Why NARSOL supports the ALI revised Model Penal Code recommendations

By Sandy . . . The situation surrounding the revisions to the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code has become a “hot button” issue. Even though only recommendations, in some states they are highly regarded and could be considered by lawmakers in future sessions. The suggested revisions dealing with sexual crime would be a big step down from the onerous requirements currently in place. In particular they recommend abolishment of (1) public registration, (2) lifetime registration, (2) registration of juveniles, and (4) blanket restrictions, and they greatly reduce the number of crimes that would be eligible for registration.

It was these recommendations that 35 of our attorneys general protested against, writing and signing a letter that said, in essence, that if these policies were adopted, America’s children would be at great risk. Because of this kind of pushback, the full body of ALI, due to vote on finalizing the recommendations at their Jan. meeting, postponed the vote to their March 3 meeting.

Various sign-on letters are being written and circulated in support of the recommendations as they stand. NARSOL is assisting the effort with a letter to be signed by groups and organizations who serve those affected by the policies and laws, groups such as treatment providers, advocacy groups, and reentry groups. NARSOL affiliated and associated organizations have been invited to sign.

Now pushback is coming from a different angle. Some well-meaning and dedicated advocates are rejecting ALI’s recommendations because they allow for a few sexual crimes to be included in a registry and, even though it would be law enforcement only, they allow for the existence of a registry. Some advocates cannot reconcile these facts with their all-or-nothing stance.

NARSOL agrees that the registry should be entirely abolished. That is in our mission statement. That is in our vision statement. That is our end goal.

While NARSOL fully rejects and calls for an end to registries as an affront to human rights, dignity, and liberty, we cannot turn away from something that has at least some promise of mitigating some of the damage being done to so many lives. This registration monster and all that it has spawned did not unfold upon us full blown overnight, and it is highly unlikely that it is going to be dismantled in one fell swoop. Furthermore, there is currently no path by which this might be accomplished.

We see this as a war, and every battle that can be won should be; every chink that can be gouged into the armor of the registry should be. Many battles are fought and won before a war is ended. ALI’s recommendations, even if adopted in part and by only a handful of state legislatures, will bring us one step closer.

This is why NARSOL supports ALI’s recommendations for its revised Model Penal Code.

 

Groups and organizations who work to serve those affected by harsh laws and policies due to the sex offender registry are invited to sign our letter. Contact Sandy at communications@narsol.org. by Feb. 23.

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10 Thoughts to “Why NARSOL supports the ALI revised Model Penal Code recommendations”

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  1. Tim in WI

    Any abolitionist stake must be grounded in the instance of adherence to natural law! This means determining by convention that human value always outweighs machine value and not the other way around. Either free humans are paid wages to maintain property, or do so by their own volition, or they are not. In this case, we discuss the machine and the broad application upon man by gov. We discuss a form of slavery or indentured servitude upon conviction. These human notions were never new. Pre America and ear!y American consisted much of it up until the Civil War. Under our thirteenth Amendment such regimes were identified as punishment. North and South fought to death over this issue; A relative disposition between born free human and property. And how popular and profitable the segregation was to those who practiced it. The moral question in fact has merely returned to U.S.. Signed into law by a Dixiecrat, very guilty himself, but who else would, in a politically piloted world? And how shall we humans regulate the database itself? Abolish it all? No chance! Act with good reason or nothing at all. IMO, no truely freeman can also be slave, even a little.

    1. Eugene V. Debbs

      Maybe they are trying to bring back indentured servitude, as opposed to outright slavery. Where as one has no hope of freedom and the other knows that after a certain amount of years they are free. Since they see a gradual step off to the registry as opposed to the massive freedom of the slaves of the “price club” incarnation as the best outcome ALI believes has the best chance to bring about the end of junk science of a court verdict.

      1. Tim in WI

        @E Debbs,
        I posited that very question to a Canadian expert on the history of slavery. His response surprised me. Basically he said it was an irrelevant question because either way ( definition) it acts as human labor as the means of production. The database then is the newest means of production by its application as proprietary property. For another example consider those who use tech firm (YouTube’s, et. al.) platform to post content. They do so by their own volition, but in doing so use another’s property to engage in labor and market, which very closely resembles share cropping. FB (Now meta) more often than not grew to enormous size with free labor input from user’s posting by their own choice. And how did that firm repay the imputers, by exploitation. And should same user complain about this exploitation they get dumped or banned from the property. Which happened recently with go fund me, when they bailed on the effort to defend truckers protest from highly likely fines and court costs for offenses of civil obedience. It is who controls the property that counts.

      2. Ram

        Here’s a suggestion, why not draw up a petition type letter from registrants and their families to sign and present to the ALI being that “WE” are the ones directly affected by these oppressing registration laws. Who better to represent a “group” than the “body” themselves. We surly out number the AG’s, NADA, and NCMEC combined.

      3. Tom

        Did Ali vote on this at the may meeting.

  2. Hope

    These changes are all positive changes and will likely help maney people and I wouldn’t hurt to have them change.

    I have a concern though. I think there is a bigger problem than even the registry (rather private or public). Its public opinion and fear of people convicted of sex offences. A person’s reputation, even a juvinial’s reputation (that might not be put on the registry after conviction) can be ruined even before they are even charged with a sex crime. The person can be put in the news and even a juvinial who is supposed to be protected from others knowing can have there reputation ruined if the victim tells other people what he or she believes happened. In those situations putting the person on a private registry isn’t going to help because the opinion of other people is already out in the public. If the public understood this fear that they have for people who commited sex offenses was irrational, things would change in my opinion.

    I don’t know the answer to this problem and its likely one of those things that are unlikely to change.

  3. Tj

    The AGs have used scare tactics to get in office as well and stay in office. The truth has nothing to do with law as far as they are concerned. Politicians of will always use whatever they can instill a sense of fear in order to hold onto the power they have. It’s control nothing more. The justice system in this county is a joke. The Supreme Court refuses to handle hot issues out of fear.

    1. TS

      It is not a justice system, but a legal system. Justice is subjective, which has for the most part been removed by legislatures nationally or below, but legal is set in laws which have been passed to ensure what those in elected power think is best, not the person on the bench thinks when given the facts presented.

  4. Michael

    This is a huge step forward and I fully support it even if I end being one of people left behind on the registry. Let’s take every victory we can get.

  5. David Kennerly

    It is manifestly obvious to all but some grudge-nurturing malcontents – who you will never make happy no matter what you do – that this represents an enormous potential improvement to the soul-crushing machinery of the registry. You’re done all you can in this effort and it has benefited enormously by your actions. Thank you!!