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For sex crimes, prison conditions extend beyond prison walls

By Roger Lancaster . . . The criminal justice reform bill, hopefully dubbed the First Step Act, represents a real accomplishment — a positive development in otherwise conservative times. It is all the more remarkable that a reactionary president, who ran a tough-on-crime campaign, is now poised to sign the bill. But let’s not overstate matters. The bill essentially tweaks an otherwise…

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Judge says Dayton, MN sexual offender housing restrictions must go

By Chris Serres . . . A Hennepin County judge has struck down a far-reaching ordinance in Dayton, Minn., that restricts where sex offenders can live, ruling that the measure is trumped by state law. The decision concerns a city ordinance that effectively barred convicted sex offenders from living anywhere in the city of Dayton, a semirural community of about 5,000 residents…

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Salvation Army, practice what you preach

By Sandy . . . Ah, it’s winter. Christmas and Hanukkah are approaching. Half the country has snow on the ground, and all the kids in the other half wish they did. Christmas lights, excited shoppers, special church services, and general joy and goodwill abound. Oh – and the homeless. The cold, the poor, the shunned. Thank God for winter…

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NJ Superior Ct. opens door for removal from registry for two registrants

By Sandy . . . A New Jersey Superior Court has handed down a great decision. Two registrants had sought relief from registration under a law in that state that permits such relief. The two registrants had been denied in a lower court, and the higher court on December 7, 2018, reversed that finding, sending the case back to the…

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RI shelter agrees not to limit number of registrants allowed

By Providence Journal staff . . . The ACLU of Rhode Island and the state have settled a lawsuit over a state law capping at 10 percent the occupancy of registered sex offenders at the Harrington Hall homeless shelter in Cranston. The law had been set to go into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, and resulted from displeasure among…

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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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The denial of redemption

By Rich A . . . What exactly is redemption?  Many are familiar with the religious concept of redemption:  the payment of a price, or ransom, to secure release.  In criminology, redemption often is defined as the point in time when a person with a criminal record, having had no further contact with the criminal justice system, is of no greater…

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Criminal or civil? Right or wrong? Does anyone care?

By Scott H. Greenfield . . . It’s bad enough, both for substantive as well as factual reasons, that the Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe held that sex offender registration was not punitive, but civil, and therefore beyond the reach of the Ex Post Facto Clause. Not only was it grounded in utterly baseless statistics of recidivism, but it indulged in the fantasy that…

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Ringgold, GA: A town with compassion

By Tamara Wolk . . . It’s probably not often that a group of people ranging from pastors to city and county government, law enforcement, judges, social services, citizens and the homeless gather in one location to try to understand and solve a serious problem together. That’s what happened at Ringgold Baptist Church the cold afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 15.…

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The power of the written word

By Sandy . . . As a writer, I have been aware my entire life of the impact that words have on readers and listeners. NARSOL is blessed to have among its volunteers a number of people who are adept at putting words together and advocating for our cause most eloquently. One such is Mike Wilson, who serves NARSOL as…

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