Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FL - Under the Bridge

Once again, Ron Book showing what a lier he is. Any idiot could look on the registry, or question those under the bridge, to see that not all ex-sex offenders under the bridge are child sex offenders. But, he's a lobbyist, so what do you expect from a wolf in sheep's clothing?

He says "he knows" that a 2,500 foot residency restriction makes people more safer. No he doesn't, that is his personal feeling. Ron, show me the facts to back up your statements, all wise one!


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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


America's unjust sex laws

View the article here

I am tired of people saying America is a democracy, we are a republic, have always been, but they are trying to switch it over, and thus, IMO, why the USA is crumbling! A democracy is where the government thinks they have to butt into everyone's life and protect us, a republic is a government for the people, by the people! Also, this article is from the UK.

08/06/2009

An ever harsher approach is doing more harm than good, but it is being copied around the world

IT IS an oft-told story, but it does not get any less horrific on repetition. Fifteen years ago, a paedophile enticed seven-year-old Megan Kanka into his home in New Jersey by offering to show her a puppy. He then raped her, killed her and dumped her body in a nearby park. The murderer, who had recently moved into the house across the street from his victim, had twice before been convicted of sexually assaulting a child. Yet Megan’s parents had no idea of this. Had they known he was a sex offender, they would have told their daughter to stay away from him.

In their grief, the parents started a petition, demanding that families should be told if a sexual predator moves nearby. Hundreds of thousands signed it. In no time at all, lawmakers in New Jersey granted their wish. And before long, “Megan’s laws” had spread to every American state.

America’s sex-offender laws are the strictest of any rich democracy. Convicted rapists and child-molesters are given long prison sentences. When released, they are put on sex-offender registries. In most states this means that their names, photographs and addresses are published online, so that fearful parents can check whether a child-molester lives nearby. Under the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, another law named after a murdered child, all states will soon be obliged to make their sex-offender registries public. Such rules are extremely popular. Most parents will support any law that promises to keep their children safe. Other countries are following America’s example, either importing Megan’s laws or increasing penalties: after two little girls were murdered by a school caretaker, Britain has imposed multiple conditions on who can visit schools.

Which makes it all the more important to ask whether America’s approach is the right one. In fact its sex-offender laws have grown self-defeatingly harsh (see article). They have been driven by a ratchet effect. Individual American politicians have great latitude to propose new laws. Stricter curbs on paedophiles win votes. And to sound severe, such curbs must be stronger than the laws in place, which in turn were proposed by politicians who wished to appear tough themselves. Few politicians dare to vote against such laws, because if they do, the attack ads practically write themselves.

A whole Wyoming of offenders
In all, 674,000 Americans are on sex-offender registries—more than the population of Vermont, North Dakota or Wyoming. The number keeps growing partly because in several states registration is for life and partly because registries are not confined to the sort of murderer who ensnared Megan Kanka. According to Human Rights Watch, at least five states require registration for people who visit prostitutes, 29 require it for consensual sex between young teenagers and 32 require it for indecent exposure. Some prosecutors are now stretching the definition of “distributing child pornography” to include teens who text half-naked photos of themselves to their friends.

How dangerous are the people on the registries? A state review of one sample in Georgia found that two-thirds of them posed little risk. For example, Janet Allison was found guilty of being “party to the crime of child molestation” because she let her 15-year-old daughter have sex with a boyfriend. The young couple later married. But Ms Allison will spend the rest of her life publicly branded as a sex offender.

Several other countries have sex-offender registries, but these are typically held by the police and are hard to view. In America it takes only seconds to find out about a sex offender: some states have a “click to print” icon on their websites so that concerned citizens can put up posters with the offender’s mugshot on trees near his home. Small wonder most sex offenders report being harassed. A few have been murdered. Many are fired because someone at work has Googled them.

Registration is often just the start. Sometimes sex offenders are barred from living near places where children congregate. In Georgia no sex offender may live or work within 1,000 feet (300 metres) of a school, church, park, skating rink or swimming pool. In Miami an exclusion zone of 2,500 feet has helped create a camp of homeless offenders under a bridge.

Make the punishment fit the crime
There are three main arguments for reform. First, it is unfair to impose harsh penalties for small offences. Perhaps a third of American teenagers have sex before they are legally allowed to, and a staggering number have shared revealing photographs with each other. This is unwise, but hardly a reason for the law to ruin their lives. Second, America’s sex laws often punish not only the offender, but also his family. If a man who once slept with his 15-year-old girlfriend is barred for ever from taking his own children to a playground, those children suffer.

Third, harsh laws often do little to protect the innocent. The police complain that having so many petty sex offenders on registries makes it hard to keep track of the truly dangerous ones. Cash that might be spent on treating sex offenders—which sometimes works—is spent on huge indiscriminate registries. Public registers drive serious offenders underground, which makes them harder to track and more likely to reoffend. And registers give parents a false sense of security: most sex offenders are never even reported, let alone convicted.

It would not be hard to redesign America’s sex laws. Instead of lumping all sex offenders together on the same list for life, states should assess each person individually and include only real threats. Instead of posting everything on the internet, names could be held by the police, who would share them only with those, such as a school, who need to know. Laws that bar sex offenders from living in so many places should be repealed, because there is no evidence that they protect anyone: a predator can always travel. The money that a repeal saves could help pay for monitoring compulsive molesters more intrusively—through ankle bracelets and the like.

In America it may take years to unpick this. However practical and just the case for reform, it must overcome political cowardice, the tabloid media and parents’ understandable fears. Other countries, though, have no excuse for committing the same error. Sensible sex laws are better than vengeful ones.


"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


IL - New law makes sex offenders' use of Internet social networking a felony

View the article here

And yet another idiot buying into the myths that all sex offenders use social networks to hunt for victims. I sure hope people in Illinois who are ex-sex offenders, are fighting this in court?

PLEASE NOTE: This is only for those who are on probation or parole. You can read the bill here, or contact the sheriff, probation/parole officer, to confirm this for yourself.


08/12/2009

By Ray Long and Monique Garcia

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn (Contact) signed new laws Tuesday designed to limit sex offenders' use of technology as a way to find more victims.

One law taking effect Jan. 1 makes it a felony for registered sex offenders to use social networking sites, a move aimed at taking another step toward shutting down an avenue of contact between an offender and victim.

"Obviously, the Internet has been more and more a mechanism for predators to reach out," said Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), a sponsor of the measure and a governor candidate. "The idea was, if the predator is supposed to be a registered sex offender, they should keep their Internet distance as well as their physical distance."
- And again, the article is about sex offenders, and they use the word "predator" to make it appear that all sex offenders are predators, which is a lie.

"The object is to protect innocent individuals on the Internet from sex offenders."

Quinn also signed into law a new offense known as grooming, where a predator over time coaxes a minor into meeting for sexual activities. The law, whose sponsors included Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), is aimed at closing a loophole in the current sex registration law, he said. It takes effect immediately.

Another bill, signed on a busy day where Quinn dealt with dozens of bills, deals with child visitation rights. As of Jan. 1, the law will provide for visitation rights through electronic communication such as telephone, e-mail and instant messaging.



Sex Offenders Can't Tweet

08/13/2009

By ANDREW GREINER

Don't fear the poker.

Governor Pat Quinn signed a law this week that bars convicted sex offenders from using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Starting January 1, the only sites that these convicts can sign up for is the Illinois sex offender data base.

"Obviously, the Internet has been more and more a mechanism for predators to reach out," said Sen. Bill Brady, a sponsor of the measure. "The idea was, if the predator is supposed to be a registered sex offender, they should keep their Internet distance as well as their physical distance."

"The object is to protect innocent individuals on the Internet from sex offenders."

Quinn has taken a hard line on sex offenders. Last week he signed a law banning them from driving ice cream trucks. This week he signed another bill against "grooming," where a predator coaxes a youngster into sexual relations over time.


"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


MD - Families Untied: Public housing banning policy tears families apart

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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


TN - Parents Say Changes in Bus Routes Make Children Targets For Sex Offenders

View the article here

08/12/2009

By Kevin Holmes

MEMPHIS – Parents say the changes to Memphis City School bus stops are making their children targets for sex offenders. The district cut 200 bus routes this year to save millions of dollars, but some say there are worrisome consequences.
- You are assuming all sex offenders are out looking for someone to molest.  If you are so scared, then take your child to school, or bus stop and sit and wait for the bus, like a good little parent!

The school year just started but Chuck Belisle and several parents say they’ll be on pins and needles the entire school year. Memphis City Schools cut 200 bus routes this year in an effort to save $6,000,000, making the walk home in some neighborhoods longer for several children and some parents say more dangerous. Belisle lives in the 38133 zip code: 18 registered sex offenders live in that area. “Would you want your child being two blocks from a registered sex offender?
- Your child is more likely to be hit by a car or stray bullet than being sexually abused by a known sex offender, you have let the media scare the hell out of you, based on bogus statistics and fear-mongering.  How many kids can you tell me about, that have been abducted at a bus stop?

A spokesperson for MCS tells myEyewitnessNews.com that safety is a top priority and the district will review changes made to bus routes on a case by case basis. Belisle and other parents realize the district has to save money, but many say cutting bus routes, just doesn’t add up. “What happens to these children today is what’s going to affect them in the long run and it’s going to scar them for life.”

If you have any concerns about the new bus routes you can contact the MCS Transportation Department at (901)416-5540. The district says you can also voice your complaints to your child’s principal.

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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


CA - Prop 83 - GPS tracking bracelets - Waste of Tax Funds

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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


UT - Salt Lake City woman charged in alleged kidnapping

View the article here

Now, since kidnapping is an offense against a child, she could be on the sex offender registry for life!

08/09/2009

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Salt Lake City woman has been charged with kidnapping for allegedly taking a 6-year-old boy to the State Capitol where she interrogated him with a video camera and accused him of abusing her child.

Charging documents filed Friday in 3rd District court say 48-year-old Deborah Olsen had permission to take the boy to her home on July 5 for a play date with her child. Salt Lake County prosecutors say the woman detoured to the Capitol and badgered the boy about allegedly "touching" her son.

Court papers say the tape, which was turned over to police, shows the 6-year-old crying, upset and begging to go home.

Court papers don't say why Olsen thought the boy had harmed her son.

Prosecutors charged the woman with one count of first-degree felony kidnapping. No court appearance has been scheduled.


"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


OFF TOPIC - VA - Arrested For Blogging About The Police?

View the article here

08/11/2009

from the where-do-you-draw-the-line dept
A bunch of folks have been submitting this story about a blogger who was effectively arrested for blogging about the police, raising a series of free speech issues. As the article notes, the woman (her blog) hardly makes for a sympathetic symbol of free speech rights. She appears to be a racist supporter of segregation and also seems to have an obsession with the local drug enforcement task force, posting all sorts of information about what they were doing and who was on the task force. But the question is whether any of it actually broke the law. What led to her arrest was posting home address info -- and a photo of the home -- of an officer on the task force. However, as the article linked above notes, that information was gleaned from public sources that anyone could have looked up had they chosen to do so. Making that a crime doesn't seem to make much sense. The police didn't even charge her with obstruction of justice, but with "identifying a police officer with intent to harass." The problem is such a law is so broad, it raises serious First Amendment issues. The woman isn't exactly a model citizen, but it still seems like a stretch to arrest her for revealing information that is already public.


"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


MA - Victim’s parents target violent-offender laws

View the article here

08/12/2009

By Maria Cramer

A violent offender is released from jail, moves into a town, and commits a hideous crime. The horrified community is outraged and demands a response. A politician drafts legislation, usually named after the victim, which at least temporarily quells the outcry.

But that legislation is often not effective, can target the wrong people, and leaves the community no safer than it was before, said Andrea Casanova, the mother of Alexandra Zapp, a 30-year-old sailing enthusiast who was murdered by a sex offender at a rest stop in Bridgewater.

Now, in partnership with the RAND Corporation, Casanova and her husband, working through the Ally Foundation created in her daughter’s honor, are launching a nonprofit institution that would analyze research done on sexual and violent offenders.

The idea is to study the issue of recidivism the way scientists study disease: objectively and with an eye toward prevention. The goal is to provide research based on scientific evidence that would guide policy makers and community activists as they draft legislation or strategies to deal with violent perpetrators.

We keep making these laws that don’t protect the public,’’ said Casanova, who created the foundation after Zapp’s 2002 killing. “They don’t really help prevent recidivism.’’

The partnership between the Ally Foundation and the global policy think tank comes as several laws and measures that target released sexual and violent offenders are facing criticism.

Advocates say such laws, which impose a variety of regulations on sex offenders, help residents stay on guard for convicted predators whose behavior is difficult to predict once they are freed.

Others have criticized the restrictions, for example, limits on where offenders can live, rules that stay in place even if the offender never commits another crime. Often, measures do not distinguish between criminals who are at high risk for reoffending and those who are not. Under some laws, a teenager caught having sex with an underage partner may be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Through the partnership, Casanova said she hopes to provide a clearinghouse that will disseminate reliable research to both legislators and other citizens who want to know whether the laws in their own state or county are effective.

Greg Ridgeway, RAND’s director of safety and justice research, said the plan is to raise about $2 million a year to analyze existing research and conduct new research. The Ally Foundation will help raise funds and raise awareness about the effort.

They are an unusual victim’s family, in that they recognize that there are serious problems in the system and they simply didn’t want another piece of legislation with Alexandra’s name on it that solves one little loophole,’’ said Ridgeway. “They wanted to do something bigger. They noticed there are tens of thousands of families like them, and they want to do something broader, that has an impact."

Casanova has pushed for new laws on sex offenders since her daughter’s murder. She successfully fought to pass Ally’s Law, a state statute that makes it easier to commit sex offenders even after they have served their prison terms.

Zapp’s killer, Paul J. Leahy, had previously been convicted of raping a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint, but a judge ruled he could not be civilly committed after his release from prison because his most recent sentence was for a nonsexual crime.

This weekend, Casanova is hosting the seventh annual Flip Flop Regatta, a fund-raiser for the foundation.

But she said this latest effort with the RAND Corporation is a “quantum leap’’ for her small organization.

We are just trying to figure out what really would work,’’ Casanova said. “I’m hoping it will reset all the standards for how we deal with sexual and violent offenders.’’

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has worked with the foundation and supports the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a federal law signed in 2006. The law, named after a 6-year-old boy who was kidnapped and killed in Florida, mandates that all states classify sex offenders into three tiers, strengthen penalties for failure to register, and order the worst offenders to update their whereabouts every three months.

The law, which has yet to be implemented in any state, has been criticized in part because it bases its classification system on the crimes for which the offender was convicted, not a comprehensive risk assessment of the individual.

Casanova said such laws are flawed because they are not based on research into successful programs or on scientific evidence.

Allen praised the goals of Ally Foundation, but said he is skeptical of research that would try to predict the behavior of offenders.
- Well, the Adam Walsh Act was a law passed based on a couple high profile crimes, and not based on facts, and under the impression that all sex offenders have a high recidivism rate, which is false. You all have turned this into a major money making business, by boosting fear and propaganda to make more money for yourselves, and thus, IMO, exploiting your own child's death to make a quick buck. When are you going to listen to the MANY experts and the facts that say none of these laws will work at preventing crime? I guess your ego's are too big to see that, or care about it. It's all about vengeance and punishment, that is obvious.

I think the work they’re doing could add a great deal to our understanding of these problems,’’ Allen said. “The more we understand about why people offend and who they offend against and the more we can predict the behavior, the better we’re going to function as a society. The problem is the success of attempting to do that has been mixed at best.’’