Experts, advocates, victims, even MN DOC agree; Residency restrictions do not work

NARSOL Attorney Paul Dubbeling this week attended a symposium sponsored by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which brought together state officials, reform advocates, and researchers to discuss the impact of residency restrictions in Minnesota. Patty Wetterling, mother of Jacob Wetterling, gave the keynote address while renowned researcher Jill Levenson led off the event with a detailed presentation of research findings showing that residency (and other such restrictions) are simply ineffective in reducing recidivism and often cause significant and long-term harm.

Since the Jacob Wetterling Act first brought registries to the national level, Patty Wetterling has become a staunch opponent of the increasingly harsh restrictions imposed by states and municipalities around the country. As she points out, supported by the research of Jill Levenson and others, these restrictions are antithetical to their espoused goal of “public safety” while at the same time managing to seriously impair reintegration and rehabilitation of persons convicted of reportable offenses.

Surprisingly and optimistically , the State of Minnesota (at least its Department of Corrections) agrees. Mr. Mark Bliven, Director of the Minnesota Department of Corrections Risk Assessment Unit, shared his view that residency restrictions were counter-productive and actively participated in discussions aimed at limiting new restrictions and reforming existing ones. The mantra of the symposium, from all participants, is the need for evidence-based solutions to the issues of community risk and reintegration/rehabilitation.

After the speakers concluded, Paul had the opportunity to meet with Professor Eric Janus, director of the Sexual Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center, to discuss continuing to build the Center’s database of case law and litigation materials. It is hoped that within the next year the Center will have a complete resource library of current cases and can begin connecting litigators and providing litigation assistance on multiple issues. In addition, Paul met with Alison Feigh, program manager of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, and with Minnesota state officials to discuss ongoing reform efforts and strategies for reform.

Conference attendees generally recognized that registry issues are sensitive and subject to fear-mongering and irrational responses. In the end, reform is a political challenge. But, as the conference made clear, we are entering an era where the actual facts are no longer reasonably debatable. Now we must fight to make facts matter.

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    • #52779 Reply

      I would say residency restrictions work well in putting bars around residences where registrants may not live, or reside. To that end they indeed work to give the people “the safety they perceive” as needed .

    • #52798 Reply

      I listened to the podcast “In The Dark” which told the story of the Wetterlings. Patty Wetterling is an amazing woman. It’s hard to comprehend her depth of soul. She is trying to help people convicted of sex crimes instead of being vengeful- because she realizes support and re-integration are more effective than shaming and marginalization. I’m so grateful for her kindness and compassion.

    • #52818 Reply

      This case just was decided by the appeals court today in Indiana. State of Indiana v. Douglas Kirby.

      Looks like one Judge knows the constitution enough to know it is punishment and unconstitutional.
      Too bad the other two are idiots!

      • #52848 Reply

        In the case of Indiana v. Douglas the judges ruled that he still has a course of action through which to challenge the prohibition against him entering school property. The ruling only said the challenge was configured wrong; not the underlying issue. He can still pursue this.

        • #52892 Reply


          Kirby v. State, 95 N.E.3d 518, 519-20 (Ind. 2018). Our Supreme Court found
          that, while Kirby could not raise his ex post facto claim in a post-conviction
          proceeding, “he may have a vehicle for his claim” through a declaratory
          judgment action. Id. at 521. Our Supreme Court’s opinion vacated this court’s
          opinion on Kirby’s post-conviction proceeding.1
          [4] On May 15, 2018, Kirby filed his declaratory judgment action.

          This is that course of action and he lost in the court of appeals 2 to 1 hopefully it will go to the supreme court.

          Here is the dissenting judge’s opinion:

          While I understand the majority’s position regarding this factor, I find that to
          suddenly deny Kirby the opportunity to attend his son’s activities—which he
          could do while completing his punishment through probation—only because of
          his prior conviction is excessive. As such, I am persuaded that this factor favors
          treating the effects of the Statute as punitive as applied to Kirby.
          [38] After considering each of the above-discussed factors, I would conclude, as did
          the trial court, that the Statute is unconstitutional as applied to Kirby because it
          amounts to retroactive punishment in violation of the ex post facto clause of the
          Indiana Constitution. Therefore, I would affirm.

          We need more Judges like this guy!

    • #53039 Reply
      R M

      Even with people such as Patty Wetterling, mother of Jacob Wetterling, and renowned researcher Jill Levenson on “our” side (as well as at least 17 credible reports about the low recidivism rate), politicians still do not care…. they will propose and make laws to be re-elected. That is the problem. Period.

    • #53083 Reply

      Residencyt Restrictions Wise or unwise, I wonder who wants to be wise or clever as a fox. Would strip searches be wise or an invasion of privacy. How about body cavity searches. Sure Paul has his work cut out for him. We could all go on conspiricy theory’s of a lot of this sexual hijinks but I don’t want to be wise. Wisdom is a lot better for anyone

      Now I’m sure we all with common sense have a restriction of look but no touch but when it comes to the police officer coming to one’s house monthly that can be a bit much and does not do anything to prevent. Call it a routine check up from the fuzz doctor. But remember if it saves lifes than its worth it just like these sex sting conspiricy encounters if you want to call it that.

      While I don’t follow man’s understanding to much as man can and will dominate one if one lets them this sex offender stuff is a mind game and thats just what the dective told me in so many words when we chatted about this. So are police clever as a fox or just trying to rule others with this residency of being wise or unwise. I am glad that someone is speaking up about a lot of this reintergration into cociety. One has to laugh at the whole thing and kiss their money goodbye. So who con’s who in this wise and unwise thing or do we all assume the position of wisdom.

    • #53117 Reply

      Residenstry restrictions are downright ridiculous. If I wanted to go to a school to abduct a child, which I would NEVER do, I could travel to any school or daycare in the country as long as I am allowed to have a driver’s license and a vehicle. And if I live within 1000 feet of a school which is roughly one fifth of a mile the only way they could stop me would be to break my legs. Makes no sense at all.

    • #53296 Reply

      We must all come together or things will/are getting worse !!!
      It is unconstitutional and a violation of Civil rights to impose restrictions, and do harm under the pretense, I feel, think or believe their is a threat !!!
      We must stop this now !!!
      We must make a stand before things go tool I far and its completely out of control and our hands….. !!! Just like Nazi Germany. …something’s don’t get better or go away by petitioning or proposing or being nice …or…or..or !!!
      Let’s come together and storm the court’s and land and demand a halt to this madness! !!

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