A ‘Frightening’ Myth About Sex Offenders

Just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court justices return from summer break a continuing controversy threatens the court’s credibility.  Did they play fast and loose with the facts in several landmark sex offense cases?   A new video that just went live on the New York Times website will tell you plenty, click on the link below.  Also below are several stories with more information.  –Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire

A ‘Frightening’ Myth About Sex Offenders
New York Times Op-Doc by David Feige
Our harsh treatment of sex offenders is based on flawed social science
See the VIDEO:

2nd Annual Ex-Offender Job Fair

A much-needed event for our community – And it’s FREE!!!

The Henry County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in collaboration with Clayton State University, The Zeta Mu Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Streetz 94.5 and Old School 87.7 radio stations will host the 2nd Annual Ex-Offenders Job Fair. The purpose of the Job Fair is to inform & educate the community on securing full employment for our returning citizens.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-ex-offender-job-fair-tickets-32873366123

Are we a freepick?

It feels as though we are under siege. It feels like there is a disconnect between what is stated in the law, versus what is being applied via such law. Specifically, OCGA 17-10-1.

The first sentence of the law reads:
(2) Active probation supervision shall terminate in all cases no later than two years from the commencement of active probation supervision…
And it continues. There are only two exceptions to this: if you were convicted under the street gang terrorism clause. The other is if you haven’t paid your fines or fees.

“Shall” is the key word here. The word shall generally means that it is mandatory. Mandatory doesn’t give a lot of wiggle room as to whether something can be applied with discretion. The only part in the above sentence that would afford discretion is ‘no later than 2 years’. Which would therefore mean, that no later than 2 years. Seriously, if you’re a registrant and you’ve gone past 2 years, you should absolutely be on unsupervised probation.

Here’s what is rubbing me the wrong way, and in a big way. In one county, I am told that probation is aware of the law signed by the Governor. However, they aren’t going to follow it. Just like that.  That’s ballsy to say the least.

In another county, as soon as the law was signed to go into affect July 1st, the judge supervising in that district wrote a standing order stating that registrants aren’t eligible.

Lastly, in yet another county, I hear that probation is having all of the registrants sign a waiver. I do not have the details behind this waiver yet. I am imagining that the waiver says that ‘You are aware of the law, but you aren’t afforded the privilege of the law”.

The process written in the law is that it is on probation to take YOU to court to keep you ON probation. Not the other way around. If you think you’re supposed to go hire a lawyer to remove you from supervision, you have it backwards. It reads that you are to come off of active probation supervision UNLESS you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Meaning, missing curfew, maybe you’ve failed a drug test, etc. But if you’re following the rules, you’ve gone to treatment if required, etc. If you’re doing the right things, then you should (no later than 2 years) be unsupervised.

Think about it in the way a court proceeding works: You are innocent until proven guilty. It is on the prosecution to provide evidence that you are guilty. This is the same thing. The burden of proof isn’t on you to show that you are a good person. It is on them to show that you are a bad person, or at least not following the rules.

I have a recording from someone that tried to go about it this way. He’s been on probation now for about 7 years. He tells me that he tried to take them to court to be removed from supervised probation. This is an individual with no violations. Pays the fines, etc. The probation officer says to the judge, Mr. “So and so” is doing very well on probation. We don’t think there should be any change to his status. The judge agreed.

The question I have is how do they think that this is OK? Aren’t we a nation of laws? Don’t we enter into a civic contract with society to follow the laws. That we understand if we break the law, there are consequences? If you are affected by what you’re reading here, you broke a law. You are being punished for not following the law. You were convicted, either by plea or jury, of breaking the law. Doesn’t probation have to follow laws as well? Aren’t they given the authority to do their job by a law? If they are given the authority by a law, don’t they also have to follow a law that limits their authority. They can’t just arbitrarily not follow something because they don’t like it.

Where did Governor Deal get the law? He received a bill from the legislators of Georgia. Where did these men and women come from? Who are they? They are the people that the citizen of the state of Georgia elected to represent them. We are a representative government after all. Georgia is similar to The United States of America. They elect the people to represent them at the capital.

Then by proxy, the people of the state of Georgia decided that these men and women would best represent them. It is then the will of the people that after 2 years, all probationers, except the couple conditions, shall be removed from active probation supervision. If probation wishes to have an individual on probation longer than the 2 years, it is then on probation to have some form of court hearing in which the judge extends the time of supervision beyond the 2 years. The final caveat here is no later than 5 years of supervised probation.

How many people are affected by this? It seems very reasonable to think that of the 21,000 people on the registry in the state of Georgia, that half are on some form of supervision. And of those 10,000 people, that half live in counties where this law isn’t being abided by. That leaves approximately 5,000 that are having their liberties suppressed.

How do we move forward to fix this? We have to stand up, as a group, and challenge them. It would appear that they are doing this because they have no resistance. They are saying “we do what we want because no one is pushing back”. You stand up to the prison bully simply because they are less likely to push on someone that pushes back. We are currently the group of people that isn’t pushing back. We shouldn’t be that group. We should pick our battles strategically. We should focus on ones that have the most impact, and are the most cost efficient. Find the point where we maximize our dollars and gain the most quality of life for registrants. This seems like the fight.

We are going to begin fundraising to fight this in the very near future. Please leave comments on the site.

Become Involved in Order to Affect Change

The expression, “I’m just one person, what can I do?” is both true and false. It takes a team to make something happen. There is the false. Without the vision, which often comes from one person, what can the masses gather around? We absolutely need more people involved at every level. It is possible that you are the very person we need.

Let’s be clear, we are all able to be involved at different levels. There are folks who are able to donate a special skill such as expert legal analysis. Others may have money and can help fund the movement. Others are only able to attend conference calls. There are others who spread the word through writing articles or meeting with legislators and other critical individuals.  All of these individuals are critical to the success OR failure of our organization.

What will it take to bring out change and improve the lives of registrants? How can you help?

Donate a skill (volunteer) to NARSOL or an affiliate.

It is probably obvious that legal expertise is always in high demand, but even lawyers need other skill-sets to support them. A lawyer who spends all his or her time trying to make a website isn’t doing the legal work required to support the client. Without marketing, no one knows the legal representation is there. Both are equally important.

Donate money

During the presidential campaign, one candidate had an average donation of $26.00, yet that candidate was able to raise millions of dollars. NARSOL and the affiliates need money. Plain and simple –  Money moves mountains.  Even a contribution of $1.00 is helpful. Perhaps you could make a monthly donation of a small amount. Maybe you could contribute $100.00 More will always be better, but anything is better than nothing. You can set up a one time, or recurring donation here and here.

Vote

Many of us cannot vote. However, nearly every one of us who is a registrant has family and friends who are able to vote. Research the candidate who would be most receptive to changes and spread the word for that person. One place to do such research is here. You can also find out who your representative is here. Set up a meeting with your representative to discuss the issues. A helpful video presentation can be found here.

Attend calls and functions

NARSOL has a back catalog of webinars and calls that go into depth about subjects like the legislative process (found here). On an ongoing basis, NARSOL hosts calls and webinars that can give us all the education needed to advance our position. You can sign up to get notices both here and here and here.

NARSOL hosts an annual conference in various cities around the country. The upcoming one is June 2-4 in Atlanta, GA. The conference is a great opportunity to meet people who are involved. It is awesome to find out that you are not alone and that there are people in your corner trying to make life better. The conference is a great place to learn how you can help the cause. You can register here.

Amplification

Engagement on our blog with our constituents helps amplify a skill-set or contacts that would be valuable.

Make a difference.  Become involved today. We need you and you need us.

A former inmate on the perils of life after prison

Every year, more than 600,000 individuals are freed from America’s jails and prisons.

But many of America’s formerly incarcerated people face numerous obstacles when integrating back into public life once free, according to Wes Caines and his former colleagues Scott Hechinger and Hannah McCrea at Brooklyn Defender Services, a public defender service in New York City.

Former prisoners are routinely denied employment, housing, education, and other benefits that would help ease their integration into life on the outside, Caines says.

Read the whole article here:
A former inmate on the perils of life after prison

Job opportunity for people struggling to find work

http://californiarsol.org/2016/04/job-opportunity-for-people-struggling-to-find-work/

Hello, affiliates. As you may have read in a recent RSOL newsletter, I started a company called HomePro. One of the main reasons for starting this company was to provide an opportunity for those who are struggling to find work. We provide at-home telemarketing reps to do mostly survey work. It’s not a difficult job, and it can be a stepping stone to better opportunities, as I’ve found that it is generally easier to find a job
if you already have a job.

We recently made a change in the way we do payroll by outsourcing it to
a national company. What this means is that we are no longer limited to
hiring just from Illinois, but we can now hire people from anywhere in
the U.S. So I’m passing this on in case you have people in your state
list who are looking for work and who meet the qualifications:

1. Must have a good, reliable computer (Windows 7 or higher).
2. Must have a good, high-speed internet connection (Cable internet,
DSL, etc. Unfortunately, 4g probably won’t work). All calls are made
from the computer, so no phone is necessary.
3. Must have a quiet place in their home from where they can work.
4. Must be able to read and follow a script and have a pleasant phone
voice.
5. We’re looking for people who are willing to work, have flexibility
in their schedule, and are willing to commit to at least 20 hours per week.
6. Parole/probation is fine, as long as they are legally able to use
the computer and internet (including email).
7. We do not inquire about background, and we do not do background
checks.

Our work schedule varies depending on the needs of the client.
Currently, we are doing a lot of afternoon/evening work, but again, that
can vary week to week. We hire all our workers as employees, not
contractors. We are currently paying $8.50/hour.

Please feel free to pass this information on to your supporters. Anyone
interested should complete an application on our website:

www.homeprotc.com

If anyone has questions, they are welcome to email us at
info@homeprotc.com. We are looking to add at least 20 people in the next
few weeks.

Thanks in advance for your help disseminating this information.

//Will//
Executive Director, Illinois Voices for Reform

Illinois Law Requiring Sex Offenders To Report All Internet Activity Violates Free Speech Rights

Illinois Law Requiring Sex Offenders To Report All Internet Activity Violates Free Speech Rights

Posted on 04/08/16, 10:16 am

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/…

April 7, 2016 | By Sophia Cope and Karen Gullo
Illinois Law Requiring Sex Offenders To Report All Internet Activity Violates Free Speech Rights

With the goal of keeping tabs on sex offenders, the state of Illinois has veered way off course. Its offender registration statute requires individuals to report every nook and cranny of their online activities to law enforcement—or face jail time. Every Internet site they visit, every online retailer account they create, and every news story comment they post must be reported to police.

EFF and the ACLU of Illinois today asked the Illinois Supreme Court to strike down these onerous requirements of the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). The rules violate free speech rights guaranteed to all people—even unpopular people—under the Constitution.

The law was challenged by a Normal, Illinois, man who served 12 months of probation for a misdemeanor offense he committed as a juvenile. Several years later he was arrested and charged with a felony punishable by a year in prison because he failed to report to police a Facebook account to which he uploaded a photo. An Illinois judge last year correctly ruled that the online speech requirements of SORA were overbroad and unconstitutional. He noted that SORA has absolutely no limitation on the type of speech or communication offenders are required to report, and disregards whether the speech being targeted “is in any way related to” the purpose of the statute—which is to deter sexual offenses. The state has appealed the decision.

No one, not even sex offenders, should be forced to report every aspect of his or her online life to law enforcement or be prevented from speaking anonymously on the Internet. Illinois’ law requires reporting of all email addresses, usernames, and websites used, and law enforcement must make that information available to the public. Participating in political discussion groups, banking online or posting a restaurant review has no nexus with police enforcement of sex offender laws. Compelling individuals to turn over this information imposes severe burdens on speech that go way beyond what’s needed for the state to ensure sex offenders don’t offend again. As Illinois Judge Robert Freitag said in his ruling last year (citing a court that struck down a Nebraska law very similar to Illinois’), such online speech reporting rules clearly chill offenders “from engaging in expressive activity that is otherwise perfectly proper.”

EFF and ACLU in 2012 successfully challenged a state ballot measure aimed at combating human trafficking that restricted the legal and constitutionally protected speech of all registered sex offenders in California. We argued that requiring registrants to turn over their online identifiers doesn’t fight trafficking but rather creates a dangerous slippery slope, stoking law enforcement’s desire for accessing more and more personal data online. A district court ruling blocking enforcement of the measure was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and California chose not to appeal the case to the Supreme Court

In the Illinois case, state officials make the argument that no website is “unrelated” to the purpose of its sex offender registration law, and any physical location in which the public may encounter a sex offender is relevant to police investigations of those offenders. By that logic, sex offenders should be required to report their every move—when they take a bus, go to the post office, shop at the grocery store, or attend a meeting. The law doesn’t force offenders to report to police every place they come in contact with the public, nor should it force them to disclose everywhere they go online. That’s not just wrong, it’s unconstitutional.

March National RSOL in Action

March RSOL in Action

Monday, March 14, 2016

7 p.m. Eastern time

This is your second notice of an extremely important conference call. This month’s call will focus on two very important pending court cases: 

  • International Megan’s Law challenge currently pending in the U.S District Court, Northern District of California; and
  • The ACLU’s lawsuit in Rhode Island pending in U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island. 

Our special guests will be Janice Bellucci, CA RSOL President, and Steve Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island. General Q & A will follow after each report. Everyone is invited to listen in on the call. 

We ask that you sign up

 

 if you plan to attend so that we have some idea how many participants to expect.The phone number is 641 715-3660 followed by access code 957605#. 

RSOL does not in any way condone sexual activity between adults and children, nor does it condone any sexual activity that would break laws in any state. We do not advocate lowering the age of consent, and we have no affiliation with any group that does condone such activities.

Copyright © 2016 National RSOL. All rights reserved.

Contact email: contact@reformsexoffenderlaws.org