Learning From History Part 2

“Stocks, Pillory, Pranger are devices used in the medieval times as a form of physical punishment involving public humiliation. The stocks partially immobilized its victims and they were often exposed in a public place such as the site of a market to the scorn of those who passed by. Since the purpose was to punish offenders against the standards of conduct of the time, anybody could assault, revile or throw filth at the victim.”

Today in America we have a similar device; it is called the Sex Offender Registry. The SOR is a widely debated form of punishment. Even the fact that it is punishment is debated by many. On the other hand politicians often use the term punish when speaking about the registry.

Is the Adam Walsh Act worth the Cost?

This is a big question, one that is being weighed across the country. States have a limited time to come into compliance with the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act and some are saying NO. Why?

Some states have no problem implementing the law at face value. After all protecting children is very important. Other states however have taken a hard look at the wording and intent of the law and weighed it against the cost and effectiveness.

Are Sexual Offense Laws Too Harsh? And Do They Work?

New Book by UB’s Ewing looks at the laws’ legal effectiveness

http://www.amazon.com/Justice-Perverted-Offense-Psychology-Public/dp/0199732671/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299126805&sr=1-1

Release Date: March 2, 2011

http://www.buffalo.edu/news/12329

BUFFALO, N.Y. — University at Buffalo Law School Professor Charles Patrick Ewing has added to his series of critically acclaimed books on some of the most unsavory but attention-grabbing aspects of the law, this time with a book questioning the legal logic and effectiveness of the country’s increasingly harsh sex offense laws.

In “Justice Perverted,” Ewing examines what he calls “radically reshaped” laws dealing with the country’s sex offenders. These laws include ordering sex offenders to register with authorities, punishment for people possessing child pornography that “dwarfs” sentences for more violent crimes, including murder, and a federal law that requires a minimum 10-year prison sentence for those using the Internet to lure minors for sex.

All these dramatic changes in sex offender laws have come about at least partly from input from the fields of psychology, psychiatry and the social sciences, according to Ewing, whose extensive writing credits include several books on forensic psychology, which is the application of psychological principles and methods to legal issues, and how they play out in the courtroom. And Ewing’s research and experience in many trials — both nationally notorious as well as obscure — conclude that enforcement and administration of many of these significantly more restrictive sex offense laws rely heavily the opinions of mental-health professionals.

Working from that conclusion, Ewing takes on an original and intellectually courageous direction of answering questions about and evaluating this established legal environment:

Are these laws supported by empirical evidence, or even by well-reasoned psychological theories? Do these laws actually work? Are mental health professionals capable of reliably determining an offender’s future behavior, and how best to manage it?

“All of these laws are purportedly designed to enhance public safety by reducing the incidence of sexual offending,” says Ewing, whose work in forensic psychology has involved using psychology to understand legal issues such as insanity, competence to stand trial and future danger. “Not only is there no evidence that these laws have had their intended effect, but there is some evidence that some of them may in fact lead to an increased threat to society.

“The economic costs of these laws are staggering and seem indefensible at a time when other valued government programs are being cut to avoid fiscal disaster,” says Ewing. “There can be little doubt that sexual offenses bring great harm to individuals and society or that we should do all that we can reasonably do to prevent them from occurring. The question is what is reasonable. It is neither reasonable nor responsible to spend billions of taxpayers’ dollars on laws with no proven value.”

UK: Sex offenders must have chance to change, says Supreme Court

Sex offenders must have chance to change, says Supreme Court

http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/11926

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday (21 April) that individuals should not be kept on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life without the possibility of review.

The ruling follows a case brought by two sex offenders, one of whom had committed a sex offence when he was only eleven, but was expected to stay on the Register for the rest of his life. The judges did not dispute that some offenders should be kept on the Register for life, but said that it was wrong to expect this to happen with no possibility of review in individual cases.

Until now, any sex offender sentenced to prison for two and a half years or longer has been placed on the Register for life. There are 32,000 registered sex offenders in England and Wales, around half of whom are subject to lifelong monitoring.

“It is obvious that there must be some circumstances in which an appropriate tribunal could reliably conclude that the risk of an individual carrying out a further sexual offence can be discounted to the extent that continuance of notification requirements is unjustified” said the President of the Supreme Court.

One of the offenders who brought the case, who is still a teenager and known as F, was only eleven when he raped another child. His solicitor, Mike Pemberton, said that his client should have a chance to show that he had changed.

“This case is important because it considers the rights of a child to mature and develop,” he said, “At present, any child who commits an offence of this type is labelled for life with no consideration being given to the effect of growing older and learning important lessons from previous mistakes”.

CALL TO ACTION:

Call to Action : OH Legislature Going at it Again

http://constitutionalfights.blogspot.com/2011/02/call-to-action-oh-legislature-going-at.html

Ohio Legislators are going at it again. Just six months after having been soundly defeated in the June 2010 Bodyke vs. Ohio Supreme Court ruling, seven Ohio House Representative s have proposed new legislation to retroactively revise Ohio’s sex offender laws to re-capture all offenders who committed crimes before 2008 onto the rolls of the sex offender registry.

Those concerned about this proposed legislation must contact the seven Representative s immediately to express their opposition to this bill. If we are forced to do so, Constitutional Fights will return to the battlefield to help defeat this latest attempt by the Ohio Legislature to violate the constitutional rights of 30,000 Ohio citizens.

The newly proposed bill, House Bill 77 of the 129th General Assembly would amend and repeal parts of the existing Ohio sex offender statutes to:

“clarify that SORN Law definitions of sexually oriented offenses, child-victim oriented offenses, tier classification s, public registry-qualified juvenile offender registrants, and related terms include the specified offenses regardless of when they were committed and to provide for court reclassificati on of offenders and delinquent children who committed their sexually oriented offense or child-victim oriented offense prior to January 1, 2008, and had SORN Law duties based on that offense into one of the tier classification s of the current SORN Law.

View proposed HB 77.

Bill Sponsors:

REPRESENTATIVE S:
Hackett Garland Blessing Combs Grossman Hottinger Patmon

Email: district84@ohr.state.oh.us

Email: district20@ohr.state.oh.us

Email: district29@ohr.state.oh.us

Email: district54@ohr.state.oh.us

Email: district23@ohr.state.oh.us

Email: district71@ohr.state.oh.us

Email: district10@ohr.state.oh.us

We seek legal professionals who are willing to engage in a lawsuit against the State of Ohio should this legislation be put into law. We also still seek legal professionals who are willing to engage in a lawsuit against the State of Ohio regarding the Bodyke Supreme Court ruling of June 2010 for damages of those 30,000 former offenders who were maintained on the sex offender registry 2-1/2 years after they should legally have been removed.

We must collectively hit these legislators squarely in the “front teeth” this time to assure that we do not experience what we experienced between 2008 and 2010.

Counting the costs (Federal and State Budget Deficit)

As the federal government struggles to deal with a staggering one-trillion-dollar budget deficit, law enforcement, fire departments, school systems and health care brace for the effects of losing funding to support basic programs.

At the State and Federal level, budget cuts are slicing deep into programs that at one time seemed to be absolutely essential. Now with the reality that there is no money to fund these programs it is every-man-for-himself, as it were.

At the top of the list for cuts are drug enforcement and prevention programs. The DARE Program has been completely cut in many municipalities across the country. The War on Drugs costs a staggering $66,500 per minute. As of January 30, 2011 $3.5 billion had been spent in just 30 days. http://www.drugsense.org/cms/wodclock

In Kansas schools would receive $107 million less next year because of $200 million in lost federal stimulus funding. The Olathe School District stands to lose $2.5 million this year and $5.2 million more next year in state funding under Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed state budget and community mental health centers would lose $15 million in state funds. Johnson County Mental Health Center stands to lose more than $1 million.

However, there is one extremely pricey piece of legislation that is not going to be cut, the AWA or Adam Walsh Child Protection Act. “Attorney General Derek Schmidt proposes overhauling the state’s offender registry to bring it into compliance with the sex offender registration and notification provisions of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. “In tight budget times, these are steps we can take to make Kansas safer and to reduce the burden on child victims,”

Texas is another state that has found itself with a huge shortfall in funds.

Just a few of Texas’ budget cuts: “The proposal would cut a total of $16.1 billion in health and human services spending. That’s a 24.6 percent cut. $9.8 billion short fall for schools. The proposed budget doesn’t include funding for increased numbers of students, for projected declines in property values and related local school taxes, or $3.3 billion in the current budget from federal stimulus money. Public education spending would drop a total of $7 billion from current levels. Higher education would be cut $1.7 billion, or 7.6 percent, from current levels. $3.3 billion from the business and economic development section of the budget.”

The Texas Legislative Budget Board, an independent review agency for the state’s legislature, included its legislative biennium-based report this fiscal impact information, suggesting that SORNA would be very costly to implement in Texas

The true cost of the AWA is unknown, but the estimate from the federal government is $150,000,000 and, as previously noted, this price tag does not include the average 8% increase of registered offenders each year.

The ineffectiveness of the registry though is well known. Studies from many states and agencies prove that the registry and the AWA are simply a waste of money; money that would be better spent on education for our kids, on hospitals and fire departments.

Law enforcement has become a greedy tenant, demanding more and more while offering to let other programs take the shortfalls. It’s time to hold law enforcement accountable for its costs. If laws are ineffective it is time to scrap them for more effective measures. And it is certainly not the time to sacrifice our children’s education for feel-good laws that only stroke the ego of inept politicians who cannot or will not read the reports that tax payer’s money pays for; reports that tell us clearly that the AWA and the registry are not worth the heavy price tag.