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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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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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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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NARSOL’s ninth conference and awards banquet

The National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) convened its 2017 conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, June 2 with Building a Foundation for Effective Advocacy as its theme. The three-day conference was well attended with more than 140 advocates, presenters, and feature speakers present. Conference guests enthusiastically received information and current legal perspectives from four leading attorneys who are…

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Registries help feed nation’s thirst for mass incarceration

By Rick Anderson . . . The September 1988 rape and murder of 29-year-old Diane Ballasiotes in Seattle, Washington, followed by the 1989 rape and sexual mutilation of a 7-year-old Tacoma boy, were the seedlings of today’s nationwide sex offender registry laws – a 50-state network that tracks over 805,000 registrants and whose usefulness as a crime-prevention tool has been…

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Why do crime registries that don’t work continue to grow?

By Emmanuel Felton . . . Bruce Armstrong says he’s a changed man. After spending 25 years in jail for killing a man during a home invasion, Armstrong is looking for a second chance: “I’m not in the lifestyle I used to be in. I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I’m just trying to build something up before it’s too…

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Okay to ban sex offenders from social media? Who’s next?

By Perry Grossman . . . On April 27, 2010, Lester Gerard Packingham Jr. posted a Facebook status: “Man God is Good! How about I got so much favor they dismiss the ticket before court even started. No fine, No court costs, no nothing spent. . . . Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks JESUS!” This post appears entirely ordinary—something…

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Right speech, right time, right now. Engage!

By Michael Rosenberg . . . The criminalization of the speech of registered citizens ensures Tom and Jane Public can continue with a campaign of blissful ignorance; the proliferation of enthusiastic comments beneath news articles in which our rights are violated is a quick study illustrating the detrimental effect of our inability to use our right speech when and where it…

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Ron Book’s guilt satiated by hatred for sex offenders

By Shelly Stow . . . I watched the film Untouchable through live streaming as it was shown at the RSOL National Conference that has just concluded in Atlanta, Georgia. This film could well have been named, “Portrait of a bitter, angry man.” Ron Book’s daughter Lauren was sexually assaulted by a nanny the family had hired for Lauren. The…

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Vanderwall puts state on notice over new sex offender laws

By Rex Hodge . . . A new sex offender ban is now in effect in North Carolina. The new law bans offenders whose victims were under 18, or anyone legally deemed a threat to children, from many places kids may gather. It replaces a previous law a judge deemed too vague in 2009. Haywood County leaders say the new…

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