A new law in Rhode Island will make sex offenders living beyond 300 feet of a school move to a place at least 1000 feet from a school. They have 30 days to uproot their lives. Guess who thinks this will make children safer?
Only the R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers, which sponsored the bill.Â No one else. Not even law enforcers.
As this amazing ektnayfrkn
article by Amanda Milkovits in the Providence Journal reports (boldface mine):
Remarkably, law enforcers, civil-rights advocates, supporters of victims of sexual assault and experts who study sex-offender management say the expanded ban could actually decrease public safety by forcing offenders to move frequently or become homeless, destabilizing their lives.
Not only is it hard for anyone to up and find a new place to live in a single month, the new restrictions on where “offenders” can live leaves them only slivers of Providence that aren’t off limits.
Which might make sense, if these so-called residency restrictions made kids safer. But…
Jill S. Levenson, an associate professor of social work at Barry University in Miami and an expert on the impact of laws like Rhode Island’s 1,000-foot ban, said there’s no evidence that residence-restriction laws improve public safety.
“The laws are passed with good intentions. It seems like it makes sense: if they’re not living close to where children are, they’ll have less likelihood to form a relationship and be tempted,” said Levenson,
“The irony is,” she said, “in some ways it exacerbates factors that contribute to risk.”
As Shelly Stow writes on her blog, With Justice for All:
Most of Providenceâ€™s affected registered citizens have lived, quietly and offense-free, in their neighborhoods for years. Some own their homes. Many are senior citizens. A few have found other places to live. The majority are bewildered, facing homelessness and hopelessness. As one said,Â ” ‘The state has got to stop punishing us. We’ve paid for our crimes. What’s next?’ â€
That is an excellent question.
Here’s another question: Why do we let fear and hate determine our laws?
Joseph M. McNamara, a Warwick state representative who chairs the state Democratic Party…andÂ drove the amendment through the General Assembly, said he did so because “parents were panicking” when a sex offender moved into an apartment building 400 feet from a Warwick elementary school — and another moved into McNamara’s neighborhood in a home 800 feet from an elementary school.
Both offenders were complying with state law, but McNamara felt they were too close for comfort. “Being a retired school administrator, when you have a school community in a panic over these situations and children who believe they are going to an area that is insecure, it’s not conducive to education.”
So, here’s a radical idea: How about trying to reverse the panic with facts instead of giving in to it? While most people seem to believe that anyone labeled a “sex offender” is compelled to pounce on the next kid they see, the facts show otherwise:
Levenson, who has studied the impact of residency restrictions in Florida and co-authored books about sex-offender treatment, said the laws are often passed out of fear and panic of sex offenders snatching children off playgrounds. In reality, most victims are known to the offenders [not strangers].
She co-authored a study into a 2,500-foot rule in Jacksonville, Florida, that concluded there was no significant differences in citywide sex crimes or recidivist sex crimes.
That’s right! Residency restrictions did not make anyone safer! What’s more: EvenÂ The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has concluded that sex offenders are less likely to be re-arrested than other criminal offenders.
So actual research shows that these laws do no one any good, and many people a truckload of bad. ButÂ the bill passed the House 71 to 2 (kudos to nay-voters Joseph Almeida and Edith Ajello), and the Senate 37 to 0. Gov. Raimondo signed it into law in July.
Panic and hatred have won. But somehow this was for the sake of the children. – L.
Hitler did it “for the children” too. Yes, I went there. But lots of atrocities have been done under the banner of protecting the children throughout history.
Does this include sex offenders who have no offences against children? Not everyone who is labeled a ‘sex offender’ is a pedophile!
We have got to police smarter. We spend millions—billions—tracking former offenders until they die, and it does not improve public safety or reduce either sexual re-offense or first time offense. Child sexual abuse is committed overwhelmingly by those close to the victims in their everyday lives. This means their family members, their peers, and their authority figures. If we took those millions and billions and dedicated them to victim services, meaningful rehabilitation and re-entry for former offenders, and comprehensive education and prevention programs in every school in America, we would see a positive impact on public safety and especially on child sexual abuse.
â€œOf all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis
Why do I think of this quote more and more each day?
The law already calls for these folks to be registered anyway, so not sure why their moving several hundred feet will increase security.
This law also implies that the only place to find children (as we know ALL sex offenders are child snatching pedophiles) is within X feet of a school.
This MIGHT make sense if ALL children lived within X feet of their school.
I’d like to see how this isn’t a violation of the Constitution, both the ban on ex post facto laws and the 5th amendment “takings”.
I wonder how popular this law would be if a court ordered the state to pay the people affected by it, to compensate them for what is being taken from from? Since some of them own their property and are being forced off it, it seems like a straightforward “taking”.
Shannon, apparently it is all who have been designated level III regardless of whether their offense involved a child or not. Many of these men are elderly, and some are disabled and sick. Some have families. Some own the homes they are being forced from. Most have lived peacefully in their neighborhoods for years. None were breaking any laws. None have been re-arrested for a re-offense.
And, for accuracy’s sake, not everyone who does molest children is a pedophile, and not everyone who has pedophilia has committed a crime. Many with pedophilia have never touched a child inappropriately.
I’d like to make another point. Just as research has turned up no instance of a child being assaulted on Halloween by a stranger on the registry, I am unable to find a situation where a registrant has entered a school and abused or abducted a random child. On the other hand, scarcely a week goes by without a report somewhere in America about a child or teen in a school being sexually abused by a member of the faculty or staff. Again, we spend millions and billions tracking those who have already offended and are, as a group, extremely unlikely to do so again, and we spend nothing doing what would actually have an impact on the problem.
“Shannon, apparently it is all who have been designated level III regardless of whether their offense involved a child or not. Many of these men are elderly, and some are disabled and sick. Some have families. Some own the homes they are being forced from. Most have lived peacefully in their neighborhoods for years. None were breaking any laws. None have been re-arrested for a re-offense.”
“We have got to police smarter. ”
^^This entire post… brilliant ideas and a much better way to spend money.
I still don’t get why the sex offender list is even constitutional. How did it pass the whole cruel and unusual punishment thing? It’s not as if every other crime has some list and restrictions. Should armed robbers stay away from banks? Drunk drivers live away from bars? Shoplifters stay away from Walmart? I just don’t get it.
Didn’t California just rule these kind of restrictions as unconstitutional? They are burdensome, both to those registered and to tax payers. A simple internet search would have told this lawmaker all of this (but let’s not confuse his reality with the facts). And again, how does living a certain distance from a school or park make children safer? Last I heard, these people still have the ability to leave their homes.
“Being a retired school administrator, when you have a school community in a panic over these situations and children who believe they are going to an area that is insecure, itâ€™s not conducive to education.â€
Then the problem stems from the school community. Address why they panic at this in the first place.
You know what’s not conducive to education? Ignorance.
Talk to these kids and parents. Educate them on child sex abuse! 80% of case involve someone know to this children such as family member or trusted friend. Teach them to resist and report! Empower our children to be victimproof and strong.
Bad guys and boogeymen don’t just exist in dark alleys and as red dots around our schools. They are more likely to be walking through your kitchen door.
Because having to walk or drive an extra 700 feet is going to deter a predator — even assuming that kids are more vulnerable at school than other places, which is a really, really bad assumption.
What can we (readers of free range kids who do not necessarily live in Rhode island) do to change this?
Were the school communities in a panic or was this “former administrator” feeling the panic?
If an affected “offender” own his own home, this becomes an unlawful taking under the 4th Amendment, because he is being deprived of the use of his property without just compensation. Hopefully some sharp civil liberties lawyer will pursue that.
ah, let’s look forward to the day when those who commit economic crimes are kept 1000 feet (300m) away from the nearest money
If children don’t benefit and communities don’t benefit, and these laws make no sense, who could possibly benefit from needlessly destroying the lives of a list of people which the majority of society has deemed fit for abuse?
R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers
Correction officers…as in the guys who run the prisons…not law enforcement.
lets assume everyone in the country suddenly became a law abiding citizen overnight, prisons would be shuttered, and many of these men would be out of a job…I would not be surprised if this “Brotherhood” is actually a front for a for-profit corporation, as most states are privatizing corrections facilities. These facilities, and therefore a profit margin, are dependent on a steady production of “bad people”…
So they drum up panic, or exaggerate existing panic, get a law passed to turn otherwise law abiding past offenders into violators of the law which, in turn, forces law enforcement to enforce said law which they know is senseless and cruel.
In a capitalist society, we have turned to commodifying people to turn a profit. and we do it “For the sake of the Children”
700 feet is going to make no difference in safety whatsoever. This will just have a negative impact on the offenders who now have 30 days to either sell their homes & purchase a new one (yeah, right) or come up with first & last months rent on a new place. Absolutely ridiculous. This isn’t going to “help” anyone.
Reziac, yes, let us hope that. The original article did say that the question was reluctantly answered yes when it came up about owning a home, BUT only if the registrant’s name was explicitly on the deed. If the property is in the wife’s name or a family home still in the name of a parent…tough. And when asked about a lease, the answer was, “Break it.”
And Mr. Schueler, you made me laugh. Thank you.
You know, it really surprises me that it was a Democrat who pushed this through. I, personally, tend to be conservative who votes Republican most of the time but I’ll admit that it’s usually the Republicans who are on the witch hunt for sex offenders and it’s usually the Democrats who are level headed about it. That is why it surprised me that it was a Democrat who drove this amendment through the General Assembly. Unfortunately, Mr. Almeida and Ms. Ajello, whatever party they represent, probably committed political suicide by voting nay on this bill even though it was the right thing to do.
Again, more American over reaction in attempting to combat a problem concerning the safety of children that does not exist. I feel for those “sex offenders” who committed their “crime” when they were kids themselves and for those whose offense did not remotely involve children.
“ah, letâ€™s look forward to the day when those who commit economic crimes are kept 1000 feet (300m) away from the nearest money”
I’m waiting for political office-holders who commit crimes to be kept 1000 feet away from the nearest registered voter.
Question… what about sex offenders (who have committed any offense, not just ones against children) who have children of their own? What are the laws regarding being allowed to attend school functions, sporting events, class plays, etc.? Are they barred from spending time with their own kids because of these laws? I don’t think they should be banned, but I hadn’t thought about it until today. Curious as to how far-reaching these laws are.
I’m waiting for the Violent Offender registry.
This isn’t a law about actual safety. It’s a straw man designed to just force them from the community entirely, in the same manner that sodomy laws are ostensibly anti-gay legislation. Saves all those pesky charter/human rights challenges.
“Iâ€™d like to see how this isnâ€™t a violation of the Constitution, both the ban on ex post facto laws”
SCOTUS has ruled that it doesn’t violate the ban on ex post facto laws because sex offender registries are not criminal in nature. Their goal is to regulate, not to punish. Ex posto facto only relates to criminal laws.
“and the 5th amendment ‘takings’.”
I don’t know if SCOTUS has ever ruled on this. My state Supreme Court has and it did find changes in the sex offender registry laws like this constitute a taking. As a result, sex offenders with a property interest in the property cannot be required to move. However, it only applies to changes in the law after pleading guilty such as this or situations where the prohibited entity comes to you (a daycare moves in next door). And, in the case of a leasehold, only extends until the end of the lease so you are required to move at the end of the lease.
If they succeed at moving sex offenders away from schools, what next?
Restrict them from Restaurants?
Kids have to eat.
Kids need clothing.
(Like that will ever happen!)
R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers = Correction Officer’s Union
How many of these people are going to violate this law because they have no where to go or can’t sell their homes soon enough?
How many of these people are going to end up back in jail because of this?
Who has a vested interest in keeping the prison population high?
The R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers and their Democrat lap dogs.
“SCOTUS has ruled that it doesnâ€™t violate the ban on ex post facto laws because sex offender registries are not criminal in nature. Their goal is to regulate, not to punish.”
This logic seems tenuous, and not applicable if people can be arrested for violating it. I think the precedent would be narrowed considerably if the subject came up again. (originally, a registry provided no requirement other than registration… telling law enforcement where the offender intends to live… which is typically required of parolees. But new restrictions keep getting piled on top.
When a convicted sex-offender is near a child, that child is affected by evil perversion radiation, which radiates from the sex-offender in a one-thousand foot radius. So if a sex-offender is 300 feet from a school, all the children there suffer from 700 feet of evil sex rays. This means that a couple sex-offenders can blanket an entire school and turn a thousand children into sex-ray victims. This is true even if the sex-offender was convicted for a crime against adults or is guilty of statutory rape!
I thought everyone knew this!
Anna and Lollipop, you are talking about proximity restrictions—and bite your tongues! Some places have those, and they make life even worse, if possible, than residency restrictions, because they generally end up meaning, “If you are on the registry, you may not be XXX feet within, loiter near, or walk through a school, playground, park, daycare”–and many add, “..or any other place that children tend to gather.” This could be the mall, movie theater, a restaurant. I was told of a situation where a person was not allowed to drive through a McDonald’s drive-through window if the McDonald’s had a playroom attached. Some towns, feeling there were too any registrants in an area, found a strip of unused land, bought it and threw a slide on it and called it a “pocket park.” Some registrants with children in school are prohibited from even picking them up from school. Schools put in alert systems that go off if the visitor presents ID linked to the registry. A grandfather was arrested within this past week for going to have lunch with his grandson on grandparents’ day. Most people really do not know what all is involved in this issue, and the most horrible thing of all is that there is not an iota of research that supports any of it as effective.
“McNamara said he sees his legislation as an effective deterrent against sex crimes. As for the offenders, he said, “Maybe some should think twice before they destroy a child’s life.”
Then McNamara is either blind or stupid, since the overwhelming majority of experts claim it’s not effective at all and might end up being counterproductive, but I’m sure McNamara knows better than all of these experts together, right?
On top of that McNamara should think twice before he destroys a man’s life, even if that man committed a crime in the past. There is a reason modern countries try to *redeem* criminals, with punishment being a secondary concern.
This doesn’t even take into account that such a law is very likely to be unconstitutional in the first place.
But that’s sadly nothing new: the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I’m sure he will find *a lot* of company on his way there.
“Who has a vested interest in keeping the prison population high?
The R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers and their Democrat lap dogs.”
I think that’s an oversimplification. The more prisoners there are, the harder the corrections officers have to work. This is like arguing that schoolteachers would be in favor of more children being in school.
“Questionâ€¦ what about sex offenders (who have committed any offense, not just ones against children) who have children of their own? What are the laws regarding being allowed to attend school functions, sporting events, class plays, etc.? Are they barred from spending time with their own kids because of these laws?”
The answer to these questions would vary from state to state.
Sex offender registration laws usually do not mandate that sex offenders have no contact with children in general so there would be no law prohibiting contact with your own children or the children of your friends or family members. However, conditions of probation may so a sex offender could be prevented from having contact with children, even their own, during the term of his/her probation.
My state’s sex offender registry laws only dictate residing, working, volunteering or loitering near schools, etc. As a result, you can legally go to an event at a school or a park pertaining to your own child or some other child who has invited you. However, again, conditions of probation may preclude you from doing this during the time that you are on probation.
“â€œWho has a vested interest in keeping the prison population high?
The R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers and their Democrat lap dogs.â€
I think thatâ€™s an oversimplification. The more prisoners there are, the harder the corrections officers have to work. This is like arguing that schoolteachers would be in favor of more children being in school.”
James Pollock…we do not look to the workload of the prison guard, but the profit margin of Corrections Corp of America… Please scroll up to my previous comment for a breakdown.
@James Pollock: “I think thatâ€™s an oversimplification. The more prisoners there are, the harder the corrections officers have to work. This is like arguing that schoolteachers would be in favor of more children being in school.”
If their income would depends on the number of children alone I can easily picture schools starting to pack as much students as possible to maximise profits, and to hell with their actual education.
Almost all union contracts for corrections officers have a maximum number of prisoners per corrections officer. More prisoners means more corrections officers. More corrections officers means more dues paying members of the R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers.
“SCOTUS has ruled that it doesnâ€™t violate the ban on ex post facto laws because sex offender registries are not criminal in nature.”
SCOTUS has also ruled that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.
“This logic seems tenuous, and not applicable if people can be arrested for violating it.”
What does the ability to arrest for violating the law have to do with anything? I can be arrested for driving without a license, but that doesn’t make the laws regarding licensing criminal laws.
“I think the precedent would be narrowed considerably if the subject came up again.”
I always wonder why people say this. SCOTUS has full control over what it does and doesn’t do. The ruling by SCOTUS is fairly old. SCOTUS has never chosen to take another case addressing it. With 747,408 or so sex offenders nationwide affected by this, you have to assume that at least some of them have tried to get SCOTUS to reevaluate its position.
“I think thatâ€™s an oversimplification. The more prisoners there are, the harder the corrections officers have to work. This is like arguing that schoolteachers would be in favor of more children being in school.”
Well you think wrong.
Ratios have to be maintained. CO’s to convicts just like teachers to students. More of one requires more of the other, providing more jobs, and more job security.
Nice try though.
” I can be arrested for driving without a license, but that doesnâ€™t make the laws regarding licensing criminal laws.”
“The offense described in this section, failure to carry a license or to present a license to a police officer, is a Class C misdemeanor.”
“SCOTUS has full control over what it does and doesnâ€™t do. The ruling by SCOTUS is fairly old. SCOTUS has never chosen to take another case addressing it. With 747,408 or so sex offenders nationwide affected by this, you have to assume that at least some of them have tried to get SCOTUS to reevaluate its position”
How many decades was it between Plessy and Brown? Were there more than or fewer than 747,408 (or so) black people affected by Plessy, and did none of them try to get SCOTUS to re-evaluate its position before Mr. Brown did?
“A person was not allowed to drive through a McDonaldâ€™s drive-through window if the McDonaldâ€™s had a playroom attached.”
Because a sex offender is going to pull up to the drive-thru window and order a #2 Value meal with a Diet Coke and that cute toddler in the Frozen dress climbing the Hamburglar.
Pardon my French, but that is bat shit crazy. I was just joking about the other restrictions and how close minded we are being thinking we can control every bad influence to be around our kids.
Most of the bad influences LIVE with the kids.
Put the money for the sex offender registry into domestic violence outreach and assistance where it will actually benefit young abuse victims.
Thank you for calling this out, Lenore.
Wouldn’t it be great if lawmakers could take a giant step backwards from their strategies to evaluate critically whether the strategies are bringing more, or less of what they purport to want the citizens to experience in their lives?
Are these residency requirements bringing more safety? More stability? More peace? More well-being?
No. The laws are decimating these things. Can the lawmakers not see how tragically flawed their strategies are?
Repealing the laws is a great idea, but I can see a huge backlash from the overbearing, helicopter parent types who are going to raise holy hell if the laws aren’t strengthened because they will react with fear rather than logic and reason based on research.
No, they can’t see that the laws make things worse.
I’m reading an interesting chapter in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “David and Goliath” about punishment, and this is like a textbook example of the authorities not understanding the issue. Increasing punishment at this point only makes problems worse.
But, since there isn’t any profit (read: votes) to understand the issue, it’s much easier to go back to one’s constituents and say “Look, I’m protecting you.” Politicians have too much at stake to allow the alternative.
This all seems aimed at supporting the notion that all child molesters are stranger-abductors who swoop up children on a whim and do horrible things to them. Therefore, if we force all child molesters–and anybody who happens to end up on the same registry as child molesters because obviously they must be stranger-abductors too–to disappear, the danger will disappear too!
Because the much, much higher rate at which child molesters turn out to be well known, even related, to the victims does not bear thinking of.
You know, I have no idea where the sex offenders are in my town. Maybe that makes me an idiot. Of course, I have no idea what anyone does behind closed doors. I have no idea if any of my neighbors have priors for any crime for anything and they don’t know if I do.(I don’t) But this all seems a bit much. A man that was 25 that hooked up with a 16 year old with a fake ID is considered a sex offender when does it stop? What are they doing to stop the mothers and fathers and grandparents that kill their own children because I read a lot more of that than some stranger absconding with some kids from the school playground.
They find something that scares most people, then they amplify it till there is a frenzied panic of people who are begging them to take away their constitutional rights to protect the people. MADD did it with drunk driving laws and now accidents on the road are murder and they can force you to take a pill that can destroy your liver. Double jeopardy, Ex post facto, and Due process means nothing anymore in this country it is not a mistake it is a plan fools. Cops can set up sobriety check points and break the constitution that they swore to uphold in half over their knee. We got hit by terrorists now or rights to privacy are gone and our right to be searched anytime for any reason at a airport is now carved in stone. When children die politicians cry but i think they are tears of joy. Why would I say such a think let see. The sex offender laws were created to protect the children because the politicians care so much for the children as long as they are born anyway. I guarantee you that that unborn child, or fetus would have full rights if a perverted old man like to look at the nude images in the womb. Call it sonogram porn there would instantly be a head hunt and a swift destruction brought down upon this man with prejudice but the mother can kill the child if she doesn’t want stretch marks. Double standards based on sex in this country are blatant and obvious if you actually look and observe. The female school teacher with the teenage boy look how pretty she is wow lucky kid and a glamour shot for her in the newspaper to go with her slap on the wrist. Oh but wait oops looks like she will be punished after all because she has to go on the list. Nobody escapes the list not even children. The pendulum does swing and as soon as there are enough women and children destroyed by the list it will matter enough to change it, we men however are disposable second class citizens now days. It happened over night and most don’t even realize it yet. A woman’s word is evidence in the court room any female can destroy any male with a single lie now. This is why lady justice must have a blind fold on. We need a complete reform of our justice system or go back to the way it was created. “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. This is what the USA legal system was designed to be. It has been destroyed just like our economy and our morals. We are a country in decline a very steep one on a very slippery slope. Next time you hear someone say it protects the children don’t just take their word for it lies are strategy now days not a moral wrong. Presidents lie all the time your kids will too role models create the future. Ahhhh didn’t that feel good my venting for the day.
I wish our laws and our American society in general would invoke much more common sense when it comes to sex offender laws and registries. If I had 2 young sons, for example, ages 8 and 9 and if there was a convicted sex offender who lived down the street, I’m sure everybody would be telling me to not allow my sons near that house as the guy who lives there is a convicted sex offender and a danger to children, yada, yada, yada. BUT my question would be, what was the guy’s offense? If he was convicted for having sex with his 15-year-old step daughter, why would I worry about him near my 8- and 9-year-old sons? I mean, there is a major difference in physiology between a 9-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl and if a person is interested in one he’s probably gonna care less about the other. At least that is what I’ve observed about people in my 60 years on earth.
But now if his offense was literally snatching young boys off the street and carrying them into his house to have sex with, that would be another matter. But very rarely are you going to find a sex offender out of jail with that extreme of an offense. Also, if his offense was flashing adult women or peeing in public, why would my kids be in danger when around this person? In fact I believe that very few sex offenders who live outside of jail/prison are an actual danger to children so I’d need to know more about that particular sex offender in order to judge whether or not he’d pose a danger to my kids. Unfortunately, American law puts ALL of them in the same category.
Donna, you are correct in that the law that requires registration does not dictate any other restrictions, but this situation goes beyond parole and probation. The men who are being forced from their homes are not on parole or probation. They have completed their sentences. Most individual jurisdictions have the freedom to vote in their own laws and restrictions. A few states have built in safeguards stating that a county or city may not vote in a law that exceeds the corresponding state law, but most do not have those safeguards. That is why the restrictions on registrants vary so widely from area to area. There has been successful litigation in several states involving registrants who had completed their sentences but were still subject to restrictions that kept them from many normal activities. That is what is needed here. If you want to read about situations about as bad as they can get, do a search on Florida sex offender restrictions, specifically residency restrictions. Look up Miracle Village, the Julia Tuttle Causeway, and Bookville.
And Lollipop, yes, church. Many, many churches have strict rules about registrants attending. I know people who were expelled from the churches they had gone to for years after they were required to register. You can do a search on that situation, and you will be amazed at what you find.
One of the key jobs of leaders is guiding their constituents through panic to reason. It is not leadership to let the crowd drag you along into their fears.
>I think thatâ€™s an oversimplification. The more prisoners there are, the harder the corrections officers have to work. >This is like arguing that schoolteachers would be in favor of more children being in school.
Since it’s the Brotherhood of Correction Workers, not individuals, it would be more akin to arguing that teacher’s unions would be in favor of more children being in school – which they are. They tend to favor restrictions on homeschooling and to oppose vouchers and charter schools.
I do get your point and know that I should look at this logically, but I am having a hard time feeling sorry for people who do these things to children. While I get that some people only rape adults and not children and therefore might be an exception to the rule, I am still having a hard time with the sympathetic feelings.
And I guess I am wondering what happens if you are nice instead to these home owning sex offenders? I know some people are capable of change, but how does a person become okay with a convicted child rapist being accepted back into the community just because “they paid for their crimes”?
â€œSCOTUS has ruled that it doesnâ€™t violate the ban on ex post facto laws because sex offender registries are not criminal in nature.â€
This reminds me of when I got in trouble in the Navy for being late one too many times while in school. I got EMI, which stands for extra military instruction, and which they constantly emphasized was not a punishment. I had to get up an hour earlier every day for two weeks and write ten essays, but no, not a punishment. And if I violated the terms I could get written up and/or sent to captain’s mast. This sounds like a very similar “not a punishment” scenario. They can rationalize it all they want, but it still feels like it.
â€œThe offense described in this section, failure to carry a license or to present a license to a police officer, is a Class C misdemeanor.â€
Yes? That is exactly my point. You are allowed to make it a criminal act to violate a regulatory law. There are a large number of such laws. Sex offender is no different. Personally, I don’t believe that it is a regulatory law, but the fact that you can be arrested for violating it is pretty irrelevant to that determination.
“How many decades was it between Plessy and Brown?”
I didn’t say that SCOTUS couldn’t one day knock down the sex offender restrictions, but I am certainly not going to say that it is something that is definitely going to happen one day. I see absolutely no current indication on the part of SCOTUS that they are interested in dismantling the sex offender laws and I can’t say that they ever will be. In fact, they seem pretty dedicated to allowing the restrictions to exist while they remain silent on the issue.
Shelly Stow, I am well aware what sex offender laws require. I didn’t say that I agreed with them or I supported them (I don’t). I didn’t say that I believe them to regulatory and not criminal (I don’t). I simply said that the US Supreme Court has said that they are regulatory and not criminal and currently appear to lack any interest in changing that decision. If they had an interest in doing so, they would take a case and do it. I assure you that they have had the opportunity.
@Donna: “I simply said that the US Supreme Court has said that they are regulatory and not criminal and currently appear to lack any interest in changing that decision.”
The problem is not the law being civil regulation, it’s that even a civil regulation cannot be punitive unless its punitive effects are justified and overridden by a reason of health or safety. That was the assumption back then in 2005 when the law was discussed in court the first time and found to be legal, but now it’s perfectly clear that the assumption was false and that the law actually *decreases* health and safety, as the many experts reported. This effect was already recognized in a study from 2006.
Donna, I seem to have offended you in some way, and I apologize. I am a little mystified because I didn’t address any of the issues you raise in your last post. I was only responding to what you were saying about restrictions. You appeared to me to be saying that restrictions such as residency, proximity, distance from children, etc. could only be levied when one was on probation, and I replied that in some states and some jurisdictions, those types of restriction are applied to everyone on the registry, or to a portion of the registry, even when the affected persons are not on probation. If I misunderstood your meaning and you were not saying what I inferred, again, I apologize.
Didn’t something recently come out that indicated that the so-called “study” the Supreme Court used to base its recidivism data on in a case like this was erroneous? Was the opinion of a writer for a pop culture magazine erroneously quoted by a Supreme Court Justice? Where is that reference when I NEED IT…MORE LATER!
“Yes? That is exactly my point. You are allowed to make it a criminal act to violate a regulatory law.”
So at the same time it both is and is not criminal law? OK.
“I didnâ€™t say that SCOTUS couldnâ€™t one day knock down the sex offender restrictions, but I am certainly not going to say that it is something that is definitely going to happen one day.”
No, you said
“I always wonder why people say (‘I think the precedent would be narrowed considerably if the subject came up again.)”
The fact that you don’t see 4 justices who want to tackle the question right frickin’ now doesn’t mean that you couldn’t get 5 of them to vote for narrowing the precedent. Then there’s the question of whether or not a circuit (probably the 9th, because it handles the most cases) might not distinguish precedent (registries are OK, because they’re not punitive) and an appropriate instant case (but THIS registry is clearly punitive in nature, and therefore unconstitutional as applied to persons who have already completed their sentences).
I see the public starting to turn against the prison-industrial complex. My corner of the country has already decriminalized marijuana for recreational use (some exclusions apply) and an issue currently occupying legislators is “ban the box”… prohibiting employers from asking about convictions on their job application forms (on the wacky theory that if ex-cons can’t find work, they’ll have no choice but to return to criminal acts, and there’s a public interest in preventing that.)
I imagine things could look different in a different corner of the country.
SEE NY TIMES THE POINTLESS BANISHMENT OF SEX OFFENDERS. SUMS IT UP.
I do get your point and know that I should look at this logically, but I am having a hard time feeling sorry for people who do these things to children. While I get that some people only rape adults and not children and therefore might be an exception to the rule, I am still having a hard time with the sympathetic feelings.
And I guess I am wondering what happens if you are nice instead to these home owning sex offenders? I know some people are capable of change, but how does a person become okay with a convicted child rapist being accepted back into the community just because â€œthey paid for their crimesâ€?
You don’t have to feel sorry for sex offenders to recognize that the law treats them unfairly. Nor are you required to have them over for dinner and an evening of Netflix.
We accept other criminals back into the community after they’ve done their time and we do that without blinking an eye. Do you know if your neighbors have been convicted of a felony? I don’t. I assume they haven’t but, no, I don’t know for sure. Do you know if your neighbor molests his niece or her son’s friends? I don’t. Do you know if your neighbor fantasizes about toddlers? I don’t.
We live with imperfect people. Sex offenders are imperfect people, too. One difference, though, is that registered sex offenders are much MUCH less likely to re-offend than other convicts. The overall reoffense rate for felons is 65%. The reoffense rate for sex offenders is around 5%.
Pentamom said: “Because having to walk or drive an extra 700 feet is going to deter a predator â€” even assuming that kids are more vulnerable at school than other places, which is a really, really bad assumption.”
But reality is, most of the kids are getting into their parent’s (mom’s) car, and are being driven past the offender’s house anyhow. Like the offender can somehow get through those tinted windows of the car being driven at the school zone speed of 20 mph.
My friend’s father is a level III offender. He used to be an optometrist, and liked to pat the rear ends of the ladies he saw. He did the wrong lady and she took him to court, he ended up misplaced on the registry as level III because he was about to retire, and therefore, so many years older than her that she must have somehow qualified as a juvenile in age compared to him. (She was about 35.) But…he never went after kids, his interest was in adult women. He “could” have gone after kids had he wanted as his wife ran a preschool in the same building as his business. But…the rumor was (when I worked there for a while) that he liked the teachers better than the kids. He certainly qualifies as one of those older individuals who is retired and owns his own house. And never did have an interest (sexually) in kids. Though he was one of those grandfatherly guys who liked to be around kids. I am so sad that his stupid need to goose women wound up like this, as it also effects his wife being able to see her grandchildren.
Could it be that corrections officers are afraid the experience of incarceration itself has made some so-called “sex offenders” more dangerous than they were before? I’m reminded of the dad in California who was convicted and imprisoned simply because he encouraged his son and a neighbor’s daughter to enjoy sex play with each other. His son not only lost his father while growing up, the man is now confined indefinitely in the state’s infamous Coalinga concentration camp for “sex offenders” – probably because he rightly denies that what he did be called a “sex offense.” If he wasn’t a dangerous monster before, the state’s handling of this case may have made him a monster now.
It is baffling that the Rhode Island legislators ignored the recent data and studies regarding recidivism. As recently as August, a case study by Ira Ellman titled “Frightening and High” was widely circulated, and it has recently been published. David Post wrote an opinion piece that was printed in the WASHINGTON POST. See “More fuel for the movement to reform sex offender laws”. That article links to Ellman’s, if you are interested.
Post, in the POST, describes the cognitive bias that leads even such worthy legal thinkers as Supreme Court Justices to believe that an unconfirmed statement published in Psychology Today is a valid and reliable basis on which to condemn thousands of so-called sex offenders and their families to years–decades–of misery.
Laws which also deprive them of jobs, which also keeps them off the tax rolls. Which puts them on the dole. And has a worsening impact on the economy.Think millions of dollars wasted every year to perpetuate a myth.
But once the Supreme Court makes a decision, Pandora’s box is open and that is that. It is the law of the land. And no matter how erroneous the standard, we, the people are stuck with it.
So Rhode Island ignores the truth, and passes draconian residence restrictions based on bias.
Well, “wrong is wrong if everyone is wrong”. And truth is truth even if only Ellman and Post and and Lenore are willing to stand up for it.
Heather, you’re missing a huge segment of the point. Not all sex offenders did anything to children. Not all sex offenders are even interested in children. They may have had consensual sex with their couple-years-younger girlfriend. They may have urinated against a wall at 2am in public. They may have had sex on a beach. They may have goosed a woman, like the example above. You really think all these people should be kicked out of their homes when they are not and never have been sexually interested in children???
This was passed for one reason, and one reason only: reelection optics. Voting against ANY law that seems to make it easier for a sex offender is political suicide. Voting FOR any such law is viewed positively by most voters. No one ever lost election because they were too tough on sex offenders.
Probably another example of someone within an organization, in this case R.I. Brotherhood of Correction Officers, trying to move up the career ladder and using the fear factor to push draconian laws that have no basis in fact, doing nobody any good except the person who pushed the law. Prosecutors use it to punish people by getting plea bargains and sending innocent people to jail. Another good example is the likes of California State Senator Richard Pan who pushed SB277 to eliminate the rights of parents to opt out of vaccines. He’ll get a lucrative job in the Pharmaceutical industry when he leaves office. Fear is the common denominator in all these cases. If we can get people to stop being manipulated by fear – alas, it appears to be a human genetic predisposition.
Mike hit the nail on the head. ELECTION TIME!!!!!
Hard on crime = votes.
Soft on crime = career death.
Even more so with sex offenders, and anything to do with kids.
I would just like to see the reporters at press conferences call them out on it.
@AmyO: “[should] Drunk drivers live away from bars?”
I’d prefer them to live right next to one and walk…
@Shelly Stow re proximity restrictions: I once saw a documentary on this subject. One of the sex offenders they interviewed was now like 78 and had gone BLIND – he was terrified to get lost and accidentally walk down a street with a school on it!
@John: “[…] But now if his offense was literally snatching young boys off the street and carrying them into his house to have sex with, that would be another matter.”
Unless those young boys were way younger than your 8 and 9-year-old.
@You know Im right: You’re complaining about drunk driving laws? Sorry, I think 30+ thousand traffic deaths a year are more than enough… Especially considering that the traffic death rate in the USA is closer to that of Uzbekistan than it is to Australia.
If child molesters (and public urinators) are so goddamned dangerous, let the hysterics make a case for executing them.
Only a third of the 30,000 traffic deaths you cite are recorded as involving intoxication. The drive by MADD to lower the legal blood alcohol level even further has alienated the organization’s founder. Police DUI checkpoints are used widely as pretextual stops for all kind sod purposes other than preventing drunk driving, like the asset forfeiture scam, and there is some statistical evidence that use of such checkpoints in a state is associated in a mild RISE in drunk driving accidents.
The Drunk Driving laws, which punish people without having to prove they were driving dangerously, much less actually injuring anyone or damaging property, are all about emotion, not safety. With video cameras so cheap these days it should be possible, even easy, for police to arrest atone they see driving dangerously, and present evidence to a court a damn sight better founded that the readings of a device that the Law has decided cannot be challenged in court (the ‘breathalyzer’).
C.S.P. Schofield, what you wrote about drunk driving laws is heretical…but I fully agree.
MADD won’t stop and be happy until prohibition has been brought back.
Because of the ever tightening laws on alcohol and driving things have changed in many areas. Mostly people not having one or two drinks out of fear. After playing a game of hockey or slo-pitch we used to have one or two beers .Relaxing and catching up with each other. Now, when the game is over, everyone just heads home. Here there used to be a blood alcohol level for DUI, and a lesser level that was at the officer’s discretion. At the lower level the officer could deem you fine to continue on, or take your license for 24 hrs without charges or it appearing on your record. Not anymore. That lower level is now an automatic 72 hr suspension, on your record. Mind you it is being fought. A lawyer apparently received this suspension and is taking it to court. From what I understand he is saying that since it appears on his record, that it is in essence a conviction, without legal representation, and appearance in court. Hope he wins.
This is beaurocracy gone awry. Everyone suffers here.
Sorry guys, I’m not familiar with MADD or how it’s used or abused. It sounded like a reasonable attempt to lower the amount of traffic deaths, so I thought it crazy to complain about that since that amount is so high.
A third of 30.000 people is still 10.000 people. Every year!
MADD is a lot like any other special interest group. They started out with great intentions, but once they started having an ear, with the elected officials, they wanted more. They are now on the fringe of being fanatical.
They have advertising campaigns that are nothing more than fear tactics. They endorse road side checkpoints. They even lobbied our gov’t and now the police are doing road side checkpoints in the morning on our way to work. The only positive about our checkpoints are they haven’t become like the ones in a lot of states. The police here are not using them for any other purpose, just intoxication. For now. And luckily we have some great cops in the area. They do not like doing these checks, and will for the most part only stop those drivers they don’t know. If they know you, and trust you, you just get waved through.
MADD will not be satisfied until blood alcohol levels become a zero tolerance law. I have heard rumors they want the law to be that even a designated driver cannot have an impaired person in the front seat, as it is a distraction.
@Warren: Alcohol checks in the *morning*?? Re the zero tolerance: do you mean they want drivers to be 100% sober? No alcohol at all?
Here the police do indeed occasionally check all (?) drivers’ alcohol blood level (I really want to blow through one of those devices one time, just curious how that works 🙂 ), especially on Friday/Saturday nights near the city center, just like they occasionally stand on busy cycle routes on weekday mornings in the winter to fine everyone without working lights. (And those cyclists are mostly only a danger to *themselves*.)
The biggest problem I have with alcohol related fines is that the fine for drunk cycling is just as high as the one for drunk driving. That is just dumb. There should be an incentive to not drive…
Yep during the morning commute. Apparently you can go out and indulge in some adult beverages, go home, sleep it off, and still blow over in the morning.
I had a couple of friends, that I had to testify in court for a few years back. We had gone out for a night on the town, and heavily indulged. My lovely bride was nice enough to drop me off, and pick me up. We offered my buddies a ride back to their place, and they said no they planned to walk home. Less than a mile.
Next morning they called and told me they both were given a ride home by the cops, and tickets for public intoxication. They fought the tickets, and when the judge heard the walking home instead of driving had been their plan all along, the tickets were tossed, and the cop was lectured by the judge.
Ontario booze laws are some of the strictest and insane around. And with MADD it is only getting worse.
@Warren, well, yes, you can still be intoxicated the next morning, but what moron………
“they planned to walk home. Less than a mile.
Next morning they called and told me they both were given a ride home by the cops, and tickets for public intoxication.”
Yup, that’s dumb.
Coincidentally I just read that the police here “literally never” ticket drunk cyclists, so at least there is some good sense, just not in the letter of the law. (Besides, how would all those students and 12th-graders ever get home if they’re not allowed to cycle while drunk?? That they cycle twice the distance isn’t really the cops’ problem 😀 )
I think that if someone did abuse a kid they should be fully prepared for the rest of their life to be as miserable as society can make it. In less “civilized ” societies they would be buried in a shallow grave by the father and not have to deal with the inconvenience of their neighbors wanting them nowhere near their kids. It’s another story that the list is far too encompassing to the point of being meaningless.
But if the argument being made is that all this offender did was abuse another human being or a child and we should not be mean to him or her because they’ve served their time, then this is where most people i know would disagree.
Then go live in one of those countries, and take the others with you. You are talking about revenge not justice, not law and order.
I will live wherever I damn well please so sod off.
I would love to see how you act if someone diddles your kid, mr law and order. You , by the way, wouldn’t last a week where I come from.
@Alexander, how freaking hard is it to understand that not everyone on the sex offender registry assaulted children?
@Alexander “I would love to see how you act if someone diddles your kid, mr law and order. ”
Most people would act emotionally and seek revenge as strongly as they could. Which is a good reason to NOT leave justice and law enforcement on victims and victims families. Their emotional state makes them very bad pick for deciding what should be reasonable policy or appropriate punishment.
Yes, compassion, emotions are important. Which is why I might be inclined to give victims access to mental health services. However, law enforcement job is not to satisfy immediate emotional needs and appeals on emotions like this tend to leave us with ineffective and expensive policies. “Because it makes me feel good” is not a good base for policy or punishments decisions.
Not talking about that. I already said the list was useless. I am talking about offending pedophiles , if you’d bother to read before commenting