Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sex Offender Laws Have Gone Too Far

Is the American approach to sex registration working? Who goes on the registries, for how long, and for what kinds of crimes? Do the answers suggest that they are helping to keep kids safe—or sweeping in too many people and stoking irrational fears?

Read More

Sex offender sentenced after moving to Jacksonville Ricardo Irvine failed to register after moving from Indiana

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A judge sentenced a man to 41 months in federal prison for failing to register as a sex offender after traveling from Indiana to Jacksonville.

Ricardo Lamont Irvine, 43, pleaded guilty in December.

Read more

NJ: How convicted sex offenders fly under the radar

New Jersey is one of a minority of states that performs a risk assessment of offenders before they are classified as having a low, moderate or high potential to commit another sexual assault, said Dr. Andrew Harris, a criminal science researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. 

Like most states, the federal government does not recognize risk-based assessments, he said, so when a New Jersey offender goes to another state, he may be subject to more stringent reporting and notification requirements. Depending on how an individual is classified in a state, he may have to report his address annually, or as often as every three months. 

Read more

NEW YORK: Elected officials, residents want sex offenders out of North Buffalo neighborhood

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Residents in a North Buffalo neighborhood said they did feel safe. But that was before two level II sex offenders moved into a developmentally disabled home on Rosemary and Kenmore Ave.

Read More

Friday, June 24, 2016

Florida Action Committee Recent Posts

ACLU Files Reply Brief in Miami-Dade SORR Case

June 23, 2016
Moments ago the ACLU, who graciously represents us in a lawsuit challenging the Miami-Dade County Sex Offender Residency Restriction (SORR) ordinance, filed a Reply Brief in the...
Read More »


NY: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Residency Restrictions

June 23, 2016
About 100 sex offenders who have completed their sentences are being kept in prison because the 1000 foot residency restrictions leave them without any possible release...
Read More »


Not Forgotten: 250 Homeless at Railroad Tracks in Miami

June 22, 2016
Every so often, we like to reach out to the inhabitants of the homeless encampment by the railroad tracks in Miami, through our site, to let them know they are not forgotten....
Read More »


RTAG’s International Travel Matrix

June 21, 2016
Registrant Travel Action Group (RTAG – www.registranttag.org), an RSOL affiliate organized to protect the international travel rights for lawful travel of registrants, is...
Read More »

National: Why sex offender registries don’t work

“He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years.” In a statement released to Buzzfeed, the victim of rapist Brock Turner found a small sliver of justice in the fact that Turner, a former Stanford student, would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, just as she would have to live with the effects of the assault for the rest of hers.

Read More 

NY: Audit finds problems at NY homeless shelters

ALBANY - A state audit Thursday raised concerns over the state of disrepair in homeless shelters outside New York City, with the report finding at least 67 to be in poor condition.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office partnered with a handful of county comptrollers to analyze shelters and hotels used to house the homeless, examining 387 in 49 counties outside the city.

Of those, 320 were found to have "adequate" living conditions, meaning they are a "reasonably acceptable" short-term alternative to homelessness, according to the report.

NV: Amended lawsuit challenges Nevada law governing registration of sex offenders

CARSON CITY — An amended lawsuit has been filed challenging a 2007 Nevada law governing registration and community notification of sex offenders and seeking to block its implementation next month.

Read More 


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why Sex Offender Laws Do More Harm Than Good

By Deborah Jacobs

There are few crimes more heinous than child molestation. Whether violently attacked by a stranger or preyed upon by a trusted adult in the home, school or place of worship, children who survive such assaults are often left to walk a lifelong path of sorrow and pain.
Unfortunately, our government has failed to take steps that will make a meaningful difference in preventing sex offenses. Megan's Law, civil commitment, and the newest trend in anti-sex offender legislation, banishment zones, which restrict sex offenders from living within certain geographic areas, all play to the fears of the public. But when it comes to stopping sex assaults, these measures do more harm than good.

To understand why, one must look at the realities of sex crimes in America today. The vast majority of sex offenses are committed by trusted adults-family members, friends, clergy-and go unreported because of manipulation of the victims, unconscionable decisions by other adults, or both. We saw this most vividly when lawsuits uncovered that the Catholic Church hierarchy had hidden and ignored countless cases of child sexual abuse for decades, choosing to protect its reputation over the children under its care. Unfortunately, this happens in family hierarchies even more frequently.

Because the most common type of sex crime so often goes unreported, most sex offenders never become part of the criminal justice system and therefore are not affected by Megan's Law or banishment zone laws. As a result, these laws give the public a false sense of security, letting us believe that sex offenders have been exiled from their neighborhood, or that if a sex offender does live nearby, we will receive notification of his presence. If we believe that, we are fooling ourselves and, worse, doing our children a disservice. Sex offenders live in every American community, and children need supervision no matter what.

Laws like banishment zone ordinances actually make us less safe, as they impede offender rehabilitation and thereby increase the likelihood of reoffense. People who transition from prison into society face countless challenges, and most have very limited resources, financial or otherwise. People who want to lead law-abiding lives after serving a prison sentence need to establish stability in their homes, jobs and families. Those are difficult things to achieve, but add to this the consequences of Megan's Law and limits to where offenders can live, and few have hope of succeeding. Indeed, the fear of the stigma of Megan's Law can force offenders underground, out of the watchful eye of police and parole officers.

Banishment zone laws may very likely force sexual offenders to move from environments in which they have support networks into other communities in which they have no support, putting residents in their new communities at risk. Further, people who are labeled as sex offenders lose jobs, get evicted, are threatened with death, and harassed by neighbors.

Some have had their homes burned down or been beaten in acts of vigilantism. Coping with this kind of stress is almost impossible, and without exceptionally strong support systems, most are doomed to fail.

If you doubt whether we should care about the stress and suffering of someone who committed a sex crime, consider the consequences for society when the ex-offender fails. When nothing works out - job, home, family-individuals are more likely to give up and

Rather than banishing sex offenders and asking them to succeed in a hostile environment, we should focus resources on programs and policies that will actually reduce the likelihood of sex offenses occurring in the first place. We need to develop and fund public education programs that teach about the effects of sex abuse and the importance of reporting abuse so that it can be stopped.

We need to improve our systems for handling reports of abuse, looking to models like Wynona's House in Essex County, which brings different agencies together to ease the burden on victims reporting abuse. And we need to provide mental health treatment for victims and offenders, in prison and out.

There is no simple fix to the devastating problem of sex abuse. Instead of politically popular measures that make no difference or in fact make us less safe, we need to turn our attention and resources to ways of addressing the epidemic of sex abuse that, while perhaps not as politically popular, will actually work so that more potential victims can be spared.
The issue is not whether our children should be protected from sex offenders, but how to accomplish that in an effective and meaningful way. Our children deserve nothing less.

Deborah Jacobs is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

Read Mo

Florida Action Committee Recent Posts

US Dept of Justice Report backs up advocates claims of ineffective registration policies

June 7, 2016
A July report issued by the US Department of Justice’s SMART office (Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking) backed up most...
Read More »

Nevada to add thousands to sex offender registry

June 7, 2016
In 2007 the Nevada state legislature passed a law to bring it’s state into compliance with the 2006 Adam Walsh Act. In the almost decade that has since followed, several...
Read More »

Interested in being a plaintiff in our internet identifier challenge?

June 2, 2016
Our attorneys are still screening potential plaintiffs for our Internet Identifier challenge which will be filed next month. We are looking to intake as many prospective...
Read More »

What’s the Real Rate of Sex-Crime Recidivism?

May 30, 2016
One sentence in a 1986 mass-market magazine continues to sway court cases involving sex offenders. By Steven Yoder In the early 1980s, rehabilitation counselor Robert Longo could...
Read More »

International Megan’s Law (IML) Protest – July 27 in Oakland

People across the country should recognize this as a start to a much bigger picture in our freedom and rights. This Day should be made a National Civil Liberation Day or something to that accord!!

  1. the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release.
    "the liberation of all political prisoners"
    • freedom from limits on thought or behavior.
      "the struggle for people's liberation"
Posted On 5 Jun, 2016
Read More

Join California RSOL in protesting International Megan’s Law (IML), the law to prevent Registrant international travel, at the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, July 27, 2016.

The government has filed a motion to dismiss our lawsuit against IML, the recently signed law by President Obama, to keep Registered citizens in permanent internal exile. The court hearing for that motion will be at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom Three of Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton, 3rd Floor, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, California, 94612.

We need as many of our supporters to fill the courtroom as possible to show the court, and America, that there are many Registrants, families of Registrants, and friends who suffer under the yoke of unconstitutional, ex-post-facto, punishment. The government’s travel notifications to foreign countries, its “unique identifiers” placed upon the passports of Registrants, as well as its requirements that Registrants provide the U.S. Government advance travel plans – under threat of imprisonment – amount to a complete ban on international travel for those on the Registry. These policies are already taking a terrible toll on those who, long ago, paid their debts to society. The Registry has become a continuously expanding regime of ever-escalating torment.

After the hearing, which will probably end by 10:00 a.m., there will be a rally in the plaza immediately outside of the courtroom in front of the entrance.

We expect to have media covering the event and Janice Bellucci, President of RSOL, and lead attorney for the lawsuit, will speak, along with other members and supporters of RSOL.

Please join us there! If you cannot, then please consider donating to California RSOL to help make our work in challenging this, and many other terrible laws, such as residence and presence restrictions, possible. Please also consider volunteering your time.

Thank you for your support! Please contact us at californiarsol.org with your questions or concerns or offers of assistance.

When: July 27, Hearing at 9:00 a.m., The rally begins at approximately 10:00 a.m. in the plaza in front of Court entrance.

Where: U.S. Federal District Courtroom 3, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton, 3rd Floor, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, California, 94612

Thursday, June 2, 2016

WI: Attorney buys homes to rent to sex offenders


TX: Advocates Push For Early Release of Severely Ill Sex Offenders

Charles Dill spent 14 years in prison after being convicted of indecency with a child in Collin County. His wife, Helga, recalls how he suffered from heart problems behind bars and had several operations.

Three weeks after his release in 2014, he died. His wife says she learned later that he had leukemia. She thinks the state's refusal to release her husband earlier, like they sometimes do for other inmates with severe medical issues, was both cruel and a waste of taxpayer resources. She's hoping that lawmakers will consider changing the state's rules regarding medical release of sex offenders next session.

One top lawmaker on criminal justice issues sympathizes with Hegla Dill's point of view but believes his colleagues won't touch the thorny issue out of fear of how it may be used against them.

"It takes 15 or 20 minutes to explain it, and somebody beats you up in a 30-second TV commercial: 'John Smith supported paroling sex offenders,'" said state Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

When Texas prisoners become so sick that they are deemed too incapacitated to be a public threat and have just months to live, prison doctors will sometimes recommend them for medical parole.

That option is not available to inmates who were convicted for sexual offenses unless they are in a vegetative state.

Helga Dill recalled how the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles blocked her husband's medical parole efforts three times, she said. 
The board eventually released him from his 20-year sentence with standard parole. She is now an advocate for other sex offenders in Texas prisons.

Inmates with terminal illnesses or requiring long-term care like her husband are not physical threats to their communities anymore and should be released into nursing homes or back home, with electronic monitors, saving the state millions in health care costs, said Helga Dill, former chairman of the Texas Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (Texas CURE).
Helga Dill said she fought for five years to secure the early release of a blind, double-amputee prisoner. The struggle, she said, was over the fact he was a sex offender. He was in no position to harm another person, Dill said.

"We want to make sure people understand that these guys are not hurting anybody," she said.

Under medical parole, officially known as Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision, the parole board approves early parole and release of offenders with terminal illnesses or other severe illnesses or disabilities, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The parole board decides each case based on recommendations from the Texas Correctional Office of Medical and Mental Impairments, which screens prisoners.

Sex offenders who aren't in a "persistent vegetative state or do not suffer from organic brain syndrome with significant to total mobility impairment are not eligible for MRIS," according to the department. 

While Whitmire, who chairs the Senate committee that oversees the state's prison system, supports re-examining the issue, his counterpart in the House doesn't agree.

"It is unlikely that we would lessen the stringent guidelines for the MRIS program as it relates to these offenders," said Martha Bell Liner, chief of staff to state Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston, who chairs the House Corrections Committee "Chairman Murphy's official stance is that the safety of all Texans is his top priority, and we do not want to take any actions that would erode the safety of our communities."

As of 2014, it cost Texas $54.89 a day to support prisoners and $4.04 for those on parole supervision, according to the Legislative Budget Board. Sick prisoners can cost significantly more.

Some years, the state's costs for caring for certain particularly sick prisoners have hit $1 million, Whitmire said adding that if their illness effectively neutralizes them as a threat to society, the issue becomes a fiscal concern.

"If they're a public safety concern, I wouldn't be for them being out. End of conversation," Whitmire said. "But if my colleagues and others are worried about the politics of letting someone out that has a serious crime 20, 30 years ago that is now unable to pose a public threat, put them in a nursing home that is supervised."

Whitmire said expanding eligibility for medical parole would be tough but smart policy.

A major hurdle to overcome might be the general perception that sex offenders have a high recidivism rate, said Mary Sue Molnar, executive director of Texas Voices For Reason and Justice, an advocacy group that promotes changing laws affecting people who have to register as sex offenders. More than 87,000 people are on the state's registry, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A majority of that population does not commit another sex offense after being released, Molnar said, pointing to findings from around the country, as well as a 1997 Texas report, which found that 4 percent of sex offenders released from prison during a three-year period were arrested again in relation to a new sex crime.

"There's perception, and there's myth, and then there's truth," Molnar said. "I think they need to start looking at the research before they start making that decision."

Despite his support for changing the current rules, Whitmire said he doesn't plan to file a bill next session because he believes it will go nowhere. Supporting medical parole for certain sex offenders may save money but remains politically toxic, he said.

"But if you're too scared," he said, "you shouldn't be in this business."

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/06/02/advocates-push-sex-offenders-medical-parole/.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is this how we educate the public with labels?

Check out Tampa Bay Times crossword puzzle from May 28, 2016. 

Question 36 down
Clue: sex offenders
Answer: Molesters (WOW!)

Let this paper know how politically incorrect they are at: http://www.tampabay.com/company/contact-us/
They claim 'education' is first importance with their paper. Hmmm... I guess they better learn first before teaching others.

One To See Change Past Posts

One to See Change Blog List

"When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect."
~Adlia Stevenson U.S. Vice President (1893–1897) and Congressman (1879–1881)

On a Personal Note

Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts regarding the issue of citizens’ rights, particularly addressing certain sex offenders’ crimes that do not fit the devastating, inequitable and endless punishment given.

As you know, many young men and women lives across the nation are being destroyed by incarceration, life-time registry and restrictive laws that do more harm than good. For those individuals, there is no second chance.

Below is a personal letter to President Obama:
* * * *
“Dear President Obama,

I truly agree with your sentiments that individuals, such as ex-felons, should be able to receive a second chance at life. Since we all know that one can veer off that path of life and travel along rough, rocky terrain, sometimes running off and ending up in some ditch. We all have made our fill of mistakes and sometimes those held a costly consequence that changed life forever. So we lived through it, trying harder to make things right with family, friends and those around us, but what about those who aren’t able to make things right even if they tried…because they’re labeled as too dirty, a leper, a person who is rejected from society and home.

But what if they’re a seventeen year old and had sex with a fifteen year old, consensual at that? Or they’re a teen that had gotten so enraged after a breakup that he sent out naked pictures of his girlfriend on his cell phone or email? Or an individual urinates where someone just happens to see them?

All are wrong and a travesty but do they deserve the life of no second chance with a registry that ends all. They are labeled, no jobs, no where to live…they have been deemed a menace to society, a plague. These certain circumstances, and many other situations similar to these, I believe still deserve a second change.

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

After my son’s early release and two years of prison, I thought I had handled that fact graciously knowing after serving his time he would be able to get that fresh start, that second chance. He was an exemplary inmate, GED, college courses and vocational classes. Little did I know that a second chance on the outside was the farthest from the truth? He now struggles and lives in a trailer park sharing a trailer with another and surrounded by others in the same rocking boat, one to float endlessly in shark infested waters. I see him little because of probation requirements (he couldn’t live with us because we were 800 feet near a school). My family is afraid of what would happen to them if he lived with them…vigilantism. My son has no other place to stay since others condemn him of his crime that is screamed from the highest rooftop. Sex offender, sex offender!

Not all sex offenders are pedophiles or predators but some are simply young kids that make one stupid and rash decision that eventually changes everything, and they have no idea what they’ve done until their life is never their own. Exactly, where is that second chance for those sex-offenders who are lumped together with pedophiles and predators? Now, it makes me sick to think of my son’s future and many like him that are on the registry and many with no second chance…ever. I am asking you as a mother and as another concerned citizen of the United States that these laws are looked at again and taken into serious consideration in what they are doing to the Constitution of the United States, not for sex offenders in general but the future rights of every citizen, before anymore are put into effect. They unjustly strip an offender of their rights and place them in a guillotine that can be easily set off by anyone and at anytime. Where is the second chance for ex-sex offenders in the present, pending and future laws?”
* * * *
What truly saddens me is the weakness and deterioration of what the sex offense issue is doing to our once, great nation. Across Europe, others are seeing the injustice and disregard of rights, but we ignore this problem and it makes me wonder where humanity is heading….

We have become a hysterical society in which our latest witch-hunt is a sex offender--no matter his/her crime.

Below is a email sent from a foreign advocate to a father of a sex offender:
* * * *
“The tragic story of your son's death is just so sad that it's difficult to explain how. It was very hard to read your letters. It seems almost unbelievable that this can take place in a democracy! From our point of view, there is no justice in this. Not in any way: not for you, your son, the former girl friend – or even the state.

It is an abusive legal system. It seems barbaric. And we are so very sorry that this takes place. That's why it's so important for us to try to neutralize the debate with this…, hopefully making some changes. ….. to show the every day life of the sex offenders, trying to show how they keep on being punished, even after served prison time…..But we will for sure tell the story of the injustice that your son has been exposed to.”
* * * *
I appreciate everyone's commitment and backing to protect everyone's civil rights, plainly as noted in the Constitution of the United States and is presupposed, giving ALL men are “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”