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Sex registries as modern-day witch pyres

By Guy Hamilton-Smith . . . Perhaps the most irrefutable statement that can be made about modern day America is this: we have a penchant for putting people in cages. More than any other nation on the planet, we rely on incarceration as the fix for our social ills. America’s unprecedented prison boom spawned advocates who work tirelessly to put the police…

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Defining terms. What exactly is “sexual misconduct” and who decides?

By Robin . . . Every day brings new charges, it seems, of sexual misconduct on the part of a man in a prominent position. No area is safe. Among the accused are those in the entertainment and media fields, political leaders, sports figures, and even a past president or two. Like a tornado spinning off multiple, smaller tornados, every…

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Passport requirement casts wide net, imposes badge of shame

By Jacob Sullum . . . The notice, which will appear on the second-to-last page of U.S. passports, is officially known as an “endorsement,” but it is more like a badge of shame. “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor,” it says, “and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l).”…

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Sex offender registries endanger the lives they’re meant to protect

By Miriam Aukerman . . . Our communities deserve effective public-safety measures that are based on facts and sound research, not wasteful and counterproductive measures born of fear. We all want to be safe. We have to demand our legislators pass laws that work and actually keep us safe. That’s especially true when it comes to sexual offenses. A Michigan…

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Does anyone really understand recidivism?

By Sandy…. The recent post about incorrect information put forth as fact on “The View” has prompted some lively discussion about the term “recidivism” and the difficulty — and even sometimes the wisdom — of engaging in accurate discussions about it. This has prompted me to recall a blog post I wrote several years ago on this subject, and I…

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The ladies of “The View” need glasses

By Robin and Sandy . . . On “The View,” September 25, program regular Sunny Hostin said, in response to the announcement that Anthony Weiner had been sentenced to 21 months for sexting with a minor, that she felt the sentence was inappropriate and had she been prosecutor, she would have asked for a longer term. She justified this by saying…

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The sex-offender panic is absolutely destroying lives

By Radley Balko . . . The video below tells the story of Shawna, an Oklahoma woman who is still in mandatory treatment because 15 years ago, when she was 19, she had sex with a boy who was 14. Over at the Marshall Project, David Feige has more about the unlikely people swept up in the sex-offender panic for offenses…

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Do public parks belong to all the public? Not in Oklahoma

By Sandy . . . “What is the point in doing everything right for years when it counts for nothing? Where is the incentive? What I did was wrong, but that was 15 years ago. I’m not the same person I was when I was 19….My oldest is 9, and I’ve had to explain it to her – why we can’t…

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In the midst of Irma, one group of citizens gets no shelter

Steve Yoder, a reporter who writes frequently on sex offender issues, sends us this piece: A potentially catastrophic storm is headed straight at Florida’s mid-section, which includes Polk County south of Orlando. So on Wednesday, county sheriff Grady Judd tweeted a warning — but not about evacuating or finding higher ground. “If you go to a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn…

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Illinois columnist butchers Gospel, panders to baseless fear

By Sandy . . . The editorial “We all must provide protection from sex offenders” (Daily Journal, 8/26/17) contains many of the elements commonly found in much media coverage on sexual offense issues. It opens with the expected fear-mongering: “The mere mention of a child sex offender can conjure up uncontrollable emotions. The reality of a child sex offender frequenting your…

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