Redemption, forgiveness, restorative justice: Whatever it’s called, it must be for ALL

By Sandy . . . There’s a new phrase in town, and it’s catching on like wildfire.

April 29th is the start date for a new CNN program based on this phrase. It is called The Redemption Project, and you don’t have to read very far before – there it is: restorative justice.

It is based on the reality that the criminal justice system does only half of the job and often leaves things worse than they were before.

Like many “new” things, it isn’t really all that new.

Schools, industry, and civil litigation have utilized the concept for decades with peer or conflict mediation, bringing together two opposing parties to work out their differences by learning to understand the other’s point of view. Its primary tools are empathy and compassion. It will never work 100% of the time, but it is effective often enough to justify its availability as an option in virtually all adversarial situations. And in the criminal justice system, when it does work, it seems to work better than anything else in restoring offenders and healing victims.

It is an initiative among others in the ACLU’s arsenal in its “Smart Justice” program, a program taking hold in every state and designed to offer effective and realistic solutions to our serious over-incarceration problem.

Tim Ryan, a contender for the next presidential election, states that when it comes to meaningful criminal justice reform, “. . . mindfulness and compassion must be a part of the national conversation.” Mindfulness and compassion are cornerstones of restorative justice programs.

When it comes to extending these to persons who have been convicted of sexual crimes, however, America’s track record is abysmally poor. For virtually all programs offering meaningful, positive reentry initiatives for felons, those who advocate for ethical treatment of sexual offense convictees are so used to seeing, “Convicted sex offenders are not eligible,” that we have almost adopted a “So what else is new?” stance.

In early April “One Standard of Justice,” our Connecticut affiliate, offered a free two-day restorative justice seminar. The primary speakers, Jill Levenson and Alissa Ackerman, are heavyweights in the academic/research/criminal justice arenas. 1,500 invitations were issued to members of the media, treatment providers, victims’ advocates, legislators, and law enforcement personnel in Connecticut and surrounding states. Only a handful of them attended. They made it clear that they were not interested in restorative justice for anyone convicted of a sexual crime.

Why not? These professionals surely know that, as a group, the reoffense rate of those who have sexual crime convictions is far, far lower than that of any other group except those who commit murder. They are also aware that the umbrella of sexual offenses, an umbrella that requires, unlike any other crime, including murder, a publicly accessible registration database for all, covers many, many offenses that put the former perpetrators at virtually no risk for any harm to the public. Depending on the state, consensual teenage sex and “sexting,” public urination, and juvenile curiosity and horseplay involving any degree of nudity or often just touching are only a few of these.

It is time for this discrimination to cease. It is past time for those who are on a sexual offense registry to be seen as persons who committed a crime and deserve, along with those who have committed any one of a large variety of other crimes, an equal opportunity for redemption.

NARSOL is hosting its 11th annual conference in Houston, Texas June 6 – 9. Many of the presentations and workshops will center around restorative justice themes.

NARSOL challenges treatment providers and victims’ advocates, legislators and law enforcement to attend this conference. We almost guarantee that you will walk away with greater insight and understanding of the direction that criminal justice must go for everyone if it is to be any kind of justice at all.

It is time for the concepts of compassion and restoration to apply to all who need it. There is no legal justification for excluding those with sexual convictions. There is no moral justification.

There is no justification whatsoever.

Help us reach more people by Sharing or Liking this post.

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.

This topic contains 34 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Mike 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #54786 Reply
    Sandy Rozek
    Sandy Rozek
    Admin

    By Sandy . . . There’s a new phrase in town, and it’s catching on like wildfire. April 29th is the start date for a new CNN program based on this phra
    [See the full post at: Redemption, forgiveness, restorative justice: Whatever it’s called, it must be for ALL]

  • #54799 Reply
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    derek

    That’s great and I want to thank you Sandy for the tireless work you do to help the monden day leper’s (sex offenders)

  • #54800 Reply
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    Dan

    I feel something needs to be done soon its so difficult with a sex offence to get work I was hired at a 711 3rd shift the manager was more then loved having me there I was there 2 weeks I quit my other job already. My background check comes back and I’m terminated due to my offense even though a co worker who had a drug conviction and on probation has been working there for 2 years is the assistant mgr and he wasn’t fired. I told them when I started I had a background and was told by the but it’s not aan issue. Not to long after I was terminated the manager quit, she didn’t find the termination ethical. True but I’m out of work now, it was against thier policy with my offense. Even though nothing I did had nothing to do with the job they hired me to do. It’s the same story , sex offence no way anything else it’s ok

  • #54801 Reply
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    John S

    This is a line of inquiry & discussion I regularly pursue, whether on “It Could Be You”, questioning elected officials, or discussing criminal justice reform with many interested/involved groups. Early on, I learned that asking specifically on behalf of registrants and their families got little to no positive response, let alone support. For what it’s worth, I learned to use a more “general/generic” approach: “Do you believe for ______________________ to work, it should be open, available to all persons convicted of a felony, without exception or exclusion?” Depending on circumstances, this and like questions will have some variations. If anything, it gets the respondent to answer on the record. I believe it is important to take this approach whenever restorative justice is discussed or considered.
    This more “general” approach works, albeit not always favorably. Some respondents unequivocally state there are no exclusions. In a couple of cases, this question has gotten respondents to at least think some more about their work and commitment to reform. Directing this type of question at elected officials–well, I’ve made a few individuals visibly uncomfortable, but it has helped more quickly and clearly identify potential allies as well as opponents. As much as possible I don’t use “sex offenders” (that fatal, “kiss-of-death”phrase!), “registrants” or similar appellations.
    I’d like to hear from other members and allies what they say or how they would approach this topic.

    • #54882 Reply
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      Ed C

      That is a great idea to frame a debate by beginning with an emotionally neutral question. I’m curious. Did you ask them why? I suspect any answer would be traced back to factual ignorance. That simple question would force a person to justify, or at least consider, the already-stated position, and open the door for education.

  • #54803 Reply
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    Donna

    We can only hope and pray this new CNN show will shed some positive light on the reality of our issues, not the lies and myths that have perpetrated the psyche of those who don’t know any better. Although progress has been made here and there, it is not enough! A lot of damage has been done by “stupid crime shows” and the media and just anyone that doesn’t have the facts. Just this morning I tuned into a talk radio show and just guess what they were talking about, you guessed it; all those pedophiles on the sex offender registry! I was so upset I could hardly drive home.
    The following quote coined by John F. Kennedy is one most of us have heard but needs repeating, “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie- deliberate, contrived and dishonest- but the MYTH- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

  • #54806 Reply
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    Kristen

    Thank you for speaking out Sandy! Restorative Justice is well-suited sexual violence and I believe that we’d see many, many more people who have harmed sexually take responsibility for their actions if they were supported and offered healing/accountability in a restorative justice framework. Perhaps if we had these dialogues as a culture, we might actually stop sexual violence – something we do not appear to be doing with our current draconian and destructive policies. Both those harmed and those who harmed can find lasting healing, and we can build stronger communities and families. Human beings deserve healing, people deserve second chances, and families deserve support, to be worth “reasonable efforts” and to define healing in a safe and supported way. Restorative justice is a better way – especially for those harmed and those who harmed sexually. I’m happy to lend my voice in any way I can!

  • #54807 Reply
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    Reese

    I agree, I also feel that more crimes should be on the registry too not just sex crimes. I also believe that there should be new laws made for first offenders and that Destroying their lives and the lives of the ones who love them is unfair and I’m just. They’re really needs to be better laws and more changes made.

    • #54824 Reply
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      Hello,
      NARSOL’s position is that no registries have any usefulness. After a person serves their full sentence, they should be free to live their lives without any further restrictions or requirements. Just as any other citizen does. I recommend that you visit some of the pages under the tabs on the top menu, such as our Mission Statement and the FAQs.

      • #54886 Reply
        Avatar
        Ed C

        Hear, hear!! Even police-only registries make no sense. Since about 95% of SO’s don’t commit a subsequent sex crime, police are wasting precious time in targeting SO’s if some horrendous crime has occurred. Criminal information is already available to police in various databases, e.g. NCIC. Ignorance, fear and loathing are not viable reasons for registries.

  • #54826 Reply
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    Andrew T

    Lovely piece, Sandy. Thank you.

    Do you have a reference for “the reoffense rate of those who have sexual crime convictions is far, far lower than that of any other group except those who commit murder”? I’d love to see that, if possible.

    • #54836 Reply
      Avatar
      John S

      A lot of this may be “preaching to the choir”; apologies if this is the case.
      If I’m not mistaken, I believe the Colorado group has a 1-page handout listing a number of state, and a few federal, studies about SO recidivism rates. That can be a starting point. A recent article submitted to the SOSEN website includes a list of most if not all these same studies.
      In some circumstances, patience and long commitments to research is necessary. In so doing, Arkansas Time After Time found online minutes of this state’s Parole Board meetings. In a footnote from one of this group’s 2011 meetings we found that the Board recognized registrants in Arkansas had (except for persons convicted of capital murder) by far the lowest recidivism rates of any felony category. In the records of subsequent meetings, we have not as yet found any comments, anything at all to change this finding. (We try to get this fact into the record every time an ATAT member speaks to our legislators, particularly to the relevant committees.)
      For what it’s worth, check our your respective states’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and use FOIA as often and as thoroughly as you can to get whatever information you can. Also check out the findings of researchers such as Jill Levenson and Emily Horowitz, especially as they may be cited in book reviews or other easy-to-read formats, and try to have them on hand whenever possible. Make every effort to emphasize that the information you have has been not just researched but peer-reviewed as well, and always question whether the “opposition’s” information, findings, etc., can stand up to independent verification, to peer reviewing.
      With more hopeful signs arising through court decisions, I’d like to see recommendations about the (at least) “Top 10” decisions that could/should be used in supporting the argument about low recidivism rates.

    • #55804 Reply
      Avatar
      Mike

      You asked for proof of real recidivism rate:
      Reconviction Rates

      New York (1996): 34 of 556 SOs (6%) were reconvicted within 9 years of release.[31] 
      Iowa (2000): 14 of 434 (3.2%) were reconvicted within 4.3 years of release [32]
      Ohio (2001): 70 of 879 (8%) were reconvicted after 10 years [33]
      US Dept. of Justice/ Federal (2003): 339 of 9641 (3.5%) were reconvicted after 3 years [34]
      Washington State (2005): 111 of 4091 (2.7%) reconvicted after 5 years [35]
      Minnesota (2007): 10% of 3166 reconvicted after 8.4 years [36]
      California (2008): 121 of 3577 (3.4%) reconvicted after 10 years [37]
      Arizona (2009): 2 of 290 (0.7%) reconvicted after 3 years [38]
      Connecticut (2012): 20 of 746 (2.7%) reconvicted after 5 years [39]
      Nebraska Pre-AWA (2013): 48 of 2816 (1.7%) reconvicted after 2 years [40]
      Nebraska post-AWA (2013): 6 of 209 (2.6%) reconvicted after 2 years [41]
      Michigan (2014): 32 of 4109 (0.8%) reconvicted after 3 years [42]

      Rearrest Rates

      US Dept. of Justice (2003): 517 of 9641 (5.3%) rearrested after 3 years [43]
      Rutgers U. (2005): 4.5% of 917 rearrested after 3.5 years [44]
      Alaska (2007): 3% rearrested after 3 years [45]
      Multistate Study (2009): After 3 years, each state in the study varied in rearrest rates:
      Delaware: 3.8%
      Illinois: 2.4%
      Iowa: 3.9%
      New Mexico: 1.8%
      South Carolina: 4%
      Utah: 9% [47]
      New Jersey (2011): 13% of 274 pre-SOR SOs rearrested within 8 years; 9.7% of 248 post-SOR SOs rearrested within 8 years
      [47]
      Florida/ New Jersey/ Minnesota/ South Carolina (2012): 153 of 1469 (13.7%) rearrested after 10 years [48]
      US Department of Justice/ Federal (2014): 5.6% rearrested after 5 years [49]
      California (2016): 78 of 1626 (4.8%) rearrested after 5 years [,
      ;
      Average Annual Rate: Reconviction

      New York (1996): 0.66%
      Iowa (2000): 0.74%
      Ohio (2001): 0.8%
      US Dept. of Justice/ Federal (2003): 1.16%
      Washington State (2005): 0.54%
      Minnesota (2007): 1.19%
      California (2008): 0.34%
      Arizona (2009): 0.23%
      Connecticut (2012): 0.54%
      Nebraska Pre-AWA (2013): 0.85% [51]
      Nebraska post-AWA (2013): 1.3% [52]
      Michigan (2014): 0.26%

      Average Annual Rate: Rearrest Rates

      US Dept. of Justice (2003): 1.77%
      Rutgers U. (2005): 1.29%
      Alaska (2007): 1%
      Multistate Study (2009):
      Delaware: 1.27%
      Illinois: 0.8%
      Iowa: 1.3%
      New Mexico: 0.6%
      South Carolina: 1.34%
      Utah: 3%
      New Jersey (2011): 1.63% pre-SOR SOs; 1.21% post-SOR SOs
      Florida/ New Jersey/ Minnesota/ South Carolina (2012): 1.37%
      US Department of Justice/ Federal (2014): 1.12%
      California (2016): 0.96%,
      Hope this helps i have more if you need it.

  • #54827 Reply
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    Jim

    Thankyou Sandy for your devotion for sure. I truly believe the USA has always needed some race, color of person, origin of person, or difference from its beliefs of what it thinks as normal to be able put them down to show off its strength. The USA has constantly bullied people from the second land was taken away the people that were already here, to our time now. The sad thing is, the best thing that can happen for Registered Citizens to get out of its claw is for the USA to grip another group of people in its claw to focus its terror on. Just my belief.

    • #54835 Reply
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      clark

      I believe that this country goes along with this because it puts on a front that we will do ANYTHING to protect our children. Therefore, our children are more important than a country who doesn’t have these laws. The laws are meant to deplete u of a sex life, romance, or even social acceptance. It makes things uncomfortable for my neighbors and myself. My neigborhood has turned into a ghost town since I moved here. I feel people want to like me, but they just can’t because public perception is telling them not to. I talk to my neighbors, they don’t approach me. Florida is simply brutal. They wanted to “rape the rapists” and since they couldn’t do it physically, they do it mentally, and they knew that it was the main intent of the registry, even though publicly they state it’s about public safety. They make it blatant that it is punishment and then say it’s civil in nature….thereby laughing in ur face. It’s probably the biggest infringement of human rights since the Jim Crowe laws.

    • #54849 Reply
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      allie

      I totally agree with Jim. It all started with drugs and drug related crimes. They knew they could make a killing on that crime. Next it was DUI’S now it’s sex offenders. You don’t ever hear much about drug busts or DUI’s anymore but you hear about sex offenders n the news and in the paper every day. They found a new way to make lot’s and lot’s of money and keep it coming in from all the arrests they make every day. What a truly sad country we live in.

      • #54862 Reply
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        clark

        actually u don’t even hear about it anymore here in Fl, at least in Tampa, unless it’s Halloween or one reoffends.

  • #54831 Reply
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    JZ

    There will never be restorative justice in Floriduh. Floriduh remains an outlier and continues to heap punishments upon registered citizens every legislative session. This year, they aim to prevent registered citizens from travelling to or within the state.

    http://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/987/BillText/c2/PDF

    House Bill 987: Public Lodging Establishments will require registered citizens to report to the Sheriff’s office where they will be staying 48 hours before an intended stay at a public lodging establishment, regardless of how long they will stay at the location. In addition, operators of a public lodging establishment who have a person required to register as a “sex offender” staying at or within 1,000 feet of their establishment, must notify all other guests staying there. Can you imagine the harassment that will cause to that person and their family?

    The bill has cleared all committees and is on the calendar for a full house vote. I envision that if this bill becomes law, registered citizens will be denied lodging across the state. That is the easier course of action for the Innkeepers to take instead of notifying all other guests, which would cause many not to stay there, thus they lose money. Since registered citizens are not a protected class, there will be no room at the Inn. I believe this is the intent of the Floriduh legislators.

    When will it end?

  • #54832 Reply
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    Alvin C

    Alright, admin may not permit this. However, it is disconcerting when reading the comments section to have to stop, reread, interpret, add-in, or take-out, letters and/or words, continue, repeat, repeat. All this trying to make better sense of the comment. Why? Simply because the writer 1. is less than capable to conveying his/her thoughts. 2. they don’t care. 3. don’t know how to “proofread” before submitting. Granted, I can deal with misspelled words, normally. But, added or omitted words are another problem, because it is the structure of the sentence that determines the meaning.

    I mean no offense to anyone. So, I apologize for acting the part of grammar Nazi (there’s a four-letter word to hate)

    Alvin

  • #54837 Reply
    Avatar
    David

    For years, it has become ‘socially fashionable’ to hate sex-offenders.
    There are those who inwardly have compassion and forgiveness, but due to the bias of society and also their peers, they will not acknowledge it for fear of being ostracized themselves.
    Politicians also use this to ‘grandstand’ to gain support for their office, because they know the public hates sex offenders and if they were to show a shred of support or sympathy toward them they would almost assuredly not get elected or re-elected.
    Many (but not all) politicians, law enforcement officers, judges, movie stars, etc. get off the hook by paying someone off, because they have the clout, the money, or the connections to do so, and many law enforcement officers and judges who are caught simply get to have it swept under the rug, because the legal system does not want the public to know that some of the ‘so-called’ upholders of the law are just as corrupt and criminally guilty as the ones they arrest and judge.
    When someone in the legal system is caught, they should have to pay double, because they swore to uphold the law and the common people look up to them to be better than that.
    It is sad, very sad, and even monstrous that they get off the hook, but people like you and me are raked through the coals, hated, ostracized, and are serving a sentence that, unless God intervenes, will only end at death.

  • #54839 Reply
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    erich raulfestone

    It always makes me think twice when the ACLU gets involved. “It is an initiative among others in the ACLU’s arsenal in its “Smart Justice” program, a program taking hold in every state and designed to offer effective and realistic solutions to our serious over-incarceration problem.” The ACLU has gotten over $50 million from the left… Its all about the vote, and political power….

    • #54847 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      Eric, your comment broke two of our posting rules, and I was torn between disallowing it totally or editing it; I chose the later. Please read our rules about being polite and courteous and not posting links. You are entitled to your views about the ACLU, but we do not allow bashing of anyone in our forum or highly charged political rhetoric. We have long established that both the left and the right have contributed to onerous sexual offense laws, but we have also found allies in our fight for increased fairness and relief on both sides. Do you think it is only the left for whom money and power are huge motivators? We have found the ACLU to be a worthy ally in our advocacy in some states. You may not like them, but if they are willing to take on some of the legal battles that need to be fought, I don’t imagine you would turn down any positive effects from their actions that might come your way. This fight takes everyone.
      Thank you for reading our blog.

    • #54850 Reply
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      Seth

      ACLU was the driving force behind one of our biggest victories in Does v. Snyder and they are now fighting for us in another major case before Michigan’s Supreme Court that could actually end the registry in Michigan.

  • #54848 Reply
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    Carole Paul

    The term “sex offender” is so broad and far reaching. I truly believe that it is unconstitutional to treat sex offenders who have paid their debt any differently than released drug offenders, robbers, assaulters, murderers, etc. How did this happen? And even though other released offenders are subject to probation/parole rules, no others are separated from families and publicized on a registry which makes them subject to discrimination and vigilante justice. We have to change this.

  • #54856 Reply
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    Svejk

    Very nicely written piece, Sandy. Insofar as restorative justice is concerned, I fear we will have to take different action rather than trying to educate those who will not be educated. All of our wailing, moaning, and gnashing of teeth has resulted in very little progress for us.
    I sincerely feel that holding workshops, and annual conferences net us nothing, yet squander valuable financial resources which would be better spent on litigation and guerilla tactics. By guerilla tactics, I mean for example, why hasn’t Florida been reported to the government fraud, waste and abuse hotlines for taking money for maintaining a registry comprised of nearly 2/3 of individuals who no longer reside within the state of Florida or have expired? Surely, that should trigger some Foggy Bottom pinstripe’s sense of justice. As an experiment, I plan to file this complaint as such later today.
    Until such time as our protests have teeth and we rear up on our hind legs and firmly tell these people “no more,” we will continue to be abused and discriminated against. I feel that the best way to educate the public is via legal means. It’s the only “fair shake” we’re going to get. Even those who side with us are generally too worried about their own hides to risk putting skin in the game.
    If we could get every RSO to kick in $5 we could hit these fools with a lawsuit which would rock their world for several generations. Using tactics like diversity of citizenship, forum conveniens, the doctrine of agency, and other legal tactics, we could give them the long-overdue kick in the nuts they so richly deserve. Now, I know you chastised another fellow on here for bad-mouthing an organization, however you would do well to heed his words. There are several “like-minded” organizations who will do little, if anything, yet ride into glory with those who have done the work.
    tl;dr. I’ve got my $5 ready. Who else is willing to pony up? The time for peaceful discussion is long over.
    In Dubio Pro Reo
    Svejk

  • #54870 Reply
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    David

    I also agree with Svejk. Conferences, seminars, workshops and the like do little for us, although we truly are thankful for the efforts and any progress that has been made.
    Lawmakers and politicians are not afraid of conferences and workshops.
    Laws will never change from these things-they never have and they never will.
    What will cause change are lawsuits by good lawyers that present irrefutable proof that the registry, and all laws associated with it are unconstitutional, and also do not protect anyone.
    Also, what will cause change is ‘widespread education’ about the recidivism rate and proof that it is actually extremely low and not extremely high as the public has been poisoned to believe.
    NARSOL and other rational sex offender law institutions really need to take a much more aggressive legal posture
    than they have if change is going to occur, and I am sure people on the registry will help fund that.
    The key will be to having ‘all the ducks in a row’, because if any room is left for any State or Supreme court to ‘torture’ the outlined clauses in the Constitution or Amendments to keep the registry, they certainly will!!!
    The States and Courts have to be put in a situation where the registry is undeniably unconstitutional, and that any further support and continuance of it is a downright opposition and blatant denial of the Constitution as it is clearly written and that continuance of the registry would make the States and Courts violators and transgressors themselves of what our forefathers wrote.
    That is what will bring about change-not seminars and conferences-they do very little.

    • #54877 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      David and Svejk, thank you for your comments.
      NARSOL agrees that aggressive legal action is the most likely to produce the most favorable results. However, even if we had all of the money in the world, we would not launch legal action just for the sake of doing so. Svejk, which “fools” do you suggest starting with? Since every registry is governed by the laws of each individual state, these suits must originate from within the states. There must be plaintiffs willing to come forward; they must be able to show persuasively that the registry in their state is violating their rights or causing cruel and unusual treatment in some manner. That may sound easy, but if you talk with any attorney, you will learn that it is not. There is no evidence that the registry and its laws are unconstitutional because they aren’t. That is what legal action has to prove. Every law is assumed to be constitutional when it is enacted. Certain functions of the registry have been declared unconstitutional as applied to certain people in certain places. That is almost certainly how it will happen, a bit at a time. Yes, we all dream of the case that will, against all odds, make it to the Supreme Court and end in a finding that the entire scheme is unconstitutional. We should keep dreaming, but we will also keep chipping away one bit at a time.
      As far as conferences and seminars — a soldier does not enlist today and be sent into a war zone tomorrow. He is trained first. Conferences and seminars are our training. There we learn how to best frame our conversations that will help the public see this from a different point of view. You are right, David; that is an important part of our mission. If a significant number of people in a state made it clear to their legislators and decision makers that they did NOT want a law passed, that would make a difference. There we also learn how to testify at committee hearings, how to help write bills, how to engage legislators. The best way not to deal with bad law is to stop it before it becomes law. Our Texas group is at this moment, 6 a m, on their way to Austin to give testimony against proposed bad legislation. They have enlisted the aid of important stakeholders outside of the registered community — something else we learn how to do at conferences and seminars.
      This battle takes many, many people doing many, many different things. We should support each other. We should make use of every possible strategy. And do not think that we are not open to constructive criticism and suggestions and alternate ideas; we are. Svejk, we are interested in whatever action you are able to take in Florida; please let us know the outcome of that.
      I seem to have written another essay, so I’ll stop for now.

      • #54897 Reply
        Avatar
        Svejk

        Sandy,
        Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I am in no way suggesting the we launch legal action “just for the sake of doing so.” We have enough targets of opportunity that are clearly out of line with the freedoms guaranteed by the US constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As much as we may dislike them, it may be long overdue involving the UN in our battle.
        What “fools” do I suggest we start with? Let’s talk Florida. As we all know, there are dead folks and people who haven’t lived there in 20+ years on their “registry.” In fact, one of the organizations listed in NARSOL’s state-by-state lists is trying to fund an attack on FL’s registry for out-of-staters. They also have funds established for suits to help those in-state unfortunates. This is highly targeted litigation for the common good.
        I take great exception to your statement that all laws are considered constitutional when passed. People will pass any law they see against RSO’s without caring one iota for the constitutionality of what they are enacting. If enough people make a noise about it, then is gets noticed for being unconstitutional. We, as the targets of often unconstitutional legislation, have a duty to stand up and shout when things are not right. Any lawyer will also tell you that States have immunity with their laws until they run afoul of the US Constitution. Remember, States’ constitutions can only be additive to the US Constitution, not guarantee less than it does. This is why the Supreme Court puts the hammer down on States like PA and others. This should doubly concern the federal government, as it was their threats of cutting funding which forced States to adopt registry laws. I could go on, but I’m sure all have gotten my point.
        Lastly, I feel that an annual conference would be better served if held via video link, saving the expense of preparations, hotels etc. Also, Texas is not the friendliest State towards RSOs, and I’m sure the public will take notice of the conference. How far from the realm of the very possible would it be for officials to show up and create trouble for those who are in town for the conference, but have not registered as may be required?
        I will keep you posted on my fraud, waste and abuse efforts. I trust that the regular web contact form will suffice.
        Svejk

  • #54898 Reply
    Avatar
    David

    Thank you for your comment, Sandy, and it is well written.
    The registry denies American born citizens of property ownership or habitation that otherwise would be available to anyone else, and it also violates ‘Ex Post Facto’ in many cases.
    There isn’t a clause in ‘Ex Post Facto’ that says ‘no law shall be passed after the fact unless it is proven it helps to protect the public.’ Ex Post Facto means plain and simple no law shall be passed after the fact-period!
    But legislators have used the unfounded excuse “we have to protect the public” to trample and downright slap ‘Ex Post Facto’ in the face!
    They have also used the same excuse to deny citizens of liberty and habitation which is unconstitutional. So we are at a point where even though a law is unconstitutional, it is alright to be that way if it is believed to be in some form or another beneficial to the State or Country until proven otherwise.
    Remember, slavery WAS considered constitutional and legal at one time.
    Just because something is believed to be constitutional, as slavery was, doesn’t mean it is.
    Law is to be Yes or No and not ‘Yes, but we feel that……..’ and you are right, Sandy, that it isn’t easy, and that is because so many State lawyers are able to muddy up a simple constitutional clause to say less than what it is.
    This is why simple ‘Yes and No’ tactics can only be used. You have to corner legislators and State legal systems.
    Example: ‘Is there any clause in Ex Post Facto that provides provision for a law to be passed after the fact if it is believed to protect the public???’
    Simple answer-No.
    Question then-‘Then ANY law passed after the fact for any reason violates ‘Ex Post Facto’ because no clause exists for exception?
    Simple answer-Yes.
    Any comment allowed past ‘Yes or No’ is open ground for loss.
    Anything else other than ‘Yes or No’ opens the door to muddy up the constitution or law.
    Court battles are lost because a State Lawyer says -‘Yes, but we have to protect the public’, thereby circumventing the law or constitution and biasing the opinion of the court or people.
    It has to be “Yes or No’ period!
    Courts and legislators don’t like to be cornered like that, but that is the only way in the present day ‘Court system’ we will ever gain ground and win.
    Conferences and seminars are great and they do help.
    But until the legal system itself is found at fault, by using legal proceedings, of violating the constitution and the rights of citizens, I am afraid we are not going to gain much ground.

  • #54902 Reply
    Avatar
    David

    BTW, Sandy, great comment you made on Jamestown Public Schools. You are a real trooper, and I applaud you!
    Not only did you use logic, and expose’ of terminology, you asked a question that leaves people to come to their own conclusion, which, no one can escape their own conclusion. You also stood up not only for us, but for basic human decency. Way to go!!!!!!!!!
    David

  • #54909 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    Redemption, forgiveness, restorative Justice, Yes one would have to say it has to be for all. Actually one would have to be impressed if this sex offender issue was true value and justice for all. Sure David’s comments sounds good and even Carol’s sounds good. but who is harassing or abusing who in this established justice of the sex offender. I believe the word established is part of the preamble.

    While we can all take a lot of hard knocks in life this sex offender issue is just man overcoming man whether in a biblical sense or a constitutional sense in a lot of these encounters. Sure one services their time or probation it should be over or is someone predicting behind the shadows. For my money I’ll take the biblical law over the constutitional anytime and I’m sure others would also.

    Sure one can look at the facts and we can look at the abuse it is causing others to some degree, whether this offense is induced,suggestive,victim or victimless crime or not . I wonder who know’s the thoughts and intent of a person? Actually who is lead astray and enticed?

    I believe the government is there to establish justice, but if they don’t know what justice is its like the blind leading the blind, They finely abolished slavery but what about discrimination, bigitry and hate? I’m sure govermnents and states will understand that human value is not a quick guilty plea or a plea deal without common defense or should I say spiritual defense. I hope everybody know’s the flesh is weak and governments are taking advantage of that.
    Government and the criminal Justice system is not a bed of roses. I’m surt of glad I didn’t go into probation and parole as man can’t even correct their members or should I say cabinet that is out of joint.

  • #54926 Reply
    Avatar
    Barre Flynn

    Great Article. Restorative Justice is a great term but it means many different things to many people. In the article, it is mentioned that we have to come to some consensus as to what this should look like. In this lies the problem. There is no plum line on moral restoration or means by which to get there. As a Christian, I believe that we need to ask what God requires of us to live at peace. In Micah 6.8 The Prophet proclaims: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” If we start here and work hard to figure out what this means, our community, as well as children, will be safe. It is a lot of work, but I believe that the epidemic of sexual assaults would be greatly diminished if we would listen to our creator. I am a recovery coach at a counseling center in Brooklyn NY. I am not wildly religious. I have seen solid Christian principles bring healing to many men who have committed sexual offenses. I know this works.

    Our pride and lack of vision have brought us to this place in history. Our society, as smart as we think we are, lacks insights to make reasonable and just decisions. This is the real issue.

  • #55005 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    Sandy you don”t know what you did with this article. Actually you all are sitting on the threshold. Now I’m going on my seven year itch if you want to call it of a Ten year probation. Some are incarcerated and even after incarceration they have watchers and still under trhe radar so to speak.

    Sure you can use all the man made resorces, scientific understanding, but its all in the bible. Are we a theoracray or a democracry or a rebublic whats still wet behind the ears after coming up with a constutition. Common sense will tell you that man doesn’t deceive others or should we go back to the story of adam and eve.

    Not its ok to get mad or angry over a lot of this but one has to reason it out. Did the voters vote for undercover temephone deception” Sure I can understand protection as everyone can but who’s protecting the invasion of the body snatchersd or the conscience of liberty.

    Yes we all have a conscience or should I go back to calling you the “Ma Barker of NARSOL” And yes we can all give our comments or opinions but when it comes down to it NARSOL is on the threshold so groub the justice while you can. As far as myself I do care about justice and not just justice for us but others that haven even gotten their feet wet. So Sandy, Robin, Fred, and all you others on NARSOL team you can either hold seminars or pow wows but action speaks louder than words or who’s going against the grain with a lot of this government hijinks. I wonder what ever happened to Maxwell Smart’s Shoe or for that matter Kayos.

  • #55075 Reply
    Avatar
    Carol Salacka

    As always, great article. I especially salute the challenge you put forth to clinicians and people in power. We must end the abhorrent discrimination against registrants who remain a special class of people (unconstitutional) denied the rights given to every other citizen. PA is the same-improvements in the law apply to all except registrants. Shame on the ACLU for not leading the charge here.

  • #55619 Reply
    Avatar
    Mike

    Hello someone asked for recidivism rates for all crimes which i have and is out there on federal government website:
    Re-offense rate averages from The US Department of Justice:
    Auto theft  78.8%,
    Possession/sale of stolen property  77.4%,
    Burglary  74%,
    Robbery  70.2%,
    Larcenist  74.6%,
    Sex offenders  3.5%.
    Sex offenders with treatment  1%.
    1/3 to 1/2 of all child molestation is committed by children themselves. The United States Department of Justice finds the age with the greatest number of offenders is 14.6 years old. 80% of youths report having had sex by the age of 16.;
    Thats directly from the Doj.

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