Sunday, July 7, 2013

UK - Outrage As Judge Tells The Truth About Child Pornography

Child porn logo
Original Article

07/07/2013

By Tim Worstall

We’re well aware that the availability of pornography is at an all time high these days. What might be less obvious is that the level of sexual crime is falling, falling like a stone actually, and has been for well over a decade. Economists posit that there’s a link between these two things: that the technology of the internet has made the porn more available and this has led to a reduction in the level of meatspace sexual violence. In the jargon the question is whether porn and sexual violence are complements or substitutes. Does the first encourage the second or does it in some manner replace it?

The truth is always going to be complex: for some people will undoubtedly act out what they see while for others the fantasy replaces the real world activity. What we’d like to know is what is the overall effect? Or if you prefer, which effect predominates? The general supposition (backed by good evidence) is that porn is a substitute for the sexual violence, even while it may in certain cases prompt it. So far so good, this is reasonably well known.

What isn’t so well known is that the same effect appears to be true with respect to child pornography. And given that it’s not well known this explains the outrage which has greeted the words of a British judge:

A judge in the James Bulger case sparked anger last night as she defended the release of one of his killers and cast doubt on links between watching child porn and carrying out sex abuse.

Jon Venables was set free last week after serving three years in jail for downloading horrific photos of sex assaults on children.Baroness Butler-Sloss, who gave him and Robert Thompson lifelong secret identities after they committed one of Britain’s most notorious child murders, said he did not deserve to be locked up for ever.

And she denied there was evidence to show that paedophiles who seek out indecent images online also carry out physical assaults.

Naturally there’s been an outcry about this:

James’s mother Denise Fergus, 45, said last night: ‘Baroness Butler-Sloss obviously has no idea what a disgusting animal like Venables is capable of doing.

‘A lot of paedophiles start off by looking at porn on the internet and then they move on to rape and murder.

And:

And Tory MP Julian Brazier, a member of last year’s Parliamentary inquiry into online child protection, said he ‘strongly disagreed’ with the former judge’s comments. ‘The evidence presented to the commission was overwhelming. There is ample evidence of correlation and we have seen an alarming rise in children who have become sexual predators,’ he said.

As above there will be that correlation. For it is almost certainly true that some people do move from one to the other: that for some they are complements. However, what we’d really like to know is what is the general effect: across the population are they complements or substitutes?

Pornography continues to be a contentious matter with those on the one side arguing it detrimental to society while others argue it is pleasurable to many and a feature of free speech. The advent of the Internet with the ready availability of sexually explicit materials thereon particularly has seemed to raise questions of its influence. Following the effects of a new law in the Czech Republic that allowed pornography to a society previously having forbidden it allowed us to monitor the change in sex related crime that followed the change. As found in all other countries in which the phenomenon has been studied, rape and other sex crimes did not increase. Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.

So the judge was in fact wrong: we do have evidence about this. It’s just that the evidence points to the two being substitutes. More child pornography seems to lead to less child abuse. All of which leaves us in a difficult position. That any child be harmed in the production of pornography is of course an outrage and one that we most certainly should not be willing to allow happen. But we’re still left with that fact that this places more children at risk of attack rather than less. Just one of those problems that doesn’t really seem to have a solution.


FL - County looks to IBM facial recognition to keep sex offenders away from kids

IBM numbering system used by the Nazis
Original Article

Well IBM does have experience making numbering systems to label people. They did it back in Hitler's days to help him mark the Jews and others he didn't like.

07/05/2013

By Adam Vrankulj

The Miami-Dade County in Florida is set to test a facial recognition system from IBM in attempt to keep sex offenders out of public parks.

The project is set to begin in the next two months and aims to catch convicted sex offenders approaching a range of public spaces where children are likely to be found. Reported in the Wall Street Journal, the county’s CIO, Angel Petisco said the system will likely be expanded to more regional locations by the end of the year, provided the test is a success.

The county is also considering other uses for recognition technology, outside of catching sex offenders in places they shouldn’t be.

Miami-Dade isn’t the first community to turn to facial recognition for keeping tabs on convicted sex offenders.

Reported previously, the Iowa Department of Public Safety has equipped every Iowa Sherriff’s department with facial recognition software to digitize the mugshots of sex offenders in the state.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a $1 million grant for the creation of a biometric sex offender registry.

Facial recognition, as a whole, is gaining traction and also, public support.

Also, According to a recent CNN/Time/Orc poll, 79% of Americans are in favor of using facial recognition at various locations and public events, and 81% support expanded camera surveillance on streets and in public places.

In fact, according to a recently-published research report, the global facial recognition market is estimated to grow from $1.92 billion in 2013 to $6.5 billion in 2018, at an impressive CAGR of 27.7%.




The National Registry of Exonerations

Original Article

Diigo Post Excerpt:
The National Registry of Exonerations is a joint project of the University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. We provide detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges.


TN - Inmates at Hardeman start bands

Diigo Icon
Original Article

Diigo Post Excerpt:
Michael Donahue wants to be put out of business, and he's trying everything in his power to make that happen. Donahue is the warden at Corrections Corporation of America's Hardeman County Correctional Center. The facility, located in Whiteville, has 1,976 medium-security beds, and Donahue wants to make sure every inmate who is released stays out of prison. "It's all about public safety," he said. Hardeman County Correctional Center has several programs that inmates can be involved with that are designed to give them something to do, something to strive for and something to pursue when they're released. The center has educational and trade programs, including one through which 36 inmates received their GEDs in May. But one of the most unusual programs is a musical one.


OR - House OKs sex-offender registry plan

Oregon State Capitol
Oregon State Capitol
Original Article

07/07/2013

By Peter Wong

Lawmakers are poised to overhaul how Oregon classifies thousands of sex offenders and how they get on and off a state registry.

The House approved House Bill 2549 on a 48-11 vote Saturday and moved it to the Senate, which will take it up today as lawmakers hope to close their 2013 session.

Lawmakers also gave final approval to the remaining agency budgets — the Department of Human Services, which has the largest workforce, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. All agencies have temporary spending authority through Aug. 15.

The sex-offender registry bill is among dozens to emerge from the budget committee.

Oregon has almost 20,000 sex offenders, but it largely has been a one-size-fits-all system. About 16,000 have undergone an assessment by the Department of Corrections; 4,000 have not.

The bill would set up three tiers. The first tier would consist of those considered at the least risk of offending, and offenders could get off the list in five years. The second tier would consist of those at moderate risk, but who can petition to be reclassified in 10 years.

The third tier would consist of those most likely to reoffend. For those convicted of specific crimes — first-degree rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration, kidnapping and burglary, the latter committed with other qualifying crimes — those offenders would have some reporting obligations during their lifetimes.

Dec. 1, 2016, is the deadline for the new classification process.

Information about some sex offenders considered “predatory” is posted on a website maintained by the Oregon State Police, which also is in charge of overall sex-offender registration for adults and juveniles.

A group has worked for two years to devise a new registration system.

Rep. Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach, said the bill strikes a balance between a need to keep tabs on higher-risk offenders and a release of those who have served their punishment and have not committed another crime.

This is a good bill that is going to help deliver justice,” said Krieger, a retired Oregon State Police trooper.

What we are going to do is look at the risk to the community and whether or not somebody can get off the sex offender registry,” said Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, the bill’s floor manager. “This gives law enforcement the tools they are asking for to be able to understand who is in the community and what risk they pose.”

Meanwhile, the House gave final approval to the Department of Human Services budget on a 38-21 vote.

Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, said the budget makes additions to benefit children, families, older people and those with disabilities.

There are more slots for employment-related day care and a program moving families from welfare assistance to work, more child-welfare workers, more mental health care for older people and more assistance for people with disabilities.

For the first time in many years, we’re going beyond just prioritizing cuts and what we can try to preserve,” said Nathanson, co-chairwoman of the human services budget subcommittee.

This budget is making strategic investments to improve outcomes and to reduce the need for higher-expense, high-cost interventions in the long run.”

But Rep. Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg, said he had doubts.

I believe some of the investments in this budget are 100 percent appropriate,” said Freeman, who was subcommittee co-chairman in the 2011 session. “But I believe there are other things in this budget that are unsustainable, and we are spending too much money.”

The total budget for the next two-year cycle is $9.1 billion, $2.3 billion of which comes from the tax-supported general fund and most of the rest from federal grants.

The workforce is about 7,500 full-time employees.

The Senate gave final approval of the budget for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission on a 23-7 vote. The agency, which has a monopoly on sales of hard liquor and enforces state liquor laws, does not draw from the tax-supported general fund.


WA - Kennewick families concerned about sex offender boarding house

Chris Tarr stands for a portrait with his son Anthony Marquette
Chris Tarr & son Anthony Marquette
Original Article

07/06/2013

By Tyler Richardson

KENNEWICK - The front yard of Chris Tarr’s Kennewick home should be a safe place for his 2-year-old daughter to pedal her tricycle and splash through the sprinkler.

But his yard is off limits to her and his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son because a short fence is all that separates them from six sex offenders living next door.

The house at 1132 N. Arthur St. isn’t an apartment complex or state-run halfway house.

It’s a five-bedroom home on a cul-de-sac off Canal Drive in central Kennewick.

And Tarr and other neighbors are fed up.

They maintain that the city of Kennewick and state prison officials have allowed the single-family home to become a sex offender boarding house.

It’s someone illegally renting their house for money,” Tarr said. “As soon as (an offender’s) money is gone, their stuff is out on the curb.”

But the self-ordained minister who owns the home says he’s doing nothing wrong. He’s helping reform the sex offenders he houses, he told the Herald.

Neighbors say city and state officials have ignored the issue for four years.

Now, a new law goes into effect July 28 that finally could give officials leverage to remove the offenders and stop state prison officials from giving them rent vouchers to live there.
- So you'd rather them be homeless and roaming the streets at night?

Rising tensions

Tensions have been rising in the neighborhood since Roger Reiboldt — leader of Steel Against Steel Ministries — starting renting rooms to sex offenders in 2009.

Reiboldt, 55, said he was called by God to rehabilitate sex offenders and to “hold them accountable.”

God put a nugget in my heart to answer the call,” he told the Herald. “I didn’t willingly wake up one morning and say, ‘I want to work with sex offenders.’ God tricked me into it.”

County records show Reiboldt bought the modest two-story, 1,875-square-foot home on North Arthur Street in 2011. The home, built in 1945, is assessed at about $119,000.

Since 2009, at least 21 sex offenders have lived at the home, said Officer Alan Knox, who monitors sex offenders for the Kennewick Police Department.

Of the 21 who’ve lived there, 13 were deemed “high risk” by authorities, meaning they are considered highly likely to re-offend, Knox said.
- And if it's been there since 2009, that is 4 years without incident!  And when did the father and his family move there?

At least six sex offenders, including three high-risk offenders, currently live there.

It’s unknown how many other people are living at the house. Department of Corrections officials confirmed people convicted of other crimes have lived there in the past using state-issued vouchers to pay their rent.

Neighbors have been outspoken about their disapproval of Reiboldt and the perception that their tight-knight neighborhood is unsafe. They claim there are constant fights at the home, drug use and thefts in the neighborhood.

Kennewick police have been called to Reiboldt’s home 42 times in four years, Kennewick police records show.

This is a danger to the community,” said Lloyd Washan, who has lived in the neighborhood 25 years. “These are dangerous people. They didn’t just accidentally end up in jail.”

Phyllis Hirschel, who has lived in the neighborhood 60 years, said the mood of the neighborhood has changed since the sex offenders moved in.

You ask anyone if they would want this place in their neighborhood,” she said. “They would say, ‘No.’ We have people moving out because of this.”

Residents argue Reiboldt’s ministry lacks the support programs and training to help sex offenders rehabilitate.

While having all the sex offenders living in one place makes it easier for Knox to track them, he agrees Reiboldt’s model of support within the house is broken.

A lot of them are fresh out of prison for their sex charge or something else,” Knox said. “Roger can say what he wants, but he is no bona fide therapist, counselor or pastor.”

‘A legitimate need’

Neighbors believe Reiboldt’s motivation is purely for financial reasons with no real intention of helping the men transition safely back into society.

Reiboldt charges each offender $300 to $400 a month for a “shared living cost.” The price fluctuates depending on different factors, including how long the person has lived there.

He said no one in the neighborhood has ever directly expressed concerns to him.

He called the group of five neighbors who spoke to the Herald “worried people who don’t know the whole story.” His ministry’s services include Bible study sessions and counseling, he said.

The only profit I get is the investment in these men for the kingdom of God,” he said. “It’s not for the money, it’s because these guys have a legitimate need.”

Offenders living at the house declined to talk about Reiboldt or his services.

Reiboldt wants to offer more programs, such as a workshop to teach offenders basic job skills. He claims he uses at-home urine tests to make sure offenders aren’t using drugs and has a 10 p.m. curfew.

His vision continues to be to try and change the negative stigma of sex offenders.

The minute we hear ‘sex offender’ we think ‘pedophile,’ ” Reiboldt said. “Evil, terrible, sex-stalking, sex-crazed maniac.”

Reiboldt scoffed at the idea that he is making any profit off the offenders. He said the rent money goes to a nonprofit account and is put back into the house.

But a check of the Secretary of State’s website shows Steel Against Steel Ministries is not registered as a nonprofit organization.

Reiboldt said he recently moved to Arizona to “support the ministry,” though he told the Herald he is not working.

Lee Moses — who, when the Herald first spoke to him, was an avid supporter of Steel Against Steel and was helping to take the house in a “new direction” — said recently he has cut ties with Reiboldt because he questioned his motives and his management of the house.

It’s like (he’s) using (the sex offenders) as a source of capital because it’s hard for them to find a place to live,” claimed Moses, whom Reiboldt referred to as his “spiritual adviser.” “That’s pretty pitiful,” he said.

City, state take action

Neighbors recently reached a boiling point when Reiboldt indicated more offenders would be moving in.

They thought the problem was resolved two years ago after a meeting with Kennewick and state prison officials. They said they were told Department of Corrections would stop issuing vouchers to Reiboldt’s address.

Joel Fort represented the DOC at the meeting and doesn’t remember telling neighbors or officials that no housing vouchers would be issued anymore.

Fort, a community corrections supervisor, said DOC agreed to “cut back significantly” on placing offenders at Reiboldt’s house.

Did we release offenders there (after the meeting)?” he said. “Yes, but we were careful to monitor that.”

Fort couldn’t provide the exact number of offenders the state has released to the address because they “don’t keep records of where offenders were released,” he said.

Neighbors also are frustrated with city officials, whom they say have repeatedly refused to enforce city codes.

Kennewick City Attorney Lisa Beaton agrees Reiboldt’s house is in violation of city code because it is zoned as a single-family home and cannot have more than three occupants who are not relatives paying rent.

He’s running a rental business out of a single-family home in violation of our zoning code,” she said.

Beaton recently sent a letter to state corrections officials asking them to remove Reiboldt as a housing provider.

And she said the city is prepared to take Reiboldt to court to enforce the zoning code.

We thought the problem was solved when DOC said they would stop issuing vouchers,” Beaton said. “Turns out that was not correct.”

Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin said they are “not pleased” with the situation and also have now asked the state to stop releasing offenders there.

Stricter laws

Senate Bill 5105 (PDF) creates strict guidelines for the Washington State Department of Corrections to use when issuing housing vouchers to any offender being released from prison.

Some offenders are given vouchers for up to $500 a month for three months, said Norah West, DOC’s communication specialist. The offenders use the vouchers to pay for housing.

The new law gives the community the ability to remove a housing provider and give input before a provider can be approved by corrections officials.

Prior to the bill, (DOC) didn’t have any requirements to coordinate with the community,” said Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, who sponsored the legislation. “Now (DOC) has a much closer responsibility to work with the community and make sure (transitional housing) is a good fit for everybody.”

The law will require DOC to maintain a list of approved providers and where offenders are released.

DOC has no criteria for placing sex offenders, other than to make sure they have “proper accommodations,” Fort said. “There are no limits on how many offenders can live together.”

Fort said he feels he listened to the residents in 2011 and did what he could to make sure their concerns were adequately addressed.

Prior to the meeting we had more offenders living at the address then we did after that meeting,” he said. “We were being responsive to their concerns.”

Beaton said she has not heard back from prison officials on the issue.

Fort told the Herald the state wants to work with city officials and the police department to help them enforce city codes. He was adamant that Reiboldt will be removed as a provider and no more vouchers will approved for his Arthur Street address.

I feel real confident right now saying that we will not release any offenders to that address as long as Roger Reiboldt is there,” Fort said.

Residents are skeptical. They feel like the city has looked the other way at a problem that has caused them a great deal of stress the last few years.

My thing all along has been (Reiboldt) is running an illegal boarding house,” Washan said. “Why haven’t they done anything about it? I’m as mad at the city of Kennewick for not enforcing their ordinances.” If nothing is done soon, Washan said he will form a citizen committee and sue the city.

I think everybody is to the point where if something doesn’t change we will start picketing or something,” Tarr said. “The whole neighborhood is pretty tired of it.”