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S.O. policies driven by public misperceptions, not fact

By Lonnie Burton…. Public opinion toward crime is complex. Research shows that Americans strongly favor punitive measures to address criminal behavior while also demanding the rehabilitation and treatment of offenders. When it comes to sex offenses, it gets even more complicated. A 2015 study authored by Christina Mancini, an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Kristen Budd of MiamiUniversity…

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Ohio poised to remove thousands from registry

By Katie Wedell . . . Two decades after Ohio began labeling sex offenders on a public database and setting restrictions on where they can live, a major overhaul to the law is being proposed that could drop thousands of lower-level offenders off the list. Some critics are even calling for doing away with the registry entirely, saying it’s been an…

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Get real, Justice Alito! Stop misrepresenting the facts.

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee . . . “Repeat sex offenders pose an especially grave risk to children. ‘When convicted sex offenders reenter society, they are much more likely than any other type of offender to be rearrested for a new rape or sexual assault.’”-Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., concurring opinion in Packingham v. North Carolina, June 19,…

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“There are lies, and then there are damn lies” — Mark Twain, paraphrased

By Radley Balko…. Much of the destructive, extra-punishment punishment we inflict on sex offenders is due to the widely held belief that they’re more likely to re-offend than the perpetrators of other classes of crimes. This has been the main justification for the Supreme Court’s authorization of sex-offender registries and for holding sex offenders indefinitely after they’ve served their sentences.…

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New York Times: “Vanishingly” little evidence of high re-offense rate

By Adam Liptak . . . Last week at the Supreme Court, a lawyer made what seemed like an unremarkable point about registered sex offenders. “This court has recognized that they have a high rate of recidivism and are very likely to do this again,” said the lawyer, Robert C. Montgomery, who was defending a North Carolina statute that bars…

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Packingham case asks: Is First Amendment negotiable?

By Lenore Skenazy . . . When Lester Packingham beat a traffic ticket a few years back, he couldn’t contain his joy. He went online and wrote, “No fine. No court cost, no nothing spent. Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks, JESUS!” For this he was arrested and convicted of a heinous crime: using Facebook. Who is legally forbidden to…

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Like death and taxes, some things never change

I came across an interesting report today. It is an analysis of sexual crimes committed in New York City over a ten-year period. I want to share some of the highlights with you. Although sex crimes receive more public attention than other types of crime, they represent only a small fraction of the sum total coming to the attention of…

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Columbus Dispatch declares boldly, courageously, correctly

By John Futty . . . After his conviction for attempted rape in 2011, Brian L. Golsby was required to participate in a sex-offender treatment program in prison. The specific program he entered, how he performed and whether he was seen as a high risk for re-offending, though, are all confidential under Ohio law. Whatever treatment Golsby received, police say…

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Improvement in media’s message portends favorably for future

The past decade has seen amazing changes in the dialogue that is developing around the issue of sexual offenses. Ten years ago, the facts surrounding risk, re-offense rates, and the effectiveness of treatment were written about only by researchers doing the studies. Mainstream media was focused on the hype, the myths, and the rare horror stories and totally ignored the…

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Registration policies increase danger

By Steven Yoder . . . On Sept. 30, 2016, in a Los Angeles suburb, 48-year-old Michael Zinzun, a homeless man on the California sex offender registry, approached a woman sleeping on a park bench and reportedly asked if she wanted to smoke meth. When she turned him down, he allegedly started sexually assaulting her. As she screamed, he dragged…

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