By Sandy Rozek…..
The editorial, “Tighten the reins on sex offenders,” in the April 14 edition of The Daily Gazette encourages support for legislation that will do just that.
The appeal centers around two arguments: Level 1 registrants, assigned to 20 years on the registry, are so potentially dangerous that they need to be given an additional 10 years; and residency restrictions are useful in preventing sexual assaults on children.
In support of the first argument, the op-ed gives, with no supporting evidence, three scenarios of sexual crimes committed by registrants after they were dropped from the list. This information was conveyed to the Gazette by the sponsors of the bill. With no specifics, it is of course impossible to comment on these cases.
Another argument given on this point is that the risk of recidivism increases with time.
The article claims that “a number of respected studies” support this, but, again, there is no documentation.
I suspect that what is happening here is a conflation of the results of long-term follow up studies of a specific population and the reality of the risk level of individuals over a period of time. Long-term studies follow a defined group of individuals, and their risk of re-offense is determined by the actions of those in the group.
Five years after release, a risk level is assigned based on any re-offense up to that point.
If even one member of the group re-offends within the next five years, the re-offense rate for the group will be higher at the end of 10 years than it was at five. It is cumulative and is based on group, not individual, behavior.
On an individual basis, the opposite occurs. In High Risk Sex Offenders May Not Be High Risk Forever, Dr. Karl Hanson, in speaking of high risk offenders, said, “Overall, the risk of sexual recidivism was highest during the first few years after release, and decreased substantially the longer individuals remained sex offense-free in the community….Whereas the 5 year sexual recidivism rate for high risk sex offenders was 22 percent [at] release, this rate decreased to 4.2 percent for the offenders in the same static risk category who remained offence-free in the community for 10 years.” Of low risk offenders —level 1 —he says, “The recidivism rates of the low risk offenders were consistently low (1 percent to 5 percent) for all time periods.”
Disputing the efficacy of the second point, that residency restrictions are valuable law-enforcement tools, does not require a lengthy explanation. Simply put, there is no evidence at all of a correlation between residency restrictions and public safety.
The California Sex Offender Management Board, a highly respected body, has captured the essence of residency restrictions in this statement: “There is no research which supports the use of these strategies [residency restrictions], there is substantial research showing that such policies have no effect on preventing recidivism, and there is a growing body of research which indicates that residence restrictions actually increase sex offender recidivism and decrease community safety.”
Since this legislation is proposed in the state of New York, this statement from the government’s own report, “Effective Sex Offender Management in New York State,” is significant: “All of the empirical research examining the effectiveness of residency restrictions shows that residency restrictions do not work to reduce the risk of harm to children.”
Improving public safety, lowering the rate of sexual crime, and protecting children from harm are goals shared by all decent Americans.
Increasing punitive measures against registered citizens and limiting their options even more than they are will not accomplish these noble goals.
Published 4/15/2016 at The Daily Gazette
26 Thoughts to “NO! to proposed legislation in New York”
Absolutely insane. If I understand correctly, this is because the laws were passed 20 years and now there’s some tier 1’s that are due to finally get off the registry. So now they want to change the law to keep them on for another 10 years.
So many things wrong here. To me, just the fact that these folks haven’t committed any new offenses in 20 years seems like they earned their right for release from public shaming.
We all know by now that recidivism is low for offenders and just keeps decreasing with time. The D.O.J. says so.
If passed, this would be devastating precedent.
In Michigan they get $50.00 a year from each registrant. I will bet when it comes time to release the first ones with the 25 year period they will be talking about increasing it for them too. They don’t want to lose that money.
That is ALL this is about. MONEY!
In Wisconsin it’s $100/ year. Lotta loot. Plus supervision fees, fees to the company that monitors my internet and treatment expenses. It’s also worth noting my car insurance rates have more than doubled (and i’ve never filed a claim, ever). Altogether it costs me about $150/month. Of course that’s not including my business losses (about 30k and counting), lawyer’s fees (5000), jail fees (2750), ect. I’m currently washing dishes for minimum wage.
For the system it’s all about the money. For me….it’s soooo much deeper. I’d run out, empty my bank account, and burn every dollar i had if that would clear my name. My life has never been motivated by money and i’m tired of being a cash cow for the system. Especially since my arrest was a sting which was entirely motivated for justifying an internet task force- who have never busted anyone except for stings- and collecting more funds. Money, money, money…!
Sad thing is i know that i have it GOOD, very good, compared to most guys. So i absolutely am not here to complain. Haha…well, maybe a little, but please, don’t judge me for it…..
“I’m tired of being a cash cow for the system”. Thats what i like to hear. We need more of this kind of thinking.
It was 10 years registration for level 1as per Dean Skelos’ Megan’s Law. Then Skelos upped it to 20 years. Then he was convicted of political corruption. He is now a felon. NY state level 1’s have been coming off the registry since January 2016. I think 1,500+ as of today. I think the article is saying 2 now free citizens that came off have reoffend.
RSOL ADMIN: Correct me if I am wrong here.
I recall a story in regard to this issue from a couple months ago. In that story (if it was related to this bill) the proposed law would increase the amount of time required to register AND would require “individual risk assessment” prior to granting removal from the registry.
If I am correct – I would like to propose this consideration:
To my knowledge there is no current law REQUIRING individualized risk assessment. They are done in treatment and many registered citizens have them done for personal reasons (that may include legal ones) but do any States “require” them?
I ask so that we may consider this: What if we support a law that, although on one side extends the required time on the registry but on the other sets a legal precedent of requiring “individualized risk assessment?”
In this manner we may be able to legally work “backward” to say, “If the law recognizes individualized risk assessment as valid then the law must recognize the assessment’s results. And of the assessment is legally valid and, in turn, the results are valid, then the length of time may very well be legally be invalid.”
Thinking out loud here…
I think Massachusetts does something like that, but I don’t know too many details about it. I remember Eric Tennen spoke about that last year at the RSOL conference.
There’s an upside and a downside to that suggestion. If there was a scientific way to quantify risk, I would be all for it. The static 99 can be a reliable indicator. The problem is that there is a lot of pseudoscience out there that passes for risk assessment. The ABEL, polygraphs and the penile plethysmography can be highly inaccurate. The ABEL is a test that has never been scientifically validated because Gene Abel won’t disclose his methods. While he says this is so people can’t “cheat” the test, it is rather dubious that people’s lives hang in the balance by a test that science has yet to determine is actually valid. And the problem with the test is that even if a particular person happens to show some tendencies of attraction that are of concern, the test can’t actually predict whether a person will act on those tendencies. Study after study shows the number one predictor of a blatant disregard for the law is sociopathy and this applies to sex offenders. In other words, just because I am a heterosexual doesn’t mean I’m at a higher risk for walking into a bar and raping a woman than a homosexual. All it tells you is that I am attracted to women but it can’t predict if I am going to use that attraction in a predatory way. For that, you’d need a test like the MMPI and a long psychological evaluation. Right now, the system assumes if you score high on the ABEL or the Penile test without any other corroborating factors that you ARE GOING to hurt a child and therefore these are highly prejudicial tests with no reliability. If they do use risk assessment to determine placement on a registry, it should be something we can all agree on. It should be scientifically quantifiable and take into consideration, not ONLY who one may be attracted to BUT whether they would act on it, or not.
Thanks for furthering this conversation. I took all the assessments you mentioned except the ABEL. I scored low risk on all of them and not deceptive on poly. I don’t think anyone can score no risk (ridiculous)
I’m in Florida. Offense was result of a sting. I understand the double edged sword issue but with no criteria to “prove” low(no) risk I believe we are just treading water with no tool to overcome the misperceptions.
We are constantly and consistently oppressed due to a perceived threat to the community. If both sides (really if the persecuting side) agrees a risk assessment of some/any sort is worthy as proof to reduce a sentence, remove from registry or any better outcome than what we currently get…I’d take them all again.
Using “risk assessment” just seems so dangerous. How can it be objective? I’m not going to trust an agency employed by the state. We don’t need any more junk science. There’s already mountains of evidence showing that our current sex policies are failing. Besides us, our families, and our lawyers, who cares?
Yeah, I wonder if pushing back, being more public and open, demonstrating, ect. would help. Or would it just elicit more derision and punishment?
I would take them too. And I appreciate the spirit of what you are saying. I do think individual risk assessment would ideally be better than a one size fits all approach, which is what is currently in operation. I just think the risk assessment that is out there doesn’t comport with whether an individual is truly at risk to offend. I think risk should be determined by static and dynamic factors and psychological tests like the MMPI and the MCMI but I don’t trust tests where the methods are questionable and the conclusions are erroneous.
When will those in high places leave those on the registry alone. The registry is a stigma that stigmatizes one and discriminates one. That next person is no better than another. The registry does not show any love what so ever.
The registry is a black list trumped up by politicians for this 21 century. The registry attentions might be good but bottom line it is evil and pride and greed that politicians can use.
I guess if someone would yell fire in a building they would immediately say the person was a freak of nature or something and lock them up for life or brand them.
There are pro’s and con’s in all things. I’m considered violent and never even touched a person. I guess you could say some politician’s or big wigs are violent also. People love covers all. This world is getting so cold.
See this is exactly what I am talking about and there are those of us saying “Lets not make waves or my probation officer will get mad” They are trying to add time to our registering period and adding restrictions because we are NOT making waves. We are hiding behind lawyers and being good like they want us to be with hopes that they will just leave us alone. Its not working is it? Hardships are not only increasing for the offender but for the offenders family as well. Should we just roll over and let them do that so our probation officer is happy? or should we gather and protest loudly and make sure they know we aren’t just a couple people they can push around but 1000s of fed up people with families to think about.
Probation officers can’t restrict our first amendment rights. I guarantee no one has that in their conditions. They can make sure we don’t associate with one another outside of therapy (a purposeful way of making sure we can’t assemble or organize, under the guise of keeping children safe) but they can’t shut us up, as much as they’d like to. Believe me, probation officers as as onerous as prosecutor’s officers, perhaps an argument can be made that they are more onerous. But they still shouldn’t shut down our right to free speech.
I posted a comment about probation under the article “The Fight Goes On” because of another comment I wanted to respond to.
But I see now that this would have been a better place for it.
Please go to “The Fight Goes On” and see my comment and give your feedback if you will.
I don’t know if the site admins would allow me to copy and paste it here.
I think it’s time we organized a public forum. So many good men are falling prey to the Police tactics which are currupt. They use their psychological tactics to turn goid men into offenders. This practice needs to stop or be focused in the right direction.
Fred, I get so upset with my sister when I talk to her about my probation officer and she says he is just doing his duty. Even when I wanted to attend church and had two chaperones. They said that I couldn’t have them until I signed a waver saying that I knew that it was a teenager I was talking to on the net and telephone. And my sister said that was required but my other chaperone said, He’s not going to sign something like that.
That’s just the same as admitting guilt if I would of signed that. They will trick you in all this sex registry stuff just to intimidate you more. Oh yes, probation officers pump people. People I would like everybody on here to write articles or letters to the editor as the American public is not aware of half of this stuff.
Hey when everybody was watching “To catch a predator” every was on the edge of their seats as this was action at its best to catch low life’s and now you don’t hear anything of “To catch a predator” because one person blew his brains out over all this situation.
If you really think about who was at fault to cause that much pressure on someone to commit suicide than I’m sure you can come up with who’s the blame.
Oh and I wonder what yellow caution lights are for.
Police do not give you any caution when they ask you for pictures, what your going to bring with you, or things or that nature and at the who time they are building a case. Backing out forget it they will come and get you, so they say.
Can I just say it would be nice to go one damn week without hearing about some new law or restriction being proposed! I’m becoming programmed to wake up in the morning and say “what now”?! It feels like every four or five days now, there’s another punch to the gut.
Another slippery slope happening with this one. Very dangerous if this goes through because what they’ll ultimately argue for is life for all three tiers, it’s the logical end of where this is going. It’s bad enough Tier 3 individuals don’t get a second chance but I think that’s going to be in the cards for all of us.
Fulton J. Sheen’s motto was that life was “worth living”. I’ll tell ya, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. People do grow stronger through struggle and strife but there are also breaking points where the human body, psyche or spirit cannot endure any more pain. Fred, I’m not sure if it’s all about money. Certainly money and power are what they are seeking but sometimes, I think they just want to torture us…….why? Because they can.
I hear you and I have noticed that too. It seems like every single blog post on this website is to inform us of another measure against us. It seems like for every thing that goes in our favor there is another 10 that go against us.
I appreciate what RSOL is doing on this website by keeping us informed. However I wish they would also consider allowing some articles about how we can unite and stand against the registry. I attempted to submit my own work on that issue, but it was rejected. I guess it was too extreme for RSOL to discuss uniting among us and organizing protests.
RSOL appears more comfortable with just giving us the day to day updates which is almost always bad news. I honestly believe that our numbers will grow if we can show hope and unity and organization to stand against the registry. Therefore increasing RSOL donations that can go to the legal team and the organization. Sounds like a win/win to me.
Please consider that and consider allowing articles about what we can do about this and encouraging us to take a stand. All this bad news just makes some of us want to give up and crawl back under the rock they want us under.
National RSOL is hard at work to broaden our efforts at advocacy. Making the website a more positive and engaging experience is one of our chief goals. We’re also in the process of acquiring the necessary skills and talent to be more effective with social media. While I am personally unaware of your submission, Fred, or the reasons why it was rejected, I encourage any one out there who would like to participate more actively in pursuit of our goals to consider volunteering in whatever capacity you can. This link will give you an idea about our present needs: Volunteer positions. And, send your donations! The more we raise, the more we can do. We are an all-volunteer operation. Your generous dollars are the only thing that keeps us going. Thanks! -Admin
Fred, I concur with what Robin has said. Additionally, if you would like to write an article putting forth your plan and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration, I will be happy to take a look at it. Put the name on it that you would want showing for the public should it be accepted for publication.
I am glad to hear that. I feel what we need is a post once in awhile on the blog to remind people of how important it is to organize and have open discussions on the best method to do that.
I look at your State Advocate and Coordinator volunteer positions and I think “Okay, they are people who reach out to the general public and recruit members, but how?” Are they sending out bulk mail or email? Are they going door to door? Are they mailing letters to everyone on the registry? Or are they just setting up websites and waiting for people to notice and sign up?
I personally would like to see some way that we can discuss methods of recruiting and what we are legally allowed to do. For instance I have been tempted to send letters to all the RSOs in Mi to make them and their family aware of our cause, but I am not sure if that is legal. What are my other options?
Is there already a way to bring leaders together online to discuss methods and strategies for recruiting offline? I would sure like to participate in that. if there is.
Thank you Sandy. That is where I sent it on March 9th. Exactly as you instructed. I don’t expect you to post it if you don’t like it, but I know where to send them.
To me it just seems like legislators and local lawmakers are school yard bullies. They go around picking on the small and weak people because they know we can’t fight back. But we’re the ones labeled as “predators.” When their house of cards begins to crumble, I wouldn’t want to be the person on top.
This is exactly what is going on and that is why I keep pushing for us to fight back in a more visible way, so that they can see they are mistaken. It is no secret that bullies are cowards when faced with a real fight.
I don’t know why we have to fight fair when they don’t…
Regarding the “risk assessment” issue, I personally went through one. I passed with flying colors. Even my follow up counselors agree that I pose no risk, and that “treatment” is unnecessary. The probation officers, and the court judge, don’t care one bit. In their eyes, I am still a “child predator”, and my every word implies a desire to sexually molest children. And, in Hawaii, I am still required to register for life!