New cottage industry developing — cashing in on sex offender registration

By Sandy . . . In 2015, a post was published on an advocacy blog detailing the many ways that various entities benefited from what the bloggist calls the sex offender industry. Those who benefited financially lead the list.

Wyoming, in need of funds to support its registry, has cleverly found a way to add to the list of those benefiting. All those newly registering on the Wyoming sex offender registry will have to pay a $150 fee for the privilege. This will also apply to visiting registrants from out of state who enter Wyoming and stay three business days. And then, when they are ready to leave, they must pay an additional fee, $31.25, to de-register.

Additionally, all registrants within the state must pay a $31.25 fee every time they report any change in status, such as a change of address, of employment, a new vehicle, or the addition of a tattoo.

According to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, News, “A grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that supports Wyoming’s sex offender registry is dwindling. The new fees will replace the grant funding.”

The fee is split, with 75% going to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the other 25% to the local authority.

An offender failing to pay the registration fee he can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to $750 in fines and six months in jail. A failure to report changes within three days is charged as a felony and punishable by up to $1,000 and five years in prison.

A provision is made for a wavier of the fees when a registrant is indigent. He must make application and complete a form proving his indigency, which must then be approved by the state.

Law enforcement in Jackson Hole fears that this financial burden will prevent some visiting registered citizens from registering in Wyoming.

In light of the recent ruling handed down in Pennsylvania, where certain portions of that state’s registration requirements were deemed to have crossed the line from regulatory into punishment, we can only hope that civil rights attorneys in Wyoming are watching this latest attempt to continue heaping consequence after consequence on the backs of a group of citizens who are already marginalized and vilified.

 

 

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Sandy Rozek

Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

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    • #16538
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      Ben

      According to this new law in Wyoming, those already residing there who are registered don’t have to pay the $150, as they are said to be “grandfathered”. This would suggest that maybe they are trying to keep this law constitutional, by not applying that cost retroactively, but those same people are required to pay the fee of $31.25 every time there is a change in registration information. Any cost to the registrant, regardless of what they call it, should be deemed as punitive, or further punishment, inadvertently creating a potential constitutional challenge.

      If a law requires an action be taken by an individual or face consequences of failure to perform said action, that constitutes it being involuntary. No registrant volunteers to be placed on a registry. If any government wants the registry to exist, it should always be their responsibility to uphold the financial burden to keep it funded, not passing down that cost to the individuals who have no choice whether or not they are listed upon it. Regardless whether the state’s budget is healthy or depleting, if they can’t find a way to fund their registry without this kind of legislation, then I guess they shouldn’t have one.

      No matter the reasoning and no matter the circumstance, taking even a single dollar from a registrant because they are one, is a money making, profitable yet disgusting business, and there should be a federal law written that prohibits such blatant extortion at any level.

      • #16684
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        Maestro

        It should definitely be seen as extortion as well as being seen as “victim exploitation”. I’m sure there’s a way in legal jargon to come up with a way to say that law enforcement has made this sex offended nonsense into a business that helps to keep them (law enforcement) in business and minimizes the “victim”.
        What would they do if there wasn’t a new sex crime for an entire 12 month period?

        • #16755
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          Not right

          I agree Maestro. Makes no sense just because the USG DOJ funding is dwindling. Realize you raise taxes when other taxes don’t bring in as much anymore. This is similar. Would be interesting to see the history of the DOJ funding for WY and the true trend. Is it really dwindling? If so, why and how much? Does the new funding source, sorry for that term, equate to the loss of funds? Where does one look this up? With the small amount of RCs in WY, this cannot be a meaningful source of funds annually.

    • #16592
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      W John Martius Jr

      The registry disgusts me on many levels. As do, the “for-profit” prisons around the country. I am not a registrant but do not understand the continued punishment of people who have served their time, paid their fines and jumped through every hoop society throws in front of them. It is an immoral society that “brands” people especially for those unfortunately caught up in police sting operations and not actually committed a sex crime.

      The damage it does to families is astounding, unrelenting and extremely easy to measure. The stigma attached prevents the average American appalled by these tactics and registries prevents any calm, fact-based discussion on the topic. Jobs are jeopardized, family/social ostracizing, re-entry to society is next to impossible for those so marked with the red letters “SO”.
      I am very much ashamed of this society, legislators, prosecutors and extremely punitive judges. But most importantly, I am appalled at law enforcement sitting quietly by as they witness and partake in the excessive punishment of those trying to take advantage of the boasted American “second chance” society. It is not true for those branded sex offenders – rightly or wrongly. It doesn’t matter. I could go on-and-on with facts and figures… but legislators will not listen, police will continue to conduct entrapping sting operations, politically aspired prosecutors will continue to pursue maximum sentences and continued punishment and lazy judges will continue to let them get away with it. I lament my dire outlook, but it is difficult to see anything positive given the current political climate.

      • #16689
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        Aarax

        Very well said! I am as well ashamed of our human race! Our ancestors had more sense and compassion than our supposed “modern” societies. I don’t know when people became so hateful, so vicious, and so full of revenge. Oh yea, and that includes the law enforcement, politicians and our legal system ( one of the worst)!

    • #16688
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      Dave

      More fuel for the inevitable uprising. I’m not going to stand by and have anything else added to my long list of woes. I was not guilty of the crime I was convicted of so they are just playing with fire. When people start snapping it will all be on them. This is why it is so important to follow the constitution. If they did there would be no registry and I would not even be convicted. It is taking advantage of a hated group of people because you think nobody is going to stand up for them. In the end everyone is in the group of people and they all are standing up.

    • #16687
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      Yogi may not be able to stay long

      I do see this possibly impacting the tourist industry for those RCs who do travel there unless they slide in and out without saying anything. Places like Teton, Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole are nothing but tourist places. In addition, the mining industry in WY is not booming like it once was, so revenue is down. They do have make up for it somehow. However, no one has explained why DOJ funding is dwindling.

    • #16686
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      david

      In my state (Wisconsin) we pay $100 a year to be on the registry. Last year they took it out of my tax return and charged me a $10 late fee- even tho it wasn’t late! If there’s 19,000 offenders in WI- that’s $1,900,000 just in regular fees. Wonder how many others have had their finances sacked with “late fees”? When i called and asked if i could get my ten bucks back i was basically told no.

      There’s nearly a MILLION people in this Underclass of “Untouchables” our Government has created. And who cares? Not your average citizen. Until it happens to them in some way.

      I was arrested in a sting. How much federal grant money have they raised thru the ICAC? From what i could tell this backwoods PD has gotten millions over the last ten years. For what?! Paying some guy to look at Craigslist personals all day (or night). How weird is that??

      (Don’t forget the polygraph companies, SOT treatment providers, Supervision fees and Internet Filtering Services(costs me $12/month). Even my car insurance even went up!)

      Really, it’s not about the money…it’s the unfairness.

      [PS) Like the sleek new website!

      • #16698
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        Thanks!
        Read the blog post referenced at the beginning of this post for a thorough enumeration of the entities benefiting financially from the registry.

    • #16685
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      Rajendra

      If it looks like slavery, inflicts like slavery, and pains like slavery, then it probably is Registry

      • #16759
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        Thomas Darby

        Rick, your last line sounds almost exactly like me. My father died of Alzheimers, I have some lingering dementia from strokes 18 years ago. I’m diabetic, 65, have high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritic joints… unlike you, I don’t welcome death. I want to live long enough to see the AWA, Jessica’s Law, Megan’s Law, and all the rest, including every registry of Americans, come to a screeching halt. I want to see the politicians and self-serving bleeding hearts get their comeuppance. This guarantees I’ll live another 50 years, at least. Then I’ll gladly take the Lord’s hand and leave this sad Earth. But before that happens, we’ll surely see implanted “chips” (like a midwestern company is already using for employees) to track sex offenders wherever they go; imagine a siren going off and an announcement that a “sex offender is on the premises” if you go shopping at Walmart! What the average citizen does not understand is that if sex offenders are extorted and tracked by government authorities, it won’t be long before they track you, too. George Orwell would be screaming “I told you so!”

    • #16700
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      Rick

      How are they going to know you are a RSO, unless you are pulled over by the Gestapo and show your ID. However, considering the draconian measures involved for not registering and paying the State’s extortion fee, you are taking your chances.

      I am a RSO for 18 years (it should have been for 10 years but AWA changed all that, now it is for life) I no longer travel or leave the State of Kansas. I used to go to a Conception Abbey, a monastery in Missouri several times a year and usually stay a week, but not anymore, with having to register with the Gestapo in Missouri if I stayed more than 3 days, with similar draconian measures if I didn’t.

      For the aged and infirm RSO’s no nursing home will accept them because they are a liability, even if they are in a wheel chair or bedridden.

      Considering the direction this Country is heading, with the GPS ankle bracelets, GPS implants, etc., I won’t be surprised when all RSO’s are rounded up and put into segregated areas, like internment or concentration camps.

      For me, at age 65 with type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and possible initial stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, I welcome death when it comes. The old saying “death is not a punishment, but a release”.

    • #16708
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      Bob

      It’s all part of the price club.

    • #17015
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      Love_Bill_Rights

      Be aware also that Wyoming has a very specific law on its books to punish anyone traveling with an RSO who violates any provision of their laws. That’s right! If you travel through Wyoming with your wife or child, they could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting if you make any misstep. Stay out of Wyoming!

      • #17049
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        Maestro

        I’d love to see the district attorney who would actually bring charges against a mother and child for this. I’d love to see the smug look on his face as he pretends he’s “protecting the public”.
        When are people going to stop just saying “Well, that’s the law” and actually fight to CHANGE the law.
        I don’t believe in gods and monsters so the only other way in which laws are written are by MANKIND. And those laws are NOT etched in stone for all of eternity.
        The problem with this (and other western countries) is that we’re more concerned with making sure our laws don’t hurt the feelings of immigrants instead of fighting to change laws that are effecting EVERYONE.

    • #17050
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      Mig

      I live in Louisiana and the parish (county) charges an annual $60.00 registration fee. The city charges $200.00 annual fee after a $600.00 one time feel. YES, you read that correctly… six hundred dollar one time fee for all tiers.
      I wish someone would go after these Louisiana ROS laws. The do not make sense. For instance, current laws do not allow me to work a carnival ride. However, I am not forbidden from being a dental hygienist. Also, I am not allowed to work for a company that pumps sewage from people’s septic tanks… but I can own and operate a martial arts school for minors provided I have a sign somewhere proclaiming my crime.
      Tier 2 and 3 cannot be within 1000 feet of a school bus or a school at any time, yet the school board will not give Tier 2/3 ROS’s the school bus schedule so those ROS’s will know where they cannot be.
      Depending on your tier level, you have to place an ad in the local newspaper every 5 years (tier 1), annually (tier 2), or every six months (tier 3). This ad must run for two days and has your photo, address, crime, physical description, age, etc. Also, you must pay a company to send out post cards to every address (residential & business) within 1500 feet of your address with the same info that is in the newspaper ad. If you live outside the city limits, this post card goes out to everyone within a mile of your residence. I asked the sheriff’s office for the list of addresses that they would be sending this card out to regarding myself and they seemed shock and/or incredulous and wanted to know why I wanted to know that info. I told them that I wanted to know that because if they sent out a card/notice to one single person that was one inch outside of that 1500 foot range that I would sue their office. They called my probation office and threatened to lock me up for refusing to cooperate.
      By the way, my “crime” is an FCC violation (obscenity) and my charge is not on the SORNA list of qualifying charges to register. But Louisiana seems to believe it is. Doesn’t anyone have any sense in our capitals?

    • #17677
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      R. Arens

      Long ago, bureaucracies were funded with tax dollars. Those were the good old days. Now they’re funded from the wallets of the sex offender. Ain’t that bout a bi__h?!!! Next thing you know, the tax code gets abolished in favor of sex offenders bankrolling Uncle Sam in the name of bigotry and prejudice.

    • #18177
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      Momoffive

      I find the system broken. It’s all about making money. You can murder someone and get out carry on your life. The sex offender registry is absurd. It’s a continuation of punishment – it’s a Salem witch hunt.

    • #18467
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      Don Kellough

      I live in Illinois and work in Wisconsin, and have register in both states, AND pay each a yearly $100 !! Unbelievable….

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