“A gimmick to make people feel safe,” says NARSOL’s vice-chair

Reprinted with permission

By Travis Loller, AP . . . Sex offenders under community supervision in Tennessee are required to be in their homes with the porch lights off on Halloween as part of a 10-day curfew surrounding the holiday. They also cannot decorate or give out candy.

And offenders are not allowed to take children trick or treating or to seasonal activities like corn mazes and hay rides, not even their own children.

Alisha James is assistant commissioner of community supervision at the Tennessee Department of Correction.

“I am a parent of two school aged children and I rest better knowing that TDOC is doing this added function,” she said in a news release. “Many of our officers give up trick or treating with their own families to protect the children of this state.”

Robin Vander Wall, vice chair of the National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws, said in a phone interview research has shown children are not at increased danger from registered sex offenders at Halloween.

“We see it as a gimmick to make people feel safe,” he said. “The real danger to kids on Halloween is vehicular accidents.”

Vander Wall said the nonprofit is operating a hotline on Halloween night for sex offenders to call in if they think their rights are being violated. But Vander Wall said the Tennessee Department of Correction is within its rights to impose rules on those it supervises.

Registered sex offenders who are not under department supervision are not subject to the Halloween restrictions.

The Tennessee rules apply not just to those whose crimes involved children, but to all registered sex offenders under community supervision. The Correction Department said that is nearly 3,300 people. Officers will be visiting offenders on Halloween night to ensure they are in compliance.

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    • #48473 Reply

      Found this AP article today which addresses kids killed on Halloween related to traffic:

      Halloween can be deadly for pedestrians, traffic study says


      -43% higher death risk on October 31
      -608 deaths on 42 Halloweens
      -55 deaths of kids 4-8 yrs old
      -NHTSA Data
      -CDC has similar data in their study (’75-’96)
      -Alcohol is a factor
      -Canadian study of USA data

      Study is in JAMA Pediatrics with more info and data, Pedestrian Fatalities Associated With Halloween in the United States,

      Take this data, NARSOL, et al, and compare it against registrant data for Halloween next time this point needs to be made to those who hammer registrants on Halloween.

    • #48568 Reply

      I think it’s safe to assume that Officer Alisha James was not among the community supervision officers giving up their Halloween to harass the 3300 registrants that posed no threat in the first place.

    • #48586 Reply

      It is most definitely a gimmick. Here in Texas they had us all sit in a community center from 5:30pm – 9:00pm. A fire alarm went off at one point and they couldn’t get it shut off for an hour and wouldn’t let us leave. Thankfully it was a false alarm but all the same.Not to mention we had a nasty storm rolling through at the time so i’m pretty sure no one was trick or treating anyway. I’m just thankful they didn’t try and reschedule trick or treating and force us to come back the next day or that weekend.

    • #48813 Reply

      Unbelievable. Only in America.

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