Thursday, January 30, 2014

Judge Backs Registry of the Registerers; Idea Might Go National

The state has shown us that it really is easy to put just about anyone's picture out there on the internet. So it is heartwarming to learn that a judge has ruled in favor of a former sex offender who posts photos of court employees. It gets a point across.

A District of Columbia Superior Court judge ruled on January 28 that a convicted sex offender can distribute and post photos of court employees online to protest the city’s sex offender registry. Dennis Sobin, a former pornographer who served more than a decade in prison for a sexual performance using a minor, posted the photos of employees from D.C.’s Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) on saying that sex-offender registries are unfair.

A court employee filed for a civil protection order, accused him of stalking and asked the court to have Sobin to remove her photo. But Judge Todd E. Edelman said that Sobin’s actions were protected by the First Amendment.

Click here to see the national registry of registerers. If you know of politicians or public figures in your region who have encouraged the creation of, or have refused to denounce, government registration websites that target citizens for harassment, please send their names to be added to this list. You can email these names to

Full Story.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Small Step in the Right Direction

A limited step in the right direction in the Nebraska Legislature:

State Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln has introduced LB 932, a measure that would eliminate the "have you ever been convicted" question on job applications for public-employer jobs. That means jobs with cities, counties or the state.

Avery says that limiting it to public employers is in response to pushback against such an action from private employers. Private employers are within their rights. But they probably are missing opportunities for some excellent and productive employees.

People who have made serious mistakes and who are working hard to put their lives back together are far more motivated, trustworthy and productive than most folks.

Click here to see the introduced version of LB 932.

Monday, January 27, 2014

He Says 'Kids Come First' and Public Shaming Registry is Wrong

A talk show host who says, "Kids come first," says that public registries for former sex offenders are just wrong. If you like the public shaming website in Nebraska, you should listen to this. An example: A registrant who's done his time, trying to turn his life around and who is arrested for going to church. Don't we want registrants in church? LISTEN and read the comments:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Will Nebraska Engage Real Reasons for Prison Overcrowding?

The prison overcrowding topic is current in Nebraska, where the core issues might or might not be addressed.

Voters should be aware of, and be prepared to question politicians about, the true reasons for prison overcrowding. As suggested in an earlier post, one reason is that there is money to be made from the prison population: Your tax dollars pay for the upkeep of the forced labor, new laws (like Nebraska's LB 285 of 2009) expand the forced labor pool, and salaries and benefits are just not a problem for those who profit from the corrections industry.

Here's an excerpt from a recently published article on this issue:
The “private” prison industry is private in the same sense that crony capitalism is capitalist. Namely, not at all. It is the antithesis of a truly private industry that competes in the free market, does not accept tax funds, and cannot compel labor. By contrast, the “private” prisons enjoy a monopoly over a service that is created by laws and sentencing policies. They receive tax money and preferential treatment. They exploit captive labor through circumstances similar to plantation slavery.
Read the entire article by clicking here.

January 2014 Newsletter Going to Press

The January 2014 issue of Ninety-Five%, the newsletter for friends of Nebraskans Unafraid/FACTS, is going to press and will be in the mail soon.

This issue includes a moving account of community support offered to the wives of former sex offenders. All families who have experienced the pain of Nebraska's state-imposed shunning will be heartened by this straight-from-the-heart account.

A second story in the newsletter looks at how the widespread lie about former sex offender reoffense rates -- which has been codified into Nebraska state law -- needlessly creates homelessness, shatters families and makes our communities more dangerous.

If you wish to support and receive the Ninety-Five% monthly newsletter, you may send a check (we suggest $5 per month) payable to Nebraskans Unafraid to: Nebraskans Unafraid c/o FACTS, P.O. Box 460664, Papillion, Nebraska 68046.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Note You Can Send to Candidates for Sheriff and Other Offices

Following up on our previous post regarding the need for you to be sure to vote, here is a note that one former SO sent to candidates in races that he will help decide:
I am a registered voter.  I am also an ex-offender.
In 1990 I was arrested and charged for a sex-crime.  I was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 10-25 years.  With "good-time" I served 12 1/2 years. 
When I was released, I was advised I would have to register for 10 years as a sex-offender on a registry that didn't even exist when I was convicted.  At that time I was deemed to be only of moderate risk and my whereabouts were only made public to schools and daycare centers, and then only if I moved near to them.  I would have been removed from the registry in January of 2013. 
However, the law was changed.  Suddenly, despite having had no arrests or convictions for anything since my release in January, 2003, a new law went in to effect and was applied to me.  Now, I have to register for the rest of my life, in person, every three months; I'm now on the public registry which makes it very difficult to get a job; and I'm told where I can and cannot live. 
(The law reads) "Nebraska State Statute 29-4002 declares that sex offenders present a high risk to commit repeat offenses and that efforts of law enforcement agencies to protect their communities, conduct investigations, and quickly apprehend sex offenders are impaired by the lack of available information about individuals who have pleaded guilty to or have been found guilty of sex offenses and who live in their jurisdiction. Because of that, the legislature determined that state policy should assist efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect their communities by requiring sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies as provided by the Sex Offender Registration Act."  
The problem with this is the fact that we don't present any higher of a risk to commit repeat offenses than any other felon.  In fact, aside from persons who have committed murder, we present a lower risk to repeat offenses than all other ex-felons.  Therefore, the state is making our lives miserable and difficult based upon a false premise.  The state is squandering millions, the federal government is squandering millions, to track and harass citizens who are among the least likely to cause further problems.
So, if citizens like me are going to vote for you, what are you going to do for or against us if elected?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

If You Got One of Those Postcards From Tim Dunning, Remember to Vote This Year!

Still no response from the Douglas County sheriff regarding the bullying extra-legal postcard he sent to all former SOs (click here for details). (We also have yet to hear from the state attorney general regarding the Douglas County practice of refusing to provide you with documentation of your verification visit).

Many of us have already decided that we're not going to vote for Tim Dunning this year.

Remember that in Nebraska, felons are eligible to vote automatically two years after they have completed their sentences. All former SOs who are eligible to vote need to become active in their local elections, ESPECIALLY THE SHERIFF ELECTIONS. The ballot box is where you express your opinion regarding the way your sheriff has been treating you.

The Douglas County sheriff's term ends this year and he has to be re-elected to keep his job.

Click here for important dates.

Click here for information on your voting rights.

Nebraskans Unafraid will keep you updated on election races and provide you with information on each candidates' beliefs and behavior regarding former SOs. We invite you to use the comments section on this website to share your opinions as well. Remember that under current Nebraska law, our numbers are growing fast and we can make a difference with our votes.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

5 FACTS About Former SOs That Should Help Shape Corrections Fixes

The need to fix Nebraska's broken corrections systems could not be more clear. This report is but the latest piece of information that thoughtful public policy makers should take into account.

Because former sex offenders are part of the equation, these facts borne out by research also need to be considered:

1. Research on Nebraska registrants shows that they are a much lower risk for reoffense than popularly thought. It is not true that Nebraska's LB 285 of 2009 reduced offending. Even so, year-to-year reoffense rates for former sex offenders in Nebraska are at about 1 percent or less.

2. Qualitative research that is still under way is showing that neither corrections nor law enforcement are making a positive difference with former sex offenders in Nebraska.

3. Nebraska's current LB 285 tiering system for registrants IS NOT  based on risk for reoffense. It is based on a system of categorizing an offender's conviction -- a system devised by politicians, some of whom later were themselves discovered to be sexual offenders. This system, put in place by LB 285 of 2009, resulted in some offenders who had been found to be low-risk under the old system being reclassified as tier III  -- lifetime -- registrants under Nebraska's current system. Most states have rejected the type of tiering used in Nebraska because it does not take risk into account.

4. Nebraska's LB 285 of 2009 creates a complicated web of new technical law violations (residency and travel requirements included) that can result in an offender being sent to prison as the result of a clerical error in a sheriff's office. This is a needless "feeder system" that is bloating the Nebraska corrections system with people who are not dangerous.

5. Any talk of privatizing corrections should be avoided. When corrections becomes a for-profit industry, it creates a demand for inmates. If corrections is a for-profit industry, there is no compelling incentive to reduce crime because that would hurt business. The demand has to be fed by the creation of laws like LB 285 of 2009. (Simillarly, ankle bracelets have become widely used not because they are good law enforcement tools. They are used because the ankle-bracelet industry makes a lot of money and very effectively markets the technology to law enforcement).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

OK, Help Us Understand: Who Do These Laws Protect?

Warn your kids that "sexting" can get them convicted and sentenced to years or a lifetime on a public shaming internet list just like the one used by the Nebraska State Patrol.

This case is from Canada -- but it typifies what happens when crazy laws are enacted.

The people who create these laws say they're protecting kids. They have no idea how many kids they are harming, all for the sake of a vote or two. We have come to this sad pass regarding sex-offender laws: When a politician says she or he wants to protect your kids, you better make sure you are protecting your kids from the law.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Former Offender Ordinance Repealed in Face of Lawsuit

El Dorado, California, County Supervisors voted to overturn a sex offender ordinance after a registered sex offender sued to have it repealed.
The 2012 law limited sex offender access to parks and schools, but it’s in process of being repealed after a unanimous vote on Tuesday. FULL STORY

When Law Enforcement Shows Up at Your Door

Regarding those extra-legal visits to your home that some in law enforcement keep trying to justify: This infographic is an excellent guide to your rights and your proper behavior in any interaction with law enforcement. Note especially that you have a right to video- or audiotape law enforcement in performance of public duties, and they may not confiscate your recordings or equipment. This can be a valuable tool.

  Know Your Rights

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Women Against Registry (WAR) Pushing Back

A news release from Women Against Registry (WAR):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Released to Press on 1/6/14)
Contact: Vicki Henry, President
Women Against Registry

2014 Women Against Registry’s Operation Push Back

Vicki Henry, President of  W.A.R. says, “We hear heart-breaking stories from families being destroyed, children beaten, passed over for higher education opportunities, family homes damaged, members asked to leave their church and many other scenarios which began as punishment for a loved one’s sexual offense and progresses to annihilation of the family.”

One family’s story…My son was nineteen at the time of his arrest in 2010. The charge was child pornography. He was in college at the time and had never been in any trouble. We are an upper middle class family. I am a stay at home mom who is very involved in PTA and band boosters, and my husband works at a plant in our town.  That call from our son, notifying us of the situation, opened our eyes to what can get you arrested for a sex crime (

I believe looking is different than touching. Both should be punished, but both also need help. You tell your kids, “Don’t do drugs,” and, “Stay out of trouble!” But who would have thought I should be telling my son, “When you look at pornography, make sure they are over the age of 18,” or, “When you download music or videos, make sure you delete the pornography that might be hidden in there,” and, “Don’t have sex with any girl as she might say you raped her.” It is not safe for a young man these days.

Forget about getting anyone to listen to you. There are days I want to stand on top of the highest mountain with a megaphone and yell just so someone might hear me and listen to what I have to say.

There are days I don’t want to get out of bed, but I do because today might be the day that someone does hear me, or I might have a great idea.

After a year of going to court, my son took a plea deal like so many others arrested for sexual offenses. Our lawyer kept telling us that we better take the plea as the prosecutor would show the pictures to the jury of all mothers. Our son was sentenced to 5 years in prison. That was a very hard day, to watch your son be taken away from you like that. You know in your heart and soul that what he did was not that bad and that he doesn’t need to put in prison but would be better off going to a treatment program. He is NOT a bad person, and he certainly does not deserve to be on “the list” for the rest of his life. Society does not need to fear him.

My son served 10 months of the 5-year sentence. He could not live at our house because we have Internet. We had to get him an RV trailer and park it on land owned by a member of our family. A few months later, he got a job at a supermarket, but he can’t go to college; they will not allow him there. He will have to go the Sheriff’s Office every 6 months and to an aftercare program once a month for a year.

After 3 years of dealing with all this, I have learned so much. I will keep fighting the laws as long as I can. I want my son and other like him to have a better life. Every day I wonder…“How long can you keep punishing someone before you forgive him?”

Collateral Damage: Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders – Jill Levenson

Cost to Arkansas vs. Credible Research

Per the NCMEC, of the 751,538 men women and children on registries across the nation 13,106 are in Arkansas. When you consider the registerable offenses, the law enforcement and office staff expense associated with monitoring and tracking as well as the length of time the state will do this to “attempt to keep children safe.” One has to wonder what empirical evidence supports this valiant effort. There are none!  However, there is credible research advising low recidivism rates.
T. J. Madison, Member of  W.A.R. talked about, “Other things impacting costs are Probation & Parole as well as incarceration and went on to say the U.S. is 5% of the world’s population AND 25% of the world’s incarcerated. Additionally, fewer plea deals and implementation of diversion programs should be incorporated such as those available for drug and other offenses.”
Per the Justice Research & Statistics Association  (
), a study of recidivism rates for 2,493 sex offenders released from prison in 9 states in 2001,  concludes  in a 3-year follow-up study of  recidivism rates; AK 3.4%, AZ 2.3%, DE 3.8%, IL 2.4%, IA 3.9%, NM 1.8%, SC 4%, TN 0%, UT 9%
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice, 5.3% of American sex offenders are rearrested for a new sex crime within three years (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003).
In 2013 the manager of the Arkansas Sex Offender Registry indicated there were 11,268 registered sex offenders in the state of Arkansas: 10,944 men, 324 women. It is estimated three or four  persons every day  (between 800 and 1,000) names have been added yearly since the registry was established by the state legislature. There were 1,084 Level 1 "low risk" sex offenders, 3,839 Level 2 "moderate risk" 4,012 were Level 3 "high risk" offenders and 266 Level 4s "sexually violent predators."
Sex offender laws are passed as a result of various myths such as: all sex offenders are “pedophiles who cannot be cured,” and who are likely to re-offend, or who will target strangers. The media helps propagate these myths and politicians rely on the media to pass the laws. Various studies have shown the opposite to be true, but are largely ignored. Lawmakers have justified sex offender laws by claiming such laws are regulatory/ civil, thus bypassing constitutional safeguards. However, such arguments are shaky at best, and there have been a number of successful legal challenges in lower courts in many states.

Options that will accomplish the desired end result- prevention of sexual abuse: 

  •  Design or create policy with the primary goal of prevention of sexual abuse violence thus  reducing the sexual deviancy rates. (A Reasoned Approach: Reshaping Sex Offender Policy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse By Joan Tabachnick and Alisa Klein)
Kimberly DuBina, Director-Treasurer of Women Against Registry spoke of the obvious, “Since the majority of sexual offenses go unreported the glaring reality is we need to begin to develop prevention programs and then implement them for male and female, young and old.”

If you want to protect society from sexual abuse, then we must implement policies that are proven not only cost effective, but aimed towards prevention.

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