Monday, April 16, 2012
You will notice the rate of rape (very bottom) is lower than anything else and basically remains consistent. You would think, from what the media and self serving politicians tell you, this would be a lot higher than anything else, but the facts don't jive with their lies!
Crime statistics for the United States are published annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Uniform Crime Reports which represents crimes reported to the police. The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducts the annual National Crime Victimization Survey which captures crimes not reported to the police.
In 2009 America's crime rate was roughly the same as in 1968, with the homicide rate being at its lowest level since 1964. Overall, the national crime rate was 3466 crimes per 100,000 residents, down from 3680 crimes per 100,000 residents forty years earlier in 1969 (-9.4%).
The likelihood of committing and falling victim to crime also depends on several demographic characteristics, as well as location of the population. Overall, men, minorities, the young, and those in financially less favorable positions are more likely to be crime victims, as well as commit crimes. Crime in the US is also concentrated in certain areas.
It is quite common for crime in American cities to be highly concentrated in a few, often economically disadvantaged areas. For example, San Mateo County, California had a population of approximately 707,000 and 17 homicides in 2001. Six of these 17 homicides took place in poor, largely Black and Hispanic East Palo Alto, which had a population of roughly 30,000. So, while East Palo Alto accounted for a mere 4.2% of the population, about one-third of the homicides took place there. According to the FBI, in 2008 14,180 people were murdered in America.
The country's overall crime rate is measured by the number of offenses being reported per 100,000 people.
By Jody Barr
COLUMBIA (WIS) - Late last summer, a Charleston County judge awarded custody of a little girl to her father, a man investigators say had a sex assault conviction on his record.
The conviction happened in New Jersey and authorities say it involved one of the man's children. State Rep. Chip Limehouse found out about it, but it was too late.
"Clearly we have lapses in judgment in court and courts are human beings and they're imperfect and we see imperfect decisions everyday," Limehouse said.
Limehouse drafted a bill that would make it illegal for any child custody case or adoption to be awarded to a convicted sex offender.
- What if the ex-sex offenders crime didn't involve children?
Department of Social Services regulations prohibit that already, but Limehouse says his bill would go one step further by making it a crime.
"If judge and juries are going to be awarding custody of a child to an individual, there ought to be some level of standard," Limehouse said.
Limehouse wrote the state's sex offender registry law in the mid-90s. It allows the public to see every sex offender in the state -- their addresses, pictures, and up-to-date registry information.
The Charleston County case, according to Limehouse, exposed a dangerous loophole, one he says he never thought anyone in the judicial system would allow to happen.
"This will make it illegal, in fact, to award the custody of a child to an individual on the sex offender registry," Limehouse said.
"It will protect our children's safety directly, so, in my view, it is vitally important that we pass this into law this year."
In February, the bill passed the house 115 to 0. It's sitting in a Senate committee right now, but Limehouse says he's sure the Senate will pass it and the governor will sign it this year.
Just because someone may be found guilty and sentenced to prison, doesn't mean they are in fact guilty!
The Tasmanian Opposition's again calling for mandatory rehabilitation for sex offenders as part of any prison sentence.
Under current laws, treatment programs for convicted sex offenders are voluntary.
The Shadow Attorney-General, Vanessa Goodwin, says it is not good enough that sex offenders can opt out of treatment.
"It's absolutely ridiculous that people are spending time in prison and they have the option whether or not to engage in rehabilitation programs."
"If people are in prison we ought to be doing everything that we can to rehabilitate them, particularly sex offenders."
- Why just sex offenders? The prison system was originally set up to rehabilitate people, now it's just a warehouse.
"The community expect them to be rehabilitated while they're in prison."
- From reading the news about this the last couple years, I disagree! It's all about punishment, period!
Corrections Minister Nick McKim says Tasmania's laws are in line with those in New South Wales and Queensland where treatment programs are optional.
"The research shows that when you compel people to participate in programs, particularly sex offenders, not only is it ineffective for those people who don't want to be at the programs but they also risk disrupting the programs, so we have worse outcomes for those people who are volunteering to be in the programs."
The Minister says some offenders do opt to complete the program and the Government is working on a post-release treatment program.
So ask yourself this. If most sexual abuse or physical abuse is done by someone the child knows, most often their own mother, father, brother, sister, etc, then do you really expect them to teach their child how to tell on them? It should be taught in schools!
A vast majority of children who are sexually abused are done so by someone they know - most often a family member, an adult the family trusts or, in some instances, another child, a new study has revealed.
According to numbers provided by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, parents generally teach their children about "stranger danger" from an early age, telling them not to talk to, walk with or take gifts or candy from strangers, but statistics show danger often lurks closer to home.
Parents can help protect their children from sexual abuse by talking frankly to them about abuse, starting at a young age with age-appropriate information.
"It's essential that parents have a continuing conversation with their children about sexual abuse," Kay Knaff, clinical services program manager for Youth Villages, a private nonprofit organization that helps children with emotional, behavioural and mental health issues, as well as children who have been abused or neglected, said.
"This may seem hard to do, but it's the best way to protect your child. It's best to start talking to your children about child abuse as early as age 3 or 4," Knaff said.
Parents should talk to their children about inappropriate touching and other forms of child abuse, and make sure their children know what behaviour is right and what is wrong.
"Child abuse data show that the majority of children keep abuse a secret."
"That means it is even more important that parents not only talk to their children about what child abuse is and emphasize that it is never the child's fault. Abuse is always wrong, and children should report it to a trusted adult."
"Parents need to keep the lines of communication open and seek out their children whenever they feel like something is going on with their child or their child is behaving differently in some way from usual," Knaff said.
To encourage children to report any abuse, parents should let the child know about two or three people designated as safe adults the child can talk to if he or she suffers abuse or feels unsafe.
"Children need to know who they can talk to."
"They also need to be encouraged to tell what happened to them to more than one person and keep telling until someone believes them and does something about it," Knaff said.
Knaff also recommends parents specifically teach their children to report any touching that feels uncomfortable or wrong, even if it is by a family member, teacher, coach, pastor or church official, youth group leader or another child.
By KEVIN McDERMOTT
SPRINGFIELD - [name withheld] isn't allowed to go near a school, park or playground. He can't go to many events with his two young sons. His housing and employment have been limited.
[name withheld] is on Illinois' Sex Offender Registry. He was placed on the list because eight years ago, when he was 17, he got his 16-year-old girlfriend pregnant. Police found them together during the investigation of an unrelated burglary. She never made an allegation of force. Today he's married to another woman.
[name withheld]'s registry listing — available today, along with his mug shot, to anyone with an Internet connection — doesn't offer those details. Instead, it says he committed "Criminal Sexual Abuse" against a victim 9 to 16 years of age.
- I've never understood why they put in an age range, which makes it look even worse? Why not just say the victim was 16 years old and the offender was 17?
"We've been denied housing," says [name withheld], now 25, who lives in northwestern Illinois with his wife and children. "We got kicked out of a motel in Moline once because there was a park within 500 feet."
Under current Illinois rules that require sex offenders to be listed at least 10 years, [name withheld] will be off the list in another two years. But the latest effort to toughen the system in Illinois could keep him there five years longer — along with as many as 800 other so-called "Romeo & Juliet" sex offenders in Illinois.
As Missouri and other states scale back their sex offender registries amid concern they're ruining lives for minor crimes, Illinois has continued piling on tighter restrictions, including recent bans on offenders visiting parks, forest preserves or Internet social networking sites.
Illinois now is considering a measure that would comply with the federal Adam Walsh Act, which calls for toughening state sex offender registry systems across the country with a minimum 15-year listing. In Illinois, that would apply retroactively to offenders like [name withheld], in which the cases arose from consensual sex between teenagers.
- Anything applied retroactively is an unconstitutional ex post facto law.
|William R. Haine|
"Yes it is harsh ... on people who sexually exploit children," said Haine.
But critics say the continual toughening of the Illinois registry has become a runaway train, driven by tough-on-crime politics.
|Robert W. Pritchard|
"I don't condone sexual behavior between minors, (but) this is ruining their lives," says Pritchard. "We've got too many dysfunctional people already. We don't need to be creating them."
[name withheld], 24, of Lebanon, is on the list because of a relationship with a 16-year-old girl when he was 19. Police found topless photos of the girl, which could have led to [name withheld]'s being designated a child sexual predator with lifetime registration.
Faced with that possibility, he says, he pleaded down to get a 10-year registry listing that included a legal designation of "force," though documents in the case make it clear there was no actual allegation of force.
"It's cut off a lot of possibilities for me," said [name withheld]. He said he has been unable to find work because of the listing, and that even a hobby like attending car shows is girded because they're often held at parks.
"With almost everyone I know, it comes up eventually," he said. "It's humiliating. You never get used to it."
[name withheld]'s mother, Tonia Maloney, founded the group "Illinois Voices for Reform" two years ago to lobby for changes to the list.
"He took a deal. ... Now it looks like he's a 19-year-old who raped a 16-year-old," says Maloney, who is a paralegal in St. Louis. "They're keeping him away from schools. They're acting like he's going to hurt a child."
Maloney disputes the core rationale for sex offender registries: that sex offenders are more likely to reoffend than other types of criminals. In fact, a 2003 study by the U.S. Department of Justice found 43 percent of released sex offenders commit subsequent crimes of some kind, compared with a 68 percent recidivism rate for other criminals.
- And that, might I add, is for any other crime, not just sex crimes. The recidivism for sex crimes only is lower than 10%.
"When people hear 'sex offender,' I know what they think: 60-year-old man, 5-year-old child. I get that," says Maloney. "I think it all started with good intentions. Who doesn't want to protect children? ... But now, it's all political. It's not even about public safety anymore."
Maloney said a common story she hears through her organization is from people who agreed to their registry listings as part of plea bargains to avoid jail time, not realizing the ramifications of being listed.
[name withheld] of Elgin said that's how he ended up on the list, after impregnating his 15-year-old girlfriend when he was 18.
"I went to high school with her. I ended up moving into her house," says [name withheld], now 25. He said her parents knew of the relationship, but when she became pregnant, they got angry and called the police. He said he entered a guilty plea as part of the deal to stay out of prison.
"I had no idea what the registry was — that I'd be on the Internet. I had no idea how bad it would be," said [name withheld]. "I've been kicked out of (housing). I get pulled over (for traffic violations), and it says, 'Registered sex offender.'"
Defenders of the system say cases like those constitute just 3 percent of the more than 25,000 offenders on the Illinois list, and that the details aren't always so innocent.
"I spend a lot of time responding to this argument ... that the registry is full of young love gone wrong," says Cara Smith, of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office. "The registry is not full of these cases."
Smith argued that critics who raise the "Romeo & Juliet" arguments are often "people opposed to the concept of a registry," who search out and hold up a few rare examples and use them to argue against the whole list.
- Just like you folks do by passing laws that affect everyone based on bogus statistics and lies!
Smith said that sex crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute, and that even listings that appear questionable often involve details that explain why police, prosecutors and judges put them there.
- Difficult to prosecute? Have you been living under a rock? A simple allegation can ruin your life, and if you've watched the news, you'd know that.
"I guarantee you, many of those were charged with a higher crime, and it was pled down," making the crimes look less serious than they were, she said.
The sponsor of that bill, Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, said the presence on the list of those whom most people wouldn't consider sex offenders — such as those guilty of public urination — has diluted the meaning of the registry.
"It has desensitized us to who the true dangers of society are," Schad said last month. "We want to go back to the original intent" of the registry.
The Illinois bill to comply with the Adam Walsh Act is SB3359 (PDF). The Missouri bill to scale back the sex offender registry is HB1700 (PDF).