Today, SLAP Center delivered a letter to Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Senator Christopher Bateman outlining our opposition to their proposal to allow for community notification of New Jersey’s Tier 1 registrants. New Jersey has three tiers of registrants, with only Tiers 2 and 3 currently available to the public. Tier 1 registrants are assessed as having little to no risk of re-offense and are not included on the publicly accessible registry, as such; the public is not notified of their registration information.Read More
So, who won? Surprisingly, the audience voted for the abolition of registries. Prior to the debate 39% voted in the affirmative, 22% in the negative, and 39% were undecided. 72% of the audience closed ranks around Dr. Horowitz after she razed the hastily constructed fortress of feelings about the registry. 16% sided with Ms. Hamilton and 12% were still undecided.Read More
Yesterday, SLAP Center was honored to speak on It Could Be You, with host John S., about our recently released reentry guide for registrants – Registering with Dignity (RWD). During the hour-long interview, we stressed that registration and incarceration isn’t a period; it doesn’t have to be a full stop and the end of your life. Use RWD as your semi colon and get a new clause on life. Understandably, life will be more difficult, and sometimes feel impossible, but your life is still waiting for you. Whether or not you find the strength to take control of it is up to you.Read More
Anyone who’s been recently released, is already registered, an ally, an advocate, or a family member has heard this phrase uttered and a door promptly shut in their face or a dial tone in their ear. Although, it probably wasn’t registrant they heard, but “sex offender.” Reentry programs frequently cite this when turning registrants away from their services. Politicians slide the phrase into their policies to further their goals. Criminal legal reformers advocate it to push their own agendas. The only time registrants are included is when the conversation shifts to discuss the politics of punishment with the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Roy Moore. Attention spotlights the offense and those causing harm without creating space for repairing harm and restoring lives.Read More
A relatively recent Google Play app, CSZfree, seeks to aid registrants in need of housing but bound by residency restrictions. These laws limiting where people on the registry can lawfully reside have been an increasingly popular measure to punish registrants. Over the past decade a number of states and localities passed legislation banning registrants from living near parks, swimming pools, day cares, schools, and other such places where children frequently congregate. The specified distance from such places varies from 500 to 2,500 feet depending on the jurisdiction.Read More
Yesterday Emily Horowitz joined us for an hour-long conversation on registry hysterics. It couldn't have been a more appropriate time for this dialogue with Halloween right around the corner. It’s a holiday where we celebrate fear, satisfy our macabre craving for horror, and freely exercise our imagination.Read More
Another social media ban for people on the registry has been struck down. On Friday, a federal court judge in Kentucky ruled two parts of its SORN scheme unconstitutional - the social media ban and the requirement to register Internet identifiers. This ruling builds on the Packingham decision from earlier this summer and several other state's rulings on these bans. The Lexington Herald Leader reports:
Kentucky’s registered sex offenders have the constitutional right to use Facebook, Twitter and other online social media, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Ruling in a lawsuit brought by a Lexington child pornography defendant identified only as “John Doe,” U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove struck down Kentucky’s sweeping restrictions on internet access for registered sex offenders.
“This is a very important decision,” said Scott White, a Lexington attorney who represented Doe. “The laws effectively deprived anyone on the sex offender registry of access to the most effective forms of communication that we have today. It was a complete suppression of speech.”
Read more of the story here.
Today, the Fortune Society, an NYC based nonprofit released this helpful primer on language use when discussing incarcerated or formerly incarcerated folk. The important take away in all this new language is people first. We must remember that people with records are not their records.
JJ Prescott, expert on SORN laws from the University of Michigan, discusses Michigan's unique opportunity to reform their registry with Cynthia Canty following SCOTUS' decision to not review the Snyder case. Click here for more information on the court case providing this opportunity.
Start by taking a moment to watch this original commentary from the Marshall Project or read more here: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/09/17/shawna-a-life-on-the-sex-offender-registryRead More
A federal judge declared Colorado’s sex offense registry law unconstitutional! The court ruled the law is *punishment* and went even farther, finding the law is such severe punishment (“cruel and unusual”) that it violates the 8th Amendment. In addition the court found the law fails to deliver constitutionally mandated basic fairness (“due process”) and violates the 14th Amendment.Read More
Your child is more likely to be victimized by the registry, than by someone on the registry. There is a load of truth to her claim, and it points to a much larger issue. These registries are punishment, and the lengths of punishment are only bound by the creativity of policymakers.Read More
While the government must work to protect those under its reach, it also has to consider the rights afforded under the Constitution. North Carolina’s statute was so sweeping, it undercut basic First Amendment principles.Read More
Intersectional feminists, who claim to care about LGBTQ people, people of color, and sex workers, are missing the mark by ignoring how sex offender registries harm LGBTQ people, especially transgender women of color.Read More
Luke observes “the only way forward was to work each day on becoming the best person.” He understands ”many people now see me differently,” but hopes he “can eventually be judged for the person I am today.” It is incredibly senseless that the Oregonian is implicitly calling for more punishment. We should be supporting his rehabilitative efforts, especially if our expectation is for Luke to not harm another person.Read More
Michael Dolce, in an opinion published for the Hill, argues restorative justice is “horribly insufficient for handling sexual abuse but, in many cases, actually serves to leave an offender free to offend again.” Dolce’s argument evokes a “tough on crime” rhetoric, which is not only patently misleading but grossly capitalizes on fear-based responses to sex offenses. Other than perpetuating unfounded conventions, Dolce’s most egregious mistake is his failure to account for the nuances of sex offending.Read More
Gay rights groups have made great strides in repealing anti-sodomy laws on federal and state levels, and these efforts should be commended. And yet–prosecutions for sex crimes are growing faster than any other type of crime, with an exponentially rising rate of arrests and convictions. Gay men are arrested in cruising stings, HIV-positive men sent to prison for merely being sexually active, sex workers and “johns” arrested for victimless crimes, adults busted for sexy online chat with cops posing as minors that don’t exist, consensual teen relationships torn apart, and lives ruined by forced lifetime sex offender registration.Read More
We have to discover ways to improve the structural and institutional challenges in our community. As it is now, we have systematically oppressed entire communities with the end result of mass incarceration. Following incarceration, we often focus on, as Mary Gatta from CUNY asserts, short-term goals with reintegration and lose sight of long-term sustainability. We can, and must, do better.Read More
The public perception of people with a sex offense conviction conjures up a Frankenstein’s monster, a miscellany of advertised fears. This perception is woefully inaccurate and we need a greater understanding of not only what it takes to be labeled a “sex offender,” but also the deleterious effects of the registry.Read More