how Rep. Bobby Scott put it in a statement on the House floor in which he expressed his opposition to the idea of marking sex offenders’ passports with a special indicator:
The failure of this provision to allow for the individualized consideration of the facts and circumstances surrounding the traveler’s criminal history, including how much time has elapsed since his last offense, underscores how this provision is overbroad. Details such as whether the traveler is a serial child rapist versus someone with a decades-old conviction from when he was 19-years-old and his girlfriend was 14 … are significant, and would allow law enforcement to more appropriately prioritize their finite resources.
Scott also argued that “it is simply bad policy to single out one category of offenses for this type of treatment,” noting that “we do not subject those who murder, who defraud the government or our fellow citizens of millions and billions, or who commit acts of terrorism to these restrictions.”
Some might ask, Well, why don’t we? The answer is that there’s a deeply questionable moral calculus involved in holding people’s crimes against them long after they’ve paid their debt to society. In theory if not in practice, our justice system is built on the idea that this is wrong. Yet when it comes to sex offenders, American lawmakers seem not just willing but eager to impose punishment forever—a tendency that has resulted in sex offenders all over the country being forced into homelessness because residency restrictions have made it impossible for them to find housing. In its most extreme form, the idea that sex offenders never stop being dangerous has resulted in thousands of people being held indefinitely in “civil commitment” long after they’ve completed their prison terms.  


Compared to that terrible practice, the law Obama just signed is small potatoes, and its life-ruining potential is low. But its quick and friction-free passage is significant nonetheless: at a time when it seemed possible that U.S. lawmakers were finally starting to believe that even people convicted of crimes can be trusted to change, it shows just how little willingness there is, on either side of the aisle, to push back on our intuitive fears and revulsions.
On the one hand, it’s understandable that Obama couldn’t bring himself to veto a bill that purports to protect children from sexual predators. On the other, he should have been able to see that this law is unlikely to achieve anything besides making some Americans feel even more ostracized than they already do. That’s not criminal justice reform. It’s just politics.    

Sex Offenders Fight Passport 'Scarlet Letter'

Courthouse News Service



Sex Offenders Fight Passport 'Scarlet Letter'
     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The International Megan's Law bill signed by President Barack Obama on Monday requiring sex offenders to be identified on their passports is already being challenged in court.
     The civil rights group California Reform Sex Offender Laws filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions of the International Megan's Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking.
     The original Megan's Law was passed by the New Jersey Legislature in 1994 after 7-year-old Megan Kanka was assaulted and murdered by a sex offender living across the street. The legislation, which requires authorities to disclose where convicted child offenders live, has since been adopted by every other state.
     The International Megan's Law, which Congress passed unanimously on Feb. 1 and Obama signed on Monday, is designed to alert foreign governments when registered sex offenders travel abroad and help prevent sex trafficking crimes.
     Under the new law, passports issued to registered sex offenders will contain an identifying mark. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department are to inform foreign governments when registered sex offenders are visiting their countries and are to receive information when sex offenders come to the United States from abroad.
     Janice Bellucci, president of the California Reform Sex Offender Laws, says the required mark on sex offenders' passports is akin to "a scarlet letter."
     "Today the Scarlet Letter will be used to punish sex offenders. Tomorrow the same or a similar letter could be used to punish Muslims, gays or drunk drivers," she said.
     Bellucci, who is representing four anonymous sex offenders in their lawsuit against the government, said Congress did not provide adequate attention to the legislation and passed it by voice vote and without substantial discussion or debate.
     "The process used for the vote - suspension of the rules - was an abuse of a Congressional rule that is supposed to be limited to noncontroversial bills, not historically significant bills like International Megan's Law," Bellucci said.
     The sex offenders argue in their complaint that the legislation applies in blanket fashion to all registered sex offenders, regardless of the circumstances or age of their conviction or whether they pose a current risk to public safety.
     "For example, covered individuals whose passports will now publicly identify them as 'sex offenders' will include individuals convicted of minor misdemeanor offenses such as 'sexting' or public urination, individuals convicted of voluntary sexual contact with a girlfriend or boyfriend while both were teenagers, individuals convicted decades ago and who have never reoffended, and even individuals who are currently minors or who committed their offense while a minor," the complaint says.
     The list of individuals who will have to have the identifying mark on their passports will also include those who are no longer required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction, according to the complaint.
     This will "harm thousands of Americans who have been declared by a state to be rehabilitated and are no longer required to register as sex offenders. The federal government in such cases will substitute its own judgment, which will not be based upon an investigation of an individual, for the judgment of a state government that has conducted such an investigation," Bellucci said.
     Being forced to identify themselves as sex offenders "will invite serious risk of physical harm and harassment" on the offenders, their families and anyone with whom they are traveling, the complaint says.
     The law also violates the First Amendment by compelling people "to identify themselves publicly as 'sex offenders' on their United States passport, which serves both as a primary form of identification within the United States as well as an essential international travel document," the complaint says.
     Lawmakers, however, say that the legislation is an important step in expanding the protection of children globally.
     Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said that the "reinforcing provisions of this carefully crafted legislation" will prevent "convicted U.S. sex offenders from harming children abroad" and will "help stop those seeking to end run the registry and notification programs."
     Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat and vice chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee which funds the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, said that the law will give the departments the tools they need to protect children at home and abroad.
     "We have made some amazing progress over the years, starting out with billboards and milk cartons. But as crimes have grown more sophisticated, we've had to become more sophisticated," she said.
     Bellucci sees it differently.
     "Only Nazi Germany and Communist Russia have marked the passports of their citizens in this way and that was done decades ago," she said, warning that "citizens of this nation should be afraid, very afraid."