Virginia’s problems with its civil commitment program: too many to count

By Patrick Hope . . . The “lock ’em up and throw away the key” era of criminal justice is over. Virginians have reassessed their views on criminal justice to better address mass incarceration weighed against costs and the likelihood to reoffend. Policies ripe for reform include: resentencing prisoners who were convicted as youth; repealing mandatory minimums; legalizing marijuana; abolishing…

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Parents of disabled adults on sex offender registries along with their children

By Chiara Eisner . . . Carol Nesteikis, 66, has never committed a crime. But for two years, from six in the evening to six in the morning the next day, she lived under de facto house arrest with her 32-year-old son, Adam. It wasn’t because she wanted to. The home itself was a kind of punishment, she says. Adam…

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Virginia grandmother prohibited from seeing grandchildren in school events

By Sandy . . . Seventeen years ago in Grayson County, Virginia, a fourteen-year-old boy named David and a 26-year-old woman named Shelly set in motion events that would reverberate for months, years, and decades to come. The background story: David was a troubled youth. By fourteen he was intimately familiar with the juvenile justice system in Virginia. His legal…

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A case against civil commitment

Reposted from August 14, 2018 By NARSOL . . . In view of recent developments in the case of Galen Baughman in Virginia, NARSOL restates its unequivocal opposition to the civil commitment process occurring in at least twenty states and in the federal system. Paul Shannon, NARSOL’s board chair, states, “NARSOL opposes the practice of civilly committing sexual offenders to…

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NARSOL condemns civil commitment practices

By NARSOL . . . In view of recent developments in the case of Galen Baughman in Virginia, NARSOL restates its unequivocal opposition to the civil commitment process occurring in at least twenty states and in the federal system. Paul Shannon, NARSOL’s board chair, states, “NARSOL opposes the practice of civilly committing sexual offenders to a locked facility after they…

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Sex offenders — decision needed

By Sandy . . . Some members of our society are shadow people, so marginalized that they are hanging on by their fingernails. Some have a slightly firmer grip, but they are perched precariously close to the edge, so close that they can be hurled into the abyss by a mere word, accusation, or click of a mouse. In Florida…

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Opinion: Virginia lawmakers unfairly target registered citizens

By Mary Davye Devoy . . . The 2018 Virginia General Assembly session is my 10th as a volunteer advocate for a smarter Virginia Sex Offender Registry. I use more than 20 years of data to support my work and offer fact-based recommendations for improving the laws. In that time, I have watched as Virginia delegates and senators take a…

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Shelter discrimination blurs separation of church, state

By Sandy . . . It’s official. Winter is here. Temperatures are plummeting in states across the nation. Cold-weather emergency shelters are opening in response, most of them managed by Christian churches and organizations. The post I wrote dealing with one of these elicited much interest and a high number of comments. This is largely due to their policy, by…

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In bizarre case, 4th Circuit panel finds forced erections unconstitutional

By Cyrus Farivar . . . A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Virginia man who, as a teen, was once ordered by a lower court to be photographed while masturbating in the presence of armed police officers. That warrant was ostensibly part of an ongoing sexting investigation into the then-teen, Trey Sims, who had exchanged explicit messages with…

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