Sunday, August 2, 2009

Youth For Human Rights

So I wonder, do they think these rights apply to everyone, or everyone except registered sex offenders? Visit the web site.

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"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


FL - Ron Book - Pushing the blame off to others instead of himself, as expected!

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Credits to AZ_URLITE



"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


UK - Sky News Sex Offenders Pilot

The UK media, like usual, use the term "pedophile" as if all sex offenders are pedophiles, which they are not, but, it's good for ratings! They are talking about sex offenders in general here, not just pedophiles.

Video Link



"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


SOSEN - Recruitment Brochure

Click the image to download/view the PDF document




"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


IA - Role-play puts participants in ex-inmates' shoes

View the article here

08/02/2009

By STACI HUPP

Eileen Stephens is a laid-off Wells Fargo payroll employee who wants to rebuild her career.

On Saturday, she became Lester, an uneducated ex-convict who wants to rebuild his life.

The identity switch was part of a training session at a West Des Moines church that sought to shed light on the path of Iowans fresh from prison.

The journey is uphill when you have no car, no job, no money and few breaks, organizers said.

"It's very frustrating," said Stephens, 48, of Des Moines. "I guess it's not meant to be easy."

About 8,000 inmates call Iowa prisons home, according to Churches United, a Cedar Rapids coalition that led the training session. Organizers say 95 percent of them will be released at some point.

The session aimed to build something that ex-offenders often miss: sensitivity.

Stephens signed up for the session to learn. She's studying criminal justice this fall at Upper Iowa University.

About 20 other participants included social workers, law enforcement officials and ex-offenders.

Each was assigned a profile at Valley United Methodist Church, which doubled as their community.

Tables represented unemployment offices, child support collectors, churches, mental health clinics and a jail.

Participants received a to-do list - find work, pay child support, make Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and check in with parole officers, for example - to finish in a limited window of time.

Several obstacles were built in, including government red tape and temptations to break the law.

For example, a card Stephens took from a woman wearing an "illegal activity" badge informed her that she had just bought beer and cigarettes for minors in exchange for $50.

Carol Schroeder, 55, was carted to jail for missing child support payments because she couldn't find a job. Her "character" had done time for stealing money for drugs.

"I actually felt overwhelmed and wanted to cry," said Schroeder, who works at Child Abuse Iowa. "It would be easy to give up."

Kristi Morrison, 49, knows the feeling. Morrison played a sex offender Saturday, but in real life she was convicted for methamphetamine possession. She was released from prison in January.

Morrison lives with relatives, but she has no car, no bus route in Urbandale and can't afford medication for high blood pressure.

Mandatory counseling and meetings with her parole officer also make it difficult to juggle a job, she said.

"You can't get a job and make it to all those meetings," she said.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


Personal motivations make bad law

View the article here

08/02/2009

By Jennifer Chou

An interesting tidbit about Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings - in the middle of the proceeding Norma McCorvey of Texas and another anti-abortion protester began shouting about overturning Roe v. Wade, and were subsequently arrested (see full story here).

When asked about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, in which the Supreme Court declared that a Constitutional right of privacy protected a woman's right to choose an abortion, Sotomayor responded that all Supreme Court precedent was settled and undisputed law.

McCorvey at that time began to scream about how abortion was wrong, and was ushered out of the room by security.

McCorvey is better known as Jane Roe, of Roe v. Wade . It is unclear why Roe drastically changed her position, but it likely had something to do with her own negative experiences regarding abortion.

McCorvey's view exemplifies a major problem with the influences behind the creation of law. Many people push for legislation not based on whether it is the best for the individual or society, but based on how a particular issue affected them personally.

In McCorvey's case, she likely gives little thought to the women who reasonably seek or need abortions, and believes in a ban on abortion because of her own negative experiences. People such as McCorvey do not consider the fact that their own particular experiences are not always representative of everyone else, and are not a legitimate basis to justify a blanket ban.



Another example is that of Megan's law, which was named after Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped and killed. Megan's family lobbied aggressively for legislation upon the death of their daughter. Megan's law requires sex offenders to register on a national database, so that people can be aware of sex offenders living near them.

This sounds fair for the most part, but the lobbyers for Megan's law probably did not consider the fact that people caught urinating in public would also have to register as sex offenders, and be subject to the contempt of their community. To subject someone who committed the harmless offense of urinating in public to community scorn and the label of "sex offender" is harsh and unreasonable.



Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is another example. One tragic drunk driving accident spurred drastic lobbying and legislative action, which has now resulted in increasingly unreasonable blood alcohol limits. Many people pulled over for DUIs are not stopped because they are driving dangerously, but because they forgot to use their blinkers or turn on their headlights, which led to breath tests that revealed they were at a 0.08 blood alcohol level or above.

The idea is to keep the streets safer, but at what cost? Indeed, the founder of MADD left the organization, and has since indicated that she was concerned about the changing focus of MADD. "It has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I ever wanted or envisioned," said Candy Lightner. She emphasized the difference between drunk drivers and drivers that happened to have been drinking, adding that "I worry that the movement I helped create has lost direction."

In California, one doesn't even need to be at a 0.08 blood alcohol level to be convicted of a DUI. The DUI charge consists of two counts. One count is the charge of driving while over a blood alcohol level of 0.08, and the other count is the charge of driving while under the influence. Thus, people who are at a 0.03 or some other harmlessly low blood alcohol level could be pulled over for mistakes such as failing to put on a blinker, and be charged with a DUI.

Drinking is now illegal on almost all beaches in southern California. The most popular justification for this is that people become rowdy, riots have ensued, and there have been violent incidents because of drinking. As undesirable as riots are, it seems incredibly unfair that a few isolated and uncommon incidents have restricted the freedoms of the majority. Again, it is the case of isolated incidents creating law and sweeping in all kinds of permissible conduct along with truly reprehensible conduct.

People are too concerned with their personal experiences to consider the fact that the law or corresponding punishment they advocate for may be unreasonably broad, and sweep in plenty of innocent people along with the guilty ones. For many activists, a blanket appeal to moral authority instigates a law or movement that becomes increasingly harsh over the years.

Oftentimes, the goal seems to be to catch and punish as many people as possible or to pass sweeping bans, but not necessarily to do justice. When the motivation is a personal one, rather than a well thought-out one based on reason, injustice will frequently result.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


FL - Man who helped change sex offender laws says he 'made Florida safer'

View the article here

08/02/2009

By JOHN LANTIGUA

In 2000, Ron Book discovered that the nanny he employed was sexually molesting his daughter, Lauren, 16.

The woman was arrested and sentenced to prison. But Book, an influential lobbyist formerly of Miami-Dade now living in Broward, didn't stop there.

He helped pass an extension of the Florida statute of limitations for sex offenses against minors, tougher penalties for sex offenders misusing the Internet, enhanced state-funded treatment for victims, and more.

In what has become his most controversial initiative, he set out to persuade dozens of counties and municipalities - including in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast—to sharply restrict where sex offenders can live.

Today, many cities have buffer zones forcing sex offenders to live at least 2,500 feet from schools, parks, day care centers and school bus stops. Critics - including officials in law enforcement and corrections circles — say the new laws have left some offenders homeless and harder to track, but Book stands by his efforts.

"I sleep well at night knowing I have made Florida safer," he says.

Meanwhile in 2000, Dick Witherow of Lake Worth, a former private detective turned pastor, who preached to substance abusers and former convicts, began ministering to sex offenders.

He also had personal motivation. In 1953, at age 19 , he was arrested for impregnating his girlfriend, then 15. Facing a possible sentence of five years for statutory rape, he asked the judge for permission to marry instead. The judge agreed, Witherow avoided prison, and the couple were married for 25 years before her death in 1979.

That story is contained in his book, "The Modern Day Leper," which argues that today sex offenders are treated the way lepers were in Biblical times - as if any contact with the public is dangerous. He says in his own case, he would have been banished to prison instead of being given a chance to make a family and a productive life.

Witherow hastens to separate most offenders from sexual predators who commit violent crimes against children, like John Couey who raped and murdered Jessica Lunsford, 9, in Citrus County in 2005, helping provoke the expansion in buffer zones.Witherow says only about 1 percent of offenders are predators.

"Most of these men are regular people who made a mistake," he says. "They aren't guilty of horrible crimes. The idea should be to help them make a successful transition back to society. Treating them like monsters isn't the answer."

He says he has found that many offenders had drug and alcohol problems that led to their sex offenses and he helps treat those addictions.

Witherow also says the buffer zones are a pointless product of public hysteria.

"The living restrictions are useless and do nothing to protect children," he says. " In an overwhelming number of cases, it isn't strangers who commit these offenses, but people the children know well. Look at the case of the nanny, right in this man's home."

In his book, Witherow quotes a Congressman who stated that 100 percent of sex offenders repeat their offense. Ironically, the politician is former U.S Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach, who was driven from office after sending sexually suggestive messages to male pages in Congress.

"The truth is sexual offenders have a very low recidivism rate, less than 5 percent," Witherow says. "Ninety-five percent of sex crimes against minors are committed by new offenders and the living restrictions don't do anything to stop that."

Today, Witherow's Matthew 25 Ministries runs a program in Pahokee - Miracle Park - where some 30 sex offenders live. He ran a similar facility in Okeechobee County from 2000-2003, until local officials enforced zoning restrictions that drove him out.

The offenders share the 104-unit Pahokee complex with non-offenders, largely retired sugar workers. When Matthew 25 arrived in December several families with children moved out. The Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity is investigating to determime whether the families were forced out, something Witherow denies.

Now Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is saying the facility is too close to a baseball diamond and wants the offenders out. Witherow says the diamond hasn't been used in years. He calls it "more harrassment" of sex offenders who are trying to remake their lives.

The program for the offenders combines religious instruction with state mandated counseling, and lessons on substance abuse, finance and anger management.

Witherow says since 2000 he has counseled somewhere near 100 sex offenders and not one of them has been arrested again for a sexual offense.

"The real danger for parents isn't these sexual offenders," he says. "It is that your own child will be turned into a sex offender by what he's finding on a computer right in your home."

Book disagrees strongly with Witherow and stands by the buffer zones, although recent events in Miami-Dade have made him rethink the size of those zones.
- No zone, not 100 feet, 2,500 feet, 10 or 50 miles would protect anybody, period.  And there is no evidence that these buffer zones even work at preventing crime, it's just feel good legislation to further punish and harass sex offenders, to make everyone "feel" better!

Apart from being a lobbyist, Book is chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. The expanded zones have left dozens of men unable to find a legal residence and they live under a bridge in Biscayne Bay.

Book, who championed the zones, is now, ironically, having to help the men find places to live. Last week he placed at least eight of them in a rental complex. He says he now believes that slightly smaller buffer zones would open housing - 1,750 to 2,250 feet, instead of 2,500 feet.
- This is a lie, he did not place 8 offenders anywhere.  If he did, it was normal homeless folks and not sex offenders.

He also says that he supports a system that distinguishes between more serious offenders and others, and "a judicial review where some people can come off the list of offenders" and no longer be affected by the living restrictions.

Witherow, the former offender, approves.

"He's beginning to see," he says. "He's someone who trusted a nanny and he's been looking at every sex offender as if it was that nanny."

But Book and Witherow will probably never see eye to eye on the offenders. Witherow showers God's love on them. Not Book.

"I go under that bridge to see them," says Book. "I'm trying to see that they are not homeless, but that doesn't mean I have to like them."
- Yeah right Ron, keep lying.  You may go under the bridge, with a camera crew, to help yourself, but not others.  It's all PR to help save your reputation and the Homeless Trust's and Miami's image.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved


AL - 81-year-old woman to be tried for urinating in bushes of Bienville Square

View the article here

08/01/2009

MOBILE - An 81-year-old woman with a self-described incontinence problem awaits trial on a charge of public lewdness after Mobile police arrested her for urinating in the bushes in Bienville Square.

Police said that they've been tightening enforcement in the downtown square in response to complaints, but _____'s lawyer said his client's arrest was an overreaction.

_____, who will be 82 by the time her case goes to trial Sept. 15, said she was having a bladder emergency the morning of June 3 while at her bank, which is adjacent to the park, but was told that the branch didn't have a restroom available to the public.

She headed for the restrooms on the far side of the park, she said, but was unable to make it and began to urinate, so she jumped for cover in the bushes surrounding a small building.

The small building turned out to be a Mobile police substation manned by a cadet. He called for an officer and had her arrested.

_____ said that she pleaded with the officer not to take her to jail, but the officer deferred to the cadet because he actually witnessed the act.

Jay Casey, _____'s lawyer, called the decision to arrest an elderly woman with a bladder problem "ridiculously silly." She was booked into Mobile County Metro Jail, her mug shot taken, and released on $500 bail.

"This is something that should have caused pity, not anger," he said. "Another officer might have said, 'I'm sorry, ma'am, can I get you a towel?'"

_____'s arrest shouldn't be viewed in isolation, said Maj. Mike Barton. Public urination in the square is an ongoing problem, he said, and the frequent cause of complaints by the public.

In fact, the substation was built in 2006 specifically to help deal with some of the problems in the area -- from panhandling to public urination to bathing in the fountain and restrooms, said Deputy Chief James Barber.

Officers have some discretion on whether to arrest someone, Barton said, but sometimes, particularly in response to repeated complaints, "we have to take action and let a judge decide."

Public lewdness is not a charge for which officers can simply write a ticket, Barber said.

Barton pointed out that another man was arrested that same day for allegedly urinating in public. _____, 59, also was charged with public lewdness.

_____'s criminal record includes convictions for third-degree burglary and criminal mischief as well as several other arrests on charges that were eventually dropped, according to online Alabama court records.

_____'s record shows no prior arrests.

She said she's not angry with the police. She just wishes they could have understood that she wasn't trying to be rude; she just didn't have a choice.

"If you got to go," she said, "you got to go."


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues, All Rights Reserved