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Ohio poised to remove thousands from registry

By Katie Wedell . . . Two decades after Ohio began labeling sex offenders on a public database and setting restrictions on where they can live, a major overhaul to the law is being proposed that could drop thousands of lower-level offenders off the list.

Some critics are even calling for doing away with the registry entirely, saying it’s been an expensive effort with little benefit to the public.

The Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee — tasked with overhauling Ohio’s criminal code — delivered recommendations to the state Senate last month that they say will save local sheriffs’ departments money on administration while ensuring the most serious offenders are still monitored.

The committee, in its notes on the changes, says the goal was to give judges more discretion on whether to put low-level offenders on the registry and, “to prioritize registration for those who remain a danger to the community and not to dilute the registry with offenders who no longer remain a danger to reoffend.”

Ohio currently has more than 17,000 individuals on the sex offender registry. Less than a third are labeled Tier III, the highest tier, meaning they committed crimes like rape of children, sexual battery or murder with sexual motivation.

Opponents of registration have long argued that it does more harm than good to keep those who have served their time from re-integrating into society, and they say the registry unfairly labels people who commit low-level, non-violent crimes.

“It’s the greatest reform we’ve seen in Ohio since registration originally came to be,” Barb Wright, founder of Families and Individuals for Reform, said of the committee’s report.

Residency restrictions, which currently bar sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day care, have been a particularly hot button issue and the committee recommends getting rid of them.

“Empirical data shows there is no evidence to support that residency restrictions impact public safety,” the committee’s notes say.

Read the rest at the Dayton Daily News

This topic contains 40 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Craig 4 months ago.

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  • #7442 Reply

    Tod Siegel

    This is encouraging, but most importantly, it is POLITICIANS who are working on ‘reducing or eliminating’ parts of the registry, not judges making the decisions on ex post facto, etc. In someways, this might be more important, maybe, than a lot of the cases happening around the country – it is the first I have ever seen of any politician opening their eyes and doing the right thing, I hope this starts another good path of the registry going away for most ppl. I also like how they are tweaking the tiers and only putting the ‘highest’ risk as a priority. Another positive step, thank you RSOL for posting this

  • #7443 Reply

    Nena

    This is so exciting. Hopefully this becomes a reality and other States follow suit.

  • #7444 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    I have to agree with you Tod. The implications of having politicians take a brave move to change the law says a lot about the feelings of the intelligent people in this country on this matter. Most of the court decisions in our favor have been by justices that are appointed rather than elected, so they have no incentive to pander to certain groups. The politician approach is also happening out in California too with proposals to remove the lifetime requirement to match the majority of the states’ tier systems. Ohio’s proposal is much better, but it shows that the politicians are starting to pay attention.

  • #7445 Reply

    FLCitzen

    My only problem with the tier system is it doesn’t take risk into factor but by criminal charge. I was 19 when i committed my crime and have been in so treatment since my release from incarceration. I am a level one offender and according to my risk assessment i have very low chance of recidivism. Under the tier system based on my charge i would not get any relief yet i am being discharged from treatment this month. The registry needs to be based on professionals and all the money we pay for treatment and counseling. Not what a prosecutor can chump as a charge to get you the maximum time.

  • #7446 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    While I do agree any lessening of registry restrictions are a good thing, I am a little concerned about what will be left in Ohio. Do they use individualized assessments for tier categories? It’s probably still offense based which is flawed. Also, there still seems to be a consensus with these politicians that registering the supposed high risk does any good at all. It is well documented that the registry enhances risk factors. Now, with this change, those registrants will face even more oppression as they attempt to find housing and jobs because the law will now say they are the worst of the worst. I’ve said this before many times in many forums, but when a person is released into society after serving their sentence, they should be given the tools to succeed and change their life around. Anything else is a recipe for disaster.

  • #7447 Reply

    Maestro

    What I want to know is what exactly do they consider a “threatening to the public” type of offense? Even the description they gave of “rape of a child”, etc, doesn’t tell us what they see as “low level”.
    For example, my case/story goes like this;

    I had just come out of a divorce from my ex wife who was 7 years OLDER than me. I’ve dated/chased after older women since my teens.
    After the divorce and feeling depression from it, I holed myself up at home and the only time I went out and “socialized” was work. I went to work, I came home. I did nothing.
    Then I started to spend time online on a website/messaging board which pertained to the gothic subculture(something I happen to like), and soon found myself in a dialogue with a teenager who was a year under my state’s legal age of consent. We chatted back and forth for over a month with no sexual discussion at all. But then I felt attracted to her. She agreed to meet with me. We met 3 times. Engaged in sex 2 times.

    With a case like this, do I qualify for being a major threat to the public after considering the circumstances I was in at the time and my mind set after a divorce?
    Does a fling with a minor teen make me the big bad wolf?
    And what about all the teachers across the country who (for reasons only they know in their own minds) “fell for” a student and had an illegal relationship with that student?

    About a month ago, in CT, there was a case of a teacher being arrested for having an affair with a GRADUATING 18 year old. Look at that again… the male student is/was EIGHTEEN. Over the legal age of consent and considered BY FEDERAL LAW an adult.
    But the teacher was still arrested and will face sex offender registration when she gets out of prison (this is CT, she WILL go to prison).
    Is she a threat to the public? A Teir III offender for a one on one relationship?

    Unless there are cases where you have a man or a woman having multiple “victims” , how would a one time, one person encounter qualify as a constant threat?
    I think many cases of a statutory nature where the relationship was consensual yet illegal, should be withdrawn from the SOR. I’m sure those are the majority of the people listed on the registry that are just wasting space on it.

    • #16605 Reply

      NH Registrant

      They changed the registry here in New Hampshire in 2009 just a few months PRIOR to my court date and conviction. My registration would have been 15 years. But, Kelly Ayotte (R) had it changed to 10yrs/Life/Life. Prior to that, I believe it was 10/15/Life. I’m not sure exactly and maybe someone who is also from NH can confirm. It’s ridiculous that I have to register for life since my conviction was a first time possession offense. But, I am considered a danger to the community for the rest of my life?? It’s amazing. $50 a year for the rest of my life. If I can’t pay it, they don’t care. They have certain “indigent exemptions” but they are never used here. They want that cash. I hope our state wises up like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and many others have. But, I’m not waiting for it. NH is run by very stubborn, greedy, puritans.

  • #7448 Reply

    Still a student regardless

    He was still was a student in the school system regardless of age. There is the rub. A 19 year old senior year student would fall under the same most likely. Not saying it is right, but if you are in the school system, they are responsible for the student.

    Frankly, students who turn 18 during the school year should graduate at the semester break or end of the year, which ever is closest to their turning 18 during their senior year. I don’t care if they do play spring or winter sports. Get them off of campus since they are legally considered adults.

  • #7449 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    Considering how Ohio is in the 6th Circuit, could they be preparing for the eventual?

  • #7450 Reply

    Robin
    Keymaster

    I’m hoping that there are attorneys in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee (the rest of the Sixth Circuit) who realize the importance of the Snyder case within their jurisdictions and are gearing up to challenge the registration schemes in those states.

    • #17971 Reply

      DW

      Robin,

      I currently have a case pending in my original sentencing court. The motion does include the 6th District’s ruling, Padilla, Witta v. State (FL), PA SC ruling as well as Contract Law citations. As to Padilla, floriduh has said it would not apply it retroactively to immigration cases because it relied on a potential warning of deportation for over 22 years. The logical question seems to be, what warning did they rely on for SO’s for 22 years?

  • #7451 Reply

    Registry Rage

    Don’t hold your breath. Especially on SC, FLA and ALA…

    • #16606 Reply

      NH Registrant

      Don’t forget NH. The state govt here has been constipated for decades.

  • #7452 Reply

    Maestro

    Even though still a student to the teacher, I feel that once a person hits legal age of consent and especially age 18, an affair between a teacher and legal age student should be handled by the school board, NOT law enforcement.
    What I’m sick of in regards to laws is that we have human beings telling other human beings how they can or cannot feel about each other.
    That’s mankind trying to control nature. Not cool. So not cool.

  • #7453 Reply

    Maestro

    I’ve been through the sex offender “treatment” group as a condition of probation. If you refuse the group, you get violated. The people who lead these groups call themselves “treatment providers”. These idiots couldn’t treat a headache.
    They CLAIM they want to get to know us and figure out what caused us to offend. But when you explain to them exactly what happened, they tell you you’re “minimizing the offense and the status of the victim”.

    Oh pardon me, Mr/Miss Treatment Provider, but it was not a figment of my imagination that this young “innocent” girl literally jumped my bones like a pro. Either they want to hear all the details or they should perhaps stop asking for all the details.

    Also, a one time offense of a statutory age of consent issue should NOT require this idiotic “treatment” program they force us into. It’s nothing but a money making scheme. Also, most treatment groups are lead by females who are obvious man-hating liberal feminists which is very unfair as they already have their minds made up about us.

    • #16609 Reply

      NH Registrant

      One of the “treatment” groups here in NH is run by a retired state cop and a bunch of prison therapists. They don’t accept ANY form of insurance either. I wonder why that is…….

  • #7454 Reply

    Maestro

    P.S. The end result of “graduating” (if you want to call it that) from the treatment group is absolutely ZERO.
    Nothing about your probation changes. Same restrictions as from the start. So what’s the point of the passing of group “therapy” if there’s no leniency afterwards? Oh yeah….cuz it’s just about $$$

  • #7455 Reply

    Chris

    I can understand your point of view on victims, but I disagree with it. In the instance of a teacher/student relationship, a student cannot give authentic consent. The teacher is in a position of authority, and the student knows it. What if the student says “no”? Will the teacher fail him? Would anyone believe him if he told? And what would his friends say?

    The same can be said for priest/altar boy; doctor/patient; police/citizen; corrections officer/inmate.

    The other issue with children and consent is that children, even physiologically mature teenagers, do not have the emotional experience to handle a sexual relationship, especially with an adult. For example (and this is just one of many, many scenarios), they may feel like if they do not “give it up” then the adult will not want them. That’s not consent. That’s peer pressure. (I’m not saying you put pressure on your victim; the victim may have put that pressure on herself.)

    The relationship may very well have been consensual in the sense that both parties wanted it to happen. But from a slightly different point of view, one shared by psychologists that treat both offenders and victims, one person had all of the power in the relationship. That alone precludes any true consent.

    **And just for the record, I was 34 and my victim was 14. I’ve been through treatment and see things a lot differently than I did before. If you don’t believe there were long-term effects to the victim, you’re lying to yourself. I say all of this as a friend, not in judgement. We all lie to ourselves to be able to live with our poor choices. Once you expose the lie and accept the truth, healing begins.

  • #7456 Reply

    B

    Agreed. It’s a matter of principles and/or professional ethics, not a criminal matter. These things have always happened in high schools all over and even in my time during the early 90’s. The teacher would just be dealt with by the school board by being suspended or fired and that’s it.

  • #7457 Reply

    B

    Your entire post word for word couldn’t be more true. All we did when I was in treatment was pretty much nothing. They collected the money first of course, and we talked about our cases and in many instances you had to alter your case details so they can hear what they want to hear in order to be passing therapy. My treatment provider was the poster woman for all soccer moms and to no surprise, her husband was a cop. I had to quickly analyze how that system worked so I can prepare and come up with a scheme to beat their scheme in order to get out of there, because it felt like a divised trap to keep you there. I was successful. Sadly, you can’t pass with the truth and I swear to you, that I wanted to be honest. I also learned how to beat the polygraph by looking at YouTube videos from a retired police leutenant that showed you how to beat it. Passed them with flying colors by believing my own lies. Ridiculous and pathetic. The best treatment I got was the support of my family and of remaining friends who stuck by me through it all and still do. Also by coming into comment boards of NARSOL and its nation wide affiliates (and all of these mentioned are for free).

  • #7458 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    Maestro, not all treatment providers are the same. They are especially different when comparing treatment programs during incarceration and treatment programs during probation/parole. The latter treatment programs force the offender to pay for the treatment and have an incentive to “fail” you and have your supervision violated.

    I say this because, although I’m not sure how unique my situation was in this regard, I experienced both types of treatment and they were night and day. While incarcerated in the brig, I attended a very productive treatment program for 2 years and then went to maintenance meetings until my release. Once released, I was directed by parole to attend treatment AGAIN (no reason for this other than money and power) until the end of my parole. This “treatment” program was a joke and I even considered taking it to court on a few fronts (such as forcing us to watch a religious movie that lasted three sessions at $40 a session… I paid $120 to watch a f-ing movie!).

    This could be because there is a difference between civilian treatment programs and military treatment programs since there are stark differences in incarceration standards as well. My belief is that no two treatment programs are the same, but when money, power, and politics gets involved, it corrupts the program and the providers.

    I am still in contact with my therapist from the brig (and she responds and still gives advice for free) to this day because I consider it to be the only “effective” treatment I received.

  • #7459 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    Chris, you are helping to confirm my response to Maestro on the differences in treatment as no two treatments are the same. Some are really good, some are really terrible, and there are many in between.

    From your post here, it sounds like you got dealt a decent hand in the treatment department as your new beliefs seem to coincide with many of the things I learned in my effective treatment program.

    I admit, I still have struggles with some of the things directly taught, but in my treatment program, we were taught more than one way to practice abstinence. If one is hard to follow, use another.

    It seems like you have the right mindset going forward and will likely join the 94.7% of us who never re-offend.

  • #7460 Reply

    Internal demarcation

    @Chris – person in position of authority is the demarcation line as you noted, which can be in various positions in life throughout life, not just the education system.

    @Maestro – agree it should be school board handled w/no law enforcement involvement just as many other things should be handled internally and outside of the LE area (uniformed and DAs). LE doesn’t have much latitude anymore to handle things or won’t give much latitude in handling of things. However, it becomes when things are not handled the way they could be handled internally (or ways people believe they should be handled internally thanks to external second guessing), then go people outside of the matter to the public law area with unknown results and politicians willing to carry the banner for the cause celebre.

  • #7461 Reply

    Rajendra

    Hopefully the Sex Offender Registry will be challenged statewide and then federally. The truth shall set us free.

  • #7462 Reply

    Tim L

    Databases have been created; public and private. Registrants are required to maintain the Public property known as SOR. While it is nice to read some maybe ” dropped, the fact is the file will remain on the database- maintenance data.

    Mr. Kennedy’s mia culpa recently does not erase neglect to recognize plain indenture meant convicted citizens to a property owned and operated by the people’s interest. The impact upon liberty has been profound as with all forms of servitude.. So u spend a day in jail or too? At least you get a day in court, opt for trial.

  • #7463 Reply

    Jonny Everyman

    Fair or not, most states have laws forbidding sex between people of power and students/players.

    So even a sexual relationship with a consenting 18 year old is considered breaking the law.

    While your situation is unfortunate your tier is not only based on it being a minor but your risk to reoffend. Did you do a psycho sexual evaluation?

  • #15130 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    Tiers are not based on any kind of reliable risk assessment or in most cases, there is no assessment at all. That is one of the problems often highlighted in fights against the registry.
    Your charge alone is the primary factor used for determining your tier, and even that is vague as it doesn’t take into consideration how long ago the offense was, the age of the offender at the time. or a number of other factors that would determine a person’s tendency to re-offend in any other crime.
    The way you worded this, one can conclude that you believe Maestro is a high risk to re-offend case, since he stated he is a tier III. I really doubt that is true in his case, and it troubles me that you are suggesting that Tier IIIs are on this level because an evaluation found them to be more likely to re-offend.
    In my state there are 48,000 individuals on the registry. More than half of them are tier IIIs.

  • #15131 Reply

    Jonny Everyman

    Every state is different. In my state the majority of offenders are level ones and your offense is not the only factor to your tier. They also consider whether you went through treatment. And if you are still under supervision.

    I also didn’t suggest maestro is a higher risk to reoffend. I wouldn’t pass judgement on anyone here. I was pushing back against the idea there isnt something morally wrong with someone who is in a position of power having a sexual relationship with someone under their leadership or guidance.

  • #7464 Reply

    Tim L

    IMHO Tieranny OR Tyranny same same.

  • #7465 Reply

    Maestro

    I see one of my response comments still didn’t pass the approval of the moderator after 3 days.
    I guess reality is frowned upon in favor of sugar coating.

    If those of you who operate this site and those who partake in the comments/conversations herein do not wish to see what I have to say, just say so and I’ll no longer participate, and you can all live in sugarcoated “La-La land”.

  • #7466 Reply

    Sandy
    Keymaster

    In looking at the comment you reference, sir, it is extremely long. It is that factor rather than the content that is hindering its posting. You may either edit the length significantly or turn it into something you can post on Tales from the Registry.

  • #15132 Reply

    Equal Rights Ya Right!

    You have to be a beautiful female teacher to get away with this Maestro!

  • #7467 Reply

    Trish

    It always happens to me! They don’t like to be fair and do what is right! Sensoring is a violation of free speech!

  • #15133 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    The 1st Amendment and all of the Articles in the U.S. Constitution apply to the Government in regards to what they can or cannot do to you and other U.S. Citizens. Even then, all NARSOL asks of you in the comments is to be respectful, stay on topics related to our cause and try to keep your comments brief. It seems pretty lax to me.

  • #15134 Reply

    Lovecraft

    It might be a good idea sometime in the future for narsol to create a private forum for general topics or for longer phrased comments. I know it will require more work vetting each person who signs up, but maybe there is an easier way to do it.

  • #15135 Reply

    Fred
    Keymaster

    There is a private forum for members. I have used it before.

  • #15136 Reply

    Jim

    I agree Fred,
    This forum has certainly been helpful for me, and I have learned from it. I have found the moderators to be more than fair. We ought, I believe, to refrain from using it as a “bully pulpit,” although I do recognize that sometimes folks need to just vent. For those of us languishing under the heavy hand of registry laws this forum offers us a wonderful venue to share ideas, and to find some measure of encouragement among ourselves. Lord knows there is hardly any place else to find it.

  • #15137 Reply

    Ohio et al can learn from PA

    Ohio and the rest of the 6th Circuit area can take PA’s lead here through this:

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court finds state sex offender registration law punitive and thus unconstitutional to apply retroactively

    http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2017/07/pennsylvania-supreme-court-finds-state-sex-offender-registration-law-punitive-and-thus-unconstitutio.html

  • #17792 Reply

    Saddles

    July 18th was my 63 birthday, what can I say? You’re as young as you feel. To any extent, I want to thank Brenda Jones, Fred, Sandy, Robin and a who lot of others, even some of the complainers, myself included. Yes seems like we are all making strides in this combat of a sexual mischarge of justice to some extent. Yes I have been reprimanded a bit by Brenda Jones in an e-mail to me and coming on here too frequently is not the best medicine for me. As I mentioned in another post I like to channel myself in other areas. Heck, I don’t know how one classifieds a Tier level. If I am an offender with just a potty mouth and no real victim as to speak of than its uncanny what’s going on with justice in other area’s of human nature.
    This whole ordeal that we are all going thru can sort of remind us of a modern type version of “A tale of two cities” where one side wants power and the little people get stung all in the name of public safety. Wow I might as well start riding my bicycle for a change.
    Now after most all this is said and done about the sex offender ordeal my hopes is that we all learn from all this. Yes we all need to change our attitudes and outlook on a lot of this. Two wrongs don’t make a right and helping others is the best thing and that’s what NARSOL is here for, to help all that are caught up somehow in all this endeavor.

    • #18692 Reply

      Craig

      There are ongoing and inaccurate assertions that the seriousness of the sex crime is related to the risk of recidivism. This conflation has been put advanced by those on all fronts as related to sex offender registration and supervision. Such assertions should be challenged because recidivism is related to known, quantifiable factors (such as age, education, family situation, history of committing crimes, etc.). Recidivism, in almost all sex crimes, is not related to the seriousness of the sex crime. When considering who needs supervision and where limited resources are spent, it is a mistake to conflate the seriousness of the crime with the risk of re-offending. There is no such association. While claiming to be watching “the worst offenders” may sound good for political or media purposes, objective and rational thinkers must resist the temptation to accept or promote false claims, including the unsupported conflation of the type of sex crime and the risk to the community.

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