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First Step Act passes Senate; Cotton amendments rejected

By Nicholas Fandos . . . The Senate overwhelmingly approved on Tuesday the most substantial changes in a generation to the tough-on-crime prison and sentencing laws that ballooned the federal prison population and created a criminal justice system that many conservatives and liberals view as costly and unfair. The First Step Act would expand job training and other programming aimed at reducing…

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NARSOL CT affiliate asks for meaningful reform

By Eric Bedner . . . The state Sentencing Commission is considering its legislative agenda, which includes making changes to the sex offender registry and reducing misdemeanor sentences by one day to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported. These and several other proposals were the subject of a public hearing Thursday at the Legislative Office Building. One recommendation is to…

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NARSOL to Sen. Cotton: Stop misdirection intended to derail First Step Act

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas is working hard to influence his fellow Republicans from supporting a bi-partisan prison reform initiative. He is dividing the Republican caucus, claiming that senators who are in support of the act will be helping sex offenders, a tactic known to kill an opponent’s political career. The First Step Act is criminal justice reform legislation supported by legislators…

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Action Alert — Sen. Tom Cotton: “No early release for sex offenders”

By Sandy . . . The First Step Act, now pending in the U.S. Senate, has been described as “a bipartisan-supported bill,” “an important but…modest first-step” toward desperately needed criminal justice reform. It is supported by legislators of both parties and by the President. Modest is correct; the bill would only apply to 1.5 percent of those in federal prisons, and…

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NARSOL’S Vander Wall: “I want to be a conduit for change.”

See this at the JLUSA website. By Robin . . . I am the vice chair of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) and the founder and president of Vivante Espero, the foundation that supports it. Our main focus is on reforming the incredibly onerous and punitive sexual offender registry laws that exist throughout the country.  We…

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IL SOR Task Force recommends changes in state policies

By Edith Brady-Lunny . . . Major changes in Illinois’ rules for sex offenders, including how long an offender must remain on a public registry, are part of a final report on its way to the governor’s office from the Sex Offenses & Sex Offender Registration Task Force. The report comes after a year of study by the group of legislators,…

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Reintegration, not registration, key to safer communities

By Bob Munsey . . . No matter how a person may have corrected his or her actions and paid for failures, in the state of Florida, it’s “once a felon, always a felon.” What is such a policy as this supposed to solve? On a recent evening I listened in on a Reform Sex Offender Laws Inc. conference call…

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Atlanta RSOL Conference 2016 take-away: Whose voice is missing?

By  Michael Rosenberg . . . This year’s RSOL conference in Atlanta was the author’s first, as speakers from across the country brought to bear upon an audience ready and needful of informative lectures and empathetic, well-sourced thought-pieces a whole host of ideas long overdue. Correction: these ideas have been in existence since the first Dolphin was trapped in the net meant largely…

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Courageous registrant embraces role in reform

I know who I am . . . If I hide, nothing is going to happen. I can’t wait for the next person to come along and fight the fight. I am not willing to sit still and let law after law pass, and then I might be like the people in Florida living under a bridge. —Tammy Bond, Illinois…

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USA TODAY rejects prisoner’s letter because he’s a sex offender

By Phil Wentzel . . . As a former law enforcement professional and now one of the millions of incarcerated adults in the U.S., I can relate very personally to two items I read in the October 22, 2015 USA TODAY. It is encouraging to see that a group of respected law enforcement leaders and prosecutors have formed a coalition…

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