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Archive for September 23, 2008

Banishment of Sex Offenders: Individual Liberties

September 23, 2008 Comments off

Social Science Research Network: Banishment of Sex Offenders: Individual Liberties, National Rights and the Dormant Commerce Clause, Environmental Justice, and Alternatives by Shelley Ross Saxer, Pepperdine University – School of Law
September 11, 2008

Abstract:
Sex offender residency restrictions effectively banish these locally undesirable and dangerous individuals from our communities because we fear that they may reoffend in our neighborhoods. The practical effect of banishment through residency restrictions must be understood in the context that there are few places in modern day America to which a sex offender may be banished that is isolated from the rest of society. Rather than being excluded and thrust into some undeveloped wilderness, sex offenders are banished through residency restrictions to neighboring counties or states and into poor, minority neighborhoods where they often live in boarding houses with other sex offenders. Federalism concerns arise when states or municipalities attempt to exclude hazardous waste disposal from within the state, and judicial and legislative efforts to banish sex offenders to other states may also run afoul of Dormant Commerce Clause principles, which operate to discourage states from such protectionist activities.

Banishing sex offenders through residential restrictions, both legislative and private, impacts individual liberty, our national structure, and social policy considerations. Although most sex offenses are committed by relatives or acquaintances of the victims, rather than by strangers, our public policy approach has been to focus on the stranger sex offender. This Article offers a legal analysis of the adverse impacts these restrictions impose on the constitutional rights of the sex offenders and the rights of our communities, which for economic or political limitations do not have the appropriate representation to mitigate these consequences. Finally, because there is not yet evidence to support the efficacy of residency restrictions on sex offender recidivism, this Article concludes that state and local legislators should seriously reexamine the current trend of using residency restrictions to address concerns about sex offender recidivism. Instead, public policy decision makers should look toward alternatives, such as individualized risk assessment and management of these individuals, so that public resources can be properly directed to confine, monitor, and treat those sex offenders most likely to commit serious reoffenses.

Sex Offender Registries Under Fire

September 23, 2008 Comments off

abajournal.com : Crime Registries Under Fire:
Adam Walsh Act mandates sex offender lists, but some say it’s unconstitutional.

Two years ago, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.
Included in the Walsh Act is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which establishes a national sex offender registry and creates three clas­sifications of sex offenders. The most serious group is required to register within three days after moving to a new state or face up to 10 years’ imprisonment. The law also makes it mandatory for states to maintain an online registry accessible to the public.

Most federal courts—spurning critics who contend that Congress exceeded its authority by encroaching on state and local control—have upheld SORNA.

But at least two courts this year have sided with the critics and invalidated some or all of the registry law. In both rulings, the courts referred back to a line of U.S. Supreme Court cases from the 1990s that limited the federal government’s reach into state law. Meanwhile, a third federal court temporarily halted the new law until it had a chance to hear arguments on the issue.

More is at stake than just the sex offender registries, observers say. Americans have become accustomed to national crime registries, and courts could throw them into doubt. “Not surprisingly, given our increasing sense of informational entitlement and disdain for criminal offenders, we are seeing registration and notification laws spread to other subgroups, such as domestic abusers,” says Florida State University law professor Wayne A. Logan, author of the forthcoming book Knowledge as Power: A History of Criminal Registration Laws in America.

Also up for grabs is the future of the U.S. Supreme Court’s line of federalism cases.

…The Walsh Act is the most far-reaching and may present the perfect opportunity for the Supreme Court to sink its teeth into such laws, Logan says.

The act “represents a ze­nith in federal demands on states with re­spect to registration and community notification,” he says. “Among other things, the law significantly expands the scope of registration eligibility and requires, for the first time, use of in-person verification and a conviction-based registration classification scheme. The states are expected to make major changes to their regimes, at significant trouble and cost.”

A Sex Offender is SOMEONE’S Child!

September 23, 2008 Comments off


cleanuptheregistryohio.blogspot.com : A Sex Offender is SOMEONE’S Child!

You will not find photos like these on any Sex Offender registry!
Do you have similar photos like these? Family photos; everyone has them! As parents we are so proud of our children and always showing them off at any given opportunity.

Do you see a ‘sex offender’ emerging out of any of these pictures? Is he scarey to you? Someone you think you should protect your child from? How about the imfamous word ‘perv’?! How about ‘PRED-A-TOR’, because he’s on the registry?!

If this was YOUR child’s photos and he were convicted as a sex offender and placed on a registry for a consensual sex act with his girlfriend, how would YOU feel?

Aren’t you just a tiny bit, just a wee-bit ‘peeved’ that you are being deceived to believe that an individual like my son is suppose to be a threat to your child?
Don’t you feel a bit taken advantaged of by your politicians that you vote for, keeping your family ‘safe’ from ‘predators’, when they include individuals like my son?
I’m not saying the sex offender registry is not a good tool, well, it use to be a good tool~ because now, you have individuals like my son in the same category of those that ARE a danger to your child~and now, well, you don’t know who they are!! They are all the same….just listen to any politician advocating for ‘tougher’ sex offender laws and restrictions.

Exposing Lies About Sex Offender Recidivism

September 23, 2008 Comments off

offenderstatistics.blogspot.com : Official California Report to the Legislature and Govenor’s Office.

Section 3: SEX OFFENDER RECIDIVISM (pdf)

Data at a Glance:

3.55% of sex offenders on parole with CDCR had committed new sex offenses by the time the conclusion of their three-year parole period.

• A ten-year follow-up study of 879 sex offenders in the state of Ohio reported that when using sex offense conviction as the outcome measurement, of 34 % of sex offenders who have re-offended, only 8 % were re-committed for a new sex crime, plus 3 % for a technical violation judged to be related to a potential new sex crime, while the other 22% reoffended for non-sexual offenses.

Solid information about the recidivism of sex offenders is one of the key building blocks for good policy and effective practice in sex offender management. If it were not for the concern that an identified sex offender may offend again in the future and create another victim, the questions about how to best manage sex offenders living in California communities would not be of such intense interest. Knowing how likely it is that an individual sex offender or a certain type of sex offender might re-offend can drive many decisions. Similarly, knowing what interventions actually reduce the chances that a sex offender will re-offend is also extremely important.

Existing data indicates that the majority of sex offenders do not re-offend sexually over time (Harris & Hanson, 2004). Additionally, research studies over the past two decades have consistently indicated that recidivism rates for sex offenders are, in reality, lower than the re-offense rates for most other types of offenders. In a longitudinal study that followed 4,742 known sex offenders over a period of 15 years, 24% were charged with or convicted of, a new sexual offense (Harris & Hanson, 2004). The U.S. Department of Justice found that 5% of 9,691 sex offenders released from prisons in 1994 were re-arrested for new sex crimes within three years. Recent research data from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation indicate that fewer than 4% of the convicted sex offenders released to parole in 2003 were returned for a new sex offense over the course of a three year period of living in the community under parole supervision (CDCR Research, 2007).

Colorado Deciding Whether to Implement AWA

September 23, 2008 Comments off

Denverpost.com: Colorado sex-crime database perplexes.

When President Bush signed the Adam Walsh Act into law, it required states to contribute to a national database of sex offenders with more current and stringent registration requirements.

But states and American Indian tribes are having a tough time implementing some of the requirements of the 2006 law — such as making the names and addresses of juvenile sex offenders available on the Internet.

In Colorado, officials have met for more than a year to decide whether to comply with the Adam Walsh Act by July or lose $240,000 in federal funding. And it may be worth losing the money since it could cost more to fulfill the law’s requirements.

“I think at this point, the committee has not reached a final conclusion,” said Chris Lobanov-Rostovsky, program director of Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board. “We are looking at the fact that this is an unfunded mandate. The other issue is that the committee and the state are committed to doing what is best for safety and victim protection. And looking at this act, is it going to further the cause?”

The Justice Policy Institute, a Washington think tank that promotes alternatives to prison incarceration, has estimated that the law would cost Colorado $7.8 million to implement.

This fall, the committee is expected to present a preliminary recommendation to Gov. Bill Ritter to decide on compliance. “The money is not necessarily there, and does it make sense above and beyond that even if the money were there?” Lobanov-Rostovsky asked.

In Colorado, sex offenders are classified based on risk to the community. And not all states have the same charges or same coding for offenses, but they all have to become uniform under the act. “We would have to shift over to a charge-based system,” Lobanov-Rostovsky said. “We would have to change our sexual-assault statutes, and those are some of the challenges.”

One of the biggest controversies for states to deal with is whether to upload information about juvenile sex offenders into the database, such as their address, the school they attend and a photograph.

“We are extremely disturbed that we could be putting kids as young as 14 on this database,” she said. “What we would like instead is for people on the registry not to get this sort of ostracism and get them the services and opportunities to help reduce recidivism.”

Nastassia Walsh said a national sex-offender registry is not the answer and that money should be spent on rehabilitation or other crime-fighting programs. “There really is no evidence to show that this is an effective way to enforce public safety,” she said. “It is just political rhetoric to keep kids safe, but it is turning into a logistical nightmare.”