Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Some responsible Halloween reporting:
Sex offenders are the closest thing we have to real-life monsters on Halloween—and surely, few things can horrify a parent like the thought of his or her child being snatched up by a pervert while trick-or-treating. But there is no evidence that children are more likely to be abducted, assaulted, or abused on Halloween than on any other day. Crime data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System show that there is no recorded spike in sex crimes before or after the holiday. 

No governmental body may prohibit anyone from ringing someone else's doorbell at any time for any legitimate purpose, nor may the government prohibit anyone from giving "treats" to visitors at any time. Simply put, the residents of Louisiana have the Constitutional right to ring doorbells on any date and time they choose asking for treats, and all have the right to receive visitors and give them treats at any time. 

And here is the Safe Kids Worldwide guide to Halloween safety. Registered citizens are not even mentioned.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

For Some Governors, 'The Buck Stops Here'; For Ours . . .

Some governors mean it when they say, "The buck stops here."

And some say, "Well, I didn't know. That's not my job."

Put Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman in that latter group. He spent much of the day on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, sidestepping responsibility for the state's hot-mess Department of Corrections.

Click here to read the story about the governor's subpoenaed legislative testimony.

If he can't run the state any more effectively than this, what makes him think he's qualified to run our flagship university?

October Ninety-Five% Has More Term Reduction Info

The October issue of Ninety-Five%, the monthly newsletter for donors and friends of Nebraskans Unafraid (NU), includes key info on how you determine if you're eligible for a registry term reduction.

The newsletter also includes an update on the NU Compassion Initiative, which has been serving the registered citizen community for two years.

The newsletter is sent to donors who have made gifts of at least $5 per month. To donate online, please click here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What If Corrections Dollars Were Spent Instead on Education?

Since 1986, Nebraska spending on its mess of a corrections system has increased 169 percent.

All we've got as a result is a rogue system that feels free to disregard State Supreme Court rulings.

Michael Mitchell, Policy Analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' State Fiscal Policy Division, has penned a cogent piece for the Huffington Post about how we could do so much better by redirecting corrections dollars to education. Read it here.

Of Course You Are Angry: Will You Let It Destroy You?

You committed your offense years ago. Took responsibility. Served a prison term or completed probation. Paid your fines. Took care of restitution. You are trying to rebuild your life when Nebraska politicians pass a law that heaps new punishments upon you and your family. You are driven from your home, fired from your job, barred from participating in your kids' school life, kicked out of your church and severed from your family.

Of course you are angry. Your spouse, your kids, your friends and family are angry. Nothing wrong with being angry. Anger is a neutral fact. What you do with it is not.

What you do with your anger is of paramount importance. It is possible to deal with anger in a constructive way. Or you can deal with it destructively. It is possible that how you deal with your anger will either strengthen or destroy your family.

If any of this resonates with you, and you want to connect with others who have been where you are, who have walked the difficult path you now walk, FEARLESS is for you.

Discussion topic for our Monday, November 17 meeting is Dealing With Anger.

FEARLESS starts at 7 p.m. at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the lot located on the east side of the building. Come in through the east entrance, which is just off that lot. We hope you will join us, and we hope you will bring with you someone else who would benefit from being part of our network. FEARLESS is exclusively for registered citizens and family members or friends who wish to accompany them to our meeting. We do not permit law enforcement, therapists, probation/parole officers or other representatives of the sex-offender industry to attend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Politicians and News Media in Toxic Hookup: Legislation by Anecdote

We see it again and again, yet we do not learn: The news media, hungry for market share, deliver a toxic dose of fear every day.

Politicians, hungry for votes, use your fear to promulgate ever harsher laws. Few notice that the laws are based on emotional hype, not facts. And prisons bulge with people who do not belong there. This is true not only on the issue of sexual offenses. We're currently overwhelmed with panic-stricken reporting about ebola, for instance.

You would not know it by watching or reading the news, but here are some facts:

  • Deaths from ebola in the U.S. never ever will match the death toll from cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Research proves that trick-or-treating children are not at higher risk for sexual assault on Halloween.
  • Sexual offenders are among the least likely of any group to commit a second second sexual offense. (Right here in Nebraska, this lie/myth is embedded in state law because of our poisonous media/political process: Nebraska statute says sexual offenders all are dangerous. That's just not true, but it's part of our law).

In an era of fear-driven "news" reporting, we are fortunate to have information sources that stick to the facts: is one of them. Here is an enlightening recent post on the issue of legislation by anecdote.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

WKYT in Kentucky: Nothing Happened . . . Now THAT'S Scary!


This just in from WKYT in Kentucky:

A black guy in an SUV drove past a girl. Nothing happened.


(This actually happened. Here's the story.)

The Big Blind Spot in the Prison-Overcrowding Conversation

The prison-overcrowding issue continues in Nebraska. And public policy-makers continue to walk on tip-toe around one major issue: Needless incarcerations of former sex-offenders.

We'll connect the dots.
DOT: The latest report from the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSGJC) says Nebraska's prisons are bulging because, among other things, too many people are being returned to prison for technical violations.
DOT: Nebraska's "hammer-the-sex-offender" law is based on the incorrect assumption that registered citizens represent a high risk for re-offense. The truth is that most do not represent such a risk. 
DOT: Nebraska's confusing and convoluted law basically and erroneously brands all registered citizens as predators and imposes dumb community notification and monitoring punishments. For instance, a registered citizen who is away from home for 73 hours without telling the local sheriff about it commits a crime and will go to prison if convicted. (A young Lincoln mother was taken away from her child, cuffed and carted to jail, accused of such an offense).
DOT: Statistics from the CSGJC itself show that about 95 percent of registered citizens will not commit another sex crime. But because Nebraska law deprives registered citizens of jobs, homes and family life, there is increased likelihood of technical violations of the notification/monitoring punishments. Your life has to be extremely stable and organized to comply with Nebraska's Big Brother law. That's the law that makes your life unstable and disorganized.
Sad to say, Nebraska politicians are shy about acting on any of this because some voters are crazy, vengeful haters. Nebraskans Unafraid politely reminds politicians that many registered citizens, their friends and their family members are voters, too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Non-Registered Citizen Fed Up With Politicians' Fear-Mongering

In the season of the Halloween Hoax, a non-Registered Citizen weighs in:
“Politicians like to solve 'problems' especially where there really is no problem after all. And Halloween gives them such an opportunity. In all the years of Halloween the scare stories are more scary than the real stories. In actuality one child has been abducted while going out trick or treating. That was 35 years ago. Only one case.
“But the politicians in their campaign to rile up the public about sex offenders (a label that is given out easily and for some very non-serious issues — such as streaking, urinating at the side of the road, or sex between two teenagers) are intentionally fanning the flames of fear for their own personal profit.”
Read more.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Better Get Rid of Your Board Games

A man in the U.K. has been convicted for possessing cartoon images of children. The story is here.

What is next?

War-crimes convictions for people who play Stratego, or chess?

Business fraud prosecutions for people who play Monopoly?

Porn convictions for those who own copies of Lolita?

FEARLESS: Dealing With Bullies

Responding to a request for bully ideas from last evening's FEARLESS meeting:

The topic was how to deal with the neighborhood bully, and with bullies in general. What follows is a quick summary of a few things that were shared. Because the author of this post had to leave early, others who attended are invited to comment in order to elaborate upon, clarify or add to what is presented here:

1. Be classy. You have paid your debt to society. You are a good citizen and a good neighbor, and your neighbors are going to recognize this. It might take some longer than others, but they'll come around. At the very least, they'll avoid you.

2. Cooly inform. Share the facts: Registered Citizens typically are not dangerous. The danger lies elsewhere, usually not on the state's public-shaming website. Sometimes you have to make it simple, as if you are speaking to a child. Some bullies are ... well ... slow.

3. Stand up for yourself. The worst mistake you ever made in your life is none of anyone else's business unless you choose to talk about it. Do not be violent or illegally aggressive, but let the bully know you're going to fight back. Bullies pick on targets where they think they're sure to "win." Don't be an inviting target.

4. Sometimes, the biggest bully is in your imagination. Our culture's shame-based manner of dealing with sexual offending makes it difficult not to see everything through the SO lens. A bit of reflection on whether you're actually being picked on, or whether you're just making stuff up because you're frightened, can bring peace to you.

Monday, October 20, 2014

FEARLESS Topic Tonight: The Neighborhood Bully


Have you had your run-in with the neighborhood bully? You know, the blusterer who's going to protect the place from you?

What will you do when this happens?

A few of us have dealt with this situation, and we'll share what we know about neutralizing the bully. (Here's a hint: The bully is in reality a weak-kneed coward who is really really insecure. He needs you so he can feel superior. When you are armed with this knowledge, this guy can't hurt you).

We hope that you will join us and that you will bring along someone else who would benefit from being part of our network.

FEARLESS meets tonight -- Monday, October 20 -- at 7 p.m. at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the lot located on the east side of the building. Come in through the east entrance, which is just off that lot.

FEARLESS is exclusively for registered citizens and family members or friends who wish to accompany them to our meeting. We do not permit law enforcement, therapists, probation/parole officers or other representatives of the sex-offender industry to attend.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Be FEARLESS on Monday

FEARLESS meets Monday, October 20, at 7 p.m. at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the lot located on the east side of the building. Come in through the east entrance, which is just off that lot. We hope you will join us, and we hope you will bring with you someone else who would benefit from being part of our network.

FEARLESS is exclusively for registered citizens and family members or friends who wish to accompany them to our meeting. We do not permit law enforcement, therapists, probation/parole officers or other representatives of the sex-offender industry to attend.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Grisham Need Not Have Apologized

A cogent post in Notes from the Handbasket begins:

Radley Balko steps in to remind us that John Grisham is not a lunatic who cares nothing for justice even though Grisham himself has apologized for his earlier statements about child pornography sentences.

Read the entire post.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bottom-feeder Kids Live Safe Has a Bridge It Wants to Sell You

Bottom-feeding Kids Live Safe, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., grubs money off sex-offender registries. What's sad is that what these scumbags are selling can be had for free. And in view of public-shaming websites' proven ineffectiveness as public-safety tools, $0 is what they're worth.

Click here for a story on this issue out of Missouri.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

So Statutory Compliance is a Luxury?

Exactly what do you think might happen to you, Registered Citizen, if you, confronted by The Law, responded: “I don’t have the luxury of insisting on statutory compliance”?

Right. You soon would disappear into the black hole that is the Nebraska corrections system.

So what do you think will happen to the Nebraska state officials who pick and choose the laws they will obey and the laws they will break? (Read this).

A cavalier attitude about The Law is not confined to the corrections mess. County sheriffs defy the law requiring signed hard-copy papers for verification visits. The Omaha City Council made up its own definition of "predator," in defiance of the state law.

Any consequences for these folks?

(Long silence).


(Longer silence).

That's what we thought.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Huge Hammer; Not an Ounce of Prevention

Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Ph.D.
Registries, public-shaming websites like the one in Nebraska, and ever-harsher laws hammering registered citizens again and again do NOTHING to prevent sexual assaults of children.

Elizabeth J. Letourneau has spent decades working with sexual offenders. She is Director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In a recent article written for Time, she looks at yet another high-profile child molestation scandal and the lessons it holds for our public policymakers. Here's an excerpt:
. . . the idea that all sex offenders are monsters, and monsters are unpredictable, draws resources and political attention away from effective prevention efforts. We spend far more to address sex crimes after they happen.
In a case in which I served as an expert witness, “Tommy,” age 12, was convicted of sexually abusing his younger cousin. He spent five years in a juvenile prison—about $50,000 per year, to the cost of taxpayers—and another five years in a sex offender civil commitment program—never mind the court costs. By the time Tommy was released, his home state had “invested” over half a million dollars in him.
By comparison, the priciest violence prevention programs rarely cost more than $10,000 per family. Yet we don’t have prevention programs that target adolescents at risk of sexually abusing children, even though they account for more than 50% of cases. All the emphasis is on after-the-fact policies.
Read the full article here

Related piece from Johns Hopkins

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dynamic Duo Defeat Dumb Laws in California

An excellent article profiles the California pair that is forcing cities in California, lawsuit by lawsuit, to repeal their dumb and ineffective registered-citizen laws. Even more eye-opening are the comments on the article, which are overwhelmingly against the over-reaching, unconstitutional laws.

If only we could find an attorney in Nebraska to take on something like this without demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation.

Click here to read the article.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Maryland Court of Appeals Understands Ex Post Facto

On March 4, 2013 the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that retroactively requiring a person to register as a sex offender in accordance with laws created in 2009 and 2010 violates the prohibition against ex post facto laws contained in Article 17 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. This video shows the oral argument that took place prior to this decision -- the oral argument was held 09-07-12.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

You Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee

University of Nebraska-Omaha research shows that Nebraska's 2009 sex-offender law (LB 285) does not protect the public, makes communities more dangerous and has created a class of "social refugees" -- registered citizens.

Here's to you, Social Refugees.

You don't have to live like one. Join us.

Together We Are FEARLESS

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jury Agrees Registration Forms Unclear, Confusing

A Douglas County, Nebraska, jury deliberated for only an hour before acquitting a registered citizen who was charged with failure to register.

The verdict came on Thursday, Oct. 9, when the jury agreed with the defense that registry forms are unclear and the law is confusing.

Failure to register is a phonied-up non-sex-offense designed to trap people into technical violations of overly complex laws in order to feed to the sex-offender industry's demand for inmates. Good to know that at least one jury gets it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Nebraska Sex Offender Website Guideline #7

If you find that you have a neighbor listed on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website, and your neighbor lives with her or his family, or holds a job or otherwise leads a productive life, that person probably is no more dangerous than you yourself are. Under no circumstances should you buy into typical popular news media stories about sex offenders. News media and law enforcement work together to scare you. The tactic backfired in 2010 in Lincoln, Neb., when law enforcement invited news media to tag along while they went around to bust sex offenders. A 22-year-old mom who stayed for the weekend at a childcare provider’s home with her young toddler was cuffed in front of the child and hauled off to jail. This is how the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website protects children? By ripping young moms away from their children for technical violations? The example also typifies news media gullibility. They excitedly report it when a “registered sex offender” reoffends. The fact is, that’s news because it is so rare. Neither law enforcement nor news media will report on the vast majority of registrants who never reoffend but continue paying the state-imposed penalty of public shame.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nebraska Sex Offender Website Guideline #6

Evidence shows that a stable home life, employment and reintegration into their communities are among factors that reduce the likelihood of reoffense. This means that the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website makes Nebraska more dangerous because it causes people to lose their jobs and their homes, and it causes their families to suffer. The latest Public Safety Brief from the Council of State Governments states that the vast majority of child molestations — well over 90 percent — are first-time offenses committed by someone known to and close to the family. The Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website does not protect children, it puts children at higher risk because it focuses attention on people who are not going to molest a child. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that just 14 percent of all sexual assault cases reported to law enforcement agencies involved offenders who were strangers to their victims. Sexual assault victims under the age of 18 at the time of the crime knew their abusers in nine out of 10 cases: the abusers were family members in 34 percent of cases, and acquaintances in another 59 percent of cases.

Halloween Claptrap Season Is Near

Welcome to October, Halloween month, when law enforcement and the news media try to frighten you under the pretense of promoting public safety.
As we inform you every year,  non-family sex crimes against children on Halloween are virtually non-existent. Recent research in Nebraska shows that the reoffense rate of former sex offenders is extremely low.
Despite these facts, you probably will hear about Halloween “sex offender patrols” in the weeks ahead. In light of the facts, these patrols waste taxpayer dollars and distract law enforcement from its mission of protecting the public. Halloween “sex offender patrols” are hoaxes. A study done by the University of Nebraska-Omaha School of Criminology and Criminal Justice shows that former sex offenders reoffend at a rate of less than 5 percent at the most, contrary to what you probably believe. Here is a link to the research.
This report found that as tiny as the reoffense rate is, it still went up after Nebraska enacted a law that placed all former offenders no matter their risk to reoffend on the hate-offenders-and-their-families website. That likely is because Nebraska’s new law caused former offenders to lose jobs, homes and social networks. Research elsewhere has shown that when people’s lives are damaged in this way, they are more likely to turn to crime.
According to four respected researchers, there is no reason to waste law enforcement resources on publicity stunts like “Halloween sex-offender patrols.” The researchers are Mark Chaffin, University of Oklahoma; Jill Levenson, Lynn University; Elizabeth Letourneau, Medical University of South Carolina; and Paul Stern of Snohomish, Wash. Here is their conclusion:
“This study found no significant increase in risk for non-familial child sexual abuse on or around Halloween.” The study spanned nine years of data, 1997-2005. The researchers said that “Halloween” policies have no impact on crime.
Nebraska nonprofit group, Families Affirming Community Safety Inc. (FACTS), asked the Douglas County Sheriff’s office to produce evidence that a registered citizen has ever harmed a child on Halloween in Douglas County – EVER. The sheriff could not produce any such evidence. He did cite Halloween-patrol arrests from another jurisdiction, but those arrests were NOT for crimes against kids. They were for technical violations of laws such as requiring registrants to shut off porch lights on Halloween.
Contact Lisa L. Sample, Ph.D., a criminal justice expert (contact info below), for accurate context about Halloween registrant patrols.
Omaha-based Criminal Justice Expert Lisa L. Sample, Ph.D.
(402) 554-2610

Dr. Sample is Professor and Reynolds Professor of Public Affairs and Community Service, University of Nebraska-Omaha. She is also the Masters Program Coordinator for the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She conducts research in juvenile and criminal justice sentencing disparities, drug control policies, prison reentry programs, and sex offender behavior and policies.