Zoned in: Finding Housing in Child Exclusion Zones

Zoned in: Finding Housing in Child Exclusion Zones

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.

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Kentucky Overturns their Social Media Ban

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.

Shawna: A Life on the Registry

Shawna: A Life on the Registry

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-registry

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The Dobbs Wire: Colorado Registry Declared Unconstitutional Cruel & Unusual Punishment

The Dobbs Wire: Colorado Registry Declared Unconstitutional Cruel & Unusual Punishment

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.

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It Could Be You Registered for a Sex Crime

It Could Be You Registered for a Sex Crime

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.

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TTYL: SCOTUS Overturns Social Media Ban in Packingham v. NC

TTYL: SCOTUS Overturns Social Media Ban in Packingham v. NC

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.

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One Strike and You're Out: Is Redemption Possible for Luke Heimlich?

One Strike and You're Out: Is Redemption Possible for Luke Heimlich?

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.

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Response to: Say no to restorative justice for sex offenders

Response to: Say no to restorative justice for sex offenders

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.

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Is Queer Sex Legal? How Homophobia Is Fueling Today’s Sex Laws

Is Queer Sex Legal? How Homophobia Is Fueling Today’s Sex Laws

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.

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Reflections on the Annual Prisoner Reentry Conference

Reflections on the Annual Prisoner Reentry Conference

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.

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