Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wisconsin Sheriff Is Not Afraid of the Facts About Sexual Offending

Kewaunee (Wisconsin) County Sheriff Matt Joski not only has the facts about sexual offending, he has the integrity to share them publicly.

His recent column in the Green Bay Press Gazette includes this:
. . . It is important to note that the recidivism rate among these offenders is only 8.8 percent and that a majority of the cases (86-94 percent) were committed by either family members or close acquaintances.
That 8.8 percent, I presume, is for Wisconsin. In Nebraska, it is less than 1 percent. Does your sheriff know that?

Study Questions Widely Held Belief About Childhood Sexual Abuse

More research that explodes sexual-offending myth:

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published results of a study that shows childhood sexual abuse does not necessarily mean you'll be at uniquely higher risk of becoming an adult sex offender.

The abstract for the article concludes:
The widespread belief that sexually abused children are uniquely at risk to become sex offenders was not supported by prospective empirical evidence. These new findings suggest that early intervention programs should target children with histories of physical abuse and neglect. They also indicate that existing policies and practices specifically directed at future risk for sex offending for sexually abused children may warrant reevaluation.
JAMA article.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Extraordinary and Rare Event: Texas Reporter Researches and Writes About Facts & Residency Restrictions

Josie Musico, reporter for the Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal, took the time to research residency restrictions and then wrote about what the studies say.

You already know that the research shows residency restrictions are dumb and don't work.

I call attention to this because most reporters simply parrot politicians' blathering when it comes to this or any other topic connected with sexual offending. So when a reporter digs into the facts on this issue, and then has the professionalism to report the facts, I celebrate the extraordinary and rare event.

Well played, Josie Musico. I wish you worked in Nebraska.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Talking to your Reps

Here is a step-by-step guide to contacting and talking to elected representatives. This video pauses for 10 seconds on each slide. If you need more time, pause the video. You also will find this video on the Nebraskans Unafraid Make a Difference Page.

Our thanks to RSOL National for this presentation.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Stop Supporting Systems That Oppress and Degrade You

A tiny ant can move a mountain one particle at a time.

Registered Citizens and their loved ones are far from powerless. We need to THINK about how we are supporting the systems that oppress and degrade us.

There are small things each of us can do (and encourage our family and friends to do) that -- added up over time -- will make a difference. For instance:

  • I minimize the amount of sales taxes I pay in Nebraska, primarily by making most of my purchases in a neighboring state. I know that most of us do not live on borders, and the one state probably is no better than the other on this issue. What's important is I no longer feel powerless. THINK about it and your own spending habits -- there are creative ways to make this work. For instance, if you live in one community that has a stupid residency restriction ordinance and you're not far from another community that has no such ordinance, why not shop in the smart community instead of the restricted one? For instance, Omaha and Bellevue have residency restrictions. Many smaller surrounding towns do not. Avoid shopping in Omaha and Bellevue if you can. Even if all you accomplish is keeping 10 cents out of the coffers of the community that rejects you, then you've done something. And that always is better than whining.
  • Where it is practical, do not patronize businesses that refuse to hire Registered Citizens. I know this is hard. Again, you have to THINK about it. Target, for instance, is making progress -- removing the "have you ever been convicted" box from employment applications. That doesn't go far enough, I know. But I try to reward the good step forward by shopping at Target.
  • When you are asked to donate to a non-profit or to a cause, ask where the organization stands on issues surrounding Registered Citizens. If you do not get a satisfactory answer, do not donate. OK. I know that sounds awkward to some of you. It's always awkward to change your outlook or to challenge popular belief. But consider:
I walk past the Salvation Army's red buckets joyfully, without giving and without guilt every holiday season. Because I believe in giving generously, I used to give to this campaign all the time. Now I do not because the Salvation Army's Kroc Center in Omaha bars Registered Citizens (scientifically proven to be one of the safest populations around). The YMCA has a similar policy. So tell your friends and family: Stop giving to the Salvation Army and discourage people from joining the Y.
These are just a few examples. You can come up with other ideas. Just think through what you're doing. If you find a legal and practical way to withdraw your support of the system that exposes you to state-sanctioned hatred, then do it. And tell the rest of us about it.

BBB Issues Scam Alert on Those Predator-Warning Emails

You know those emails you get warning you about a predator in your neighborhood?

(The vast majority of them automatically dump into my spam trash where they die unnoticed, and I just delete any that sneak through the filter.)

The Better Business Bureau has a warning for the fools who open these emails: They're a scam in more ways than one -- a ploy to steal your credit card information.

You can read the CBS-Chicago story by clicking here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Industry News

Some reading for your Sunday:

At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month.
The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.” At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.
Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq. [Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs; we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).” The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

At the most basic level, a continual incremental increase in user fees due to the need for EM companies to generate profit would further disadvantage the predominantly poor people of color who are placed on electronic monitoring. Further, since people who complete their term of EM no longer generate revenue, monitoring companies have a financial incentive to push for longer terms of supervision or stricter rules that would lead to increased recidivism.
In fact, such companies are already seeking to expand their market; i.e., to find new populations to bring under the net of electronic monitoring. Currently at least two new groups are being considered for EM services: immigrants awaiting judicial decisions and high school students with records of extensive truancy.  Electronic Monitoring: Causes for Concern

Novelist Ayn Rand Knew About the Offender Industry Decades Ago

I know some are skeptical when I write of the "sex-offender industry." It's your prerogative to think what you want to think. That doesn't change facts.

Fact is, the industry has been in place for quite some time. Author Ayn Rand knew about it way back in the 1950s. Consider these chillingly true-to-life words that she puts into the mouth of  Dr. Floyd Ferris in her novel Atlas Shrugged:
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt."
If you think the offender industry does not exist, I humbly predict that one day you will pay a dear price for living in such a sorry state of denial.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Daily Beast on the Media Role in Making College Rape Culture Worse

An excerpt from an excellent piece from The Daily Beast:
" . . . hysteria over a rape culture sheds no light and produces no solutions. Panic breeds chaos and mob justice. It claims innocent victims, undermines social trust, and distracts attention from genuine cases of abuse.
“ 'Pity, wrath, heroism, filled them, but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated.' These words are from E.M. Forster’s 1924 novel A Passage to India. He is describing the panic among 'good citizens' following a highly dubious rape accusation. But he could have been talking about the current hysteria over the campus 'rape culture.' The frenzy will die down when the stories of the falsely accused become too much for the public to bear."

Read The Media Is Making College Rape Culture Worse.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mother Jones Magazine on the 'Alternatives' That Feed the Offender Industry

Mother Jones has a great piece about all the "alternatives" to prison, many of which amount to little more than income opportunities for the sex-offender industry.

Here is an excerpt:
As mass incarceration is falling out of fashion—it's been denounced by figures across the political spectrum from Eric Holder to Newt Gingrich—a whole slate of "alternatives to incarceration" has arisen. From electronic monitoring and debilitating forms of probation to mandatory drug testing and the sort of "predictive policing" that turns communities of color into open-air prisons, these alternatives are regularly presented as necessary "reforms" for a broken system.
It's worth remembering, however, that when the modern prison emerged in the late eighteenth century, it, too, was promoted as a "reform," a positive replacement for corporal or capital punishment. Early prison reformers—many of them Quakers bent on repentance and redemption—suggested that cutting people off from the rest of the world would bring them closer to God. (The word "penitentiary" comes, of course, from "penitence.")
Read the story here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

'They Don't Deserve to Be Targeted for the Rest of Their Lives'

A New Hampshire lawmaker has introduced legislation that is intended to protect Registered Citizens against violence committed by vigilantes.

Some people refer to the public-shaming websites that show the home addresses of Registered Citizens as "hit lists" because crazy violent people use them to target former offenders. In New Hampshire, Rep. Timothy N. Robertson has introduced legislation to combat this trend.

"They have been found guilty, and they have served their time," Robertson said of Registered Citizens. "They don’t deserve to be targeted for the rest of their lives."

Read the full story here.

Cruelty in Ohio

What do you think of a sheriff who spends time figuring out a way to deny the wishes of a dying military veteran?

In Ohio, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has done just that. An outfit called the Dream Foundation was underwriting a "final wish" trip to the Grand Canyon for a dying veteran who also happens to be a Registered Citizen. The sheriff's office ginned up a public outcry, and the Dream Foundation withdrew the offer.

That kind of cruelty is just hard to fathom. Here is an excerpt from an individual who commented on this pathetic display of meanness:
Human beings are fallible – we err, we screw up, we make mistakes. It is expected, when forgiveness underlies all major world religions, that we can redeem ourselves and be welcomed back into the tribe. No one should be known, or punished forever, for the worst thing s/he has ever done. No one is beyond redemption. And no one deserves such ignoble treatment, especially in their last days.
Read more here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Heartfelt Apology

From one of us:

Statement of public apology 

I apologize for all the horrific things that I have done to those I hurt – my blameless victims, my friends – some who stood by me through prison, my family who suffered for my crime, and humbly ask each and every one to forgive me.

As a contrite but still registered citizen, I would like to publicly apologize to all those I have hurt. First I must emphasize for those who might think otherwise, I am in no way excusing my actions or laying any blame whatsoever on anyone else. I alone take responsibility for my irrational thinking decisions and actions that put me into prison to rightfully serve my time and probation after my sentence was completed.

One of the reasons I am making this public apology is because both Nebraska and California law (the State where I served my time) state: “You shall have no contact with your victims, including correspondence, telephone contact, or communication through a third party…”  I know my victims suffered greatly from what I did to them. Many victims take a long time to recover and some may never. I know some would like to know their perpetrator shows some kind of remorse for what they did, but the law does not allow this. (The Nebraska Parole office may, if asked, but California said to me “Don’t even think of doing this!”)

Another reason that I have discovered is the incredible damage I and others like me have done to our families. There are many members that won’t talk or even allow us to be near any family function because of our publicly perceived “piranha” status and shame we bring. Therefore on my behalf and others in a similar circumstance, I offer an apology and ask forgiveness to all family members for what we did to dishonor our family name as well as all the harm we have caused.

Finally I need to apologize publicly to my daughter who will not listen or talk to me and permit me to ask for her forgiveness.  I sadly discovered that many others who committed similar crimes, have these experiences too. So to all the daughters who have been betrayed by their fathers: I offer an apology and encouragement to explore the possibility that this bitter and angry attitude may be softened and perhaps healed. And furthermore, even restored if you could trust God and listen to the sorrow and remorse offered by your family member that you have shunned and divorced from your life.

Genuinely remorseful,

Kenneth Ackerman  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Registered Citizen's Manifesto

I refuse to believe there is nothing I can do. I refuse to whine.

I refuse to be silent in the face of state-sanctioned hatred, in the face of laws designed to destroy me and my family. I will not be broken by a vicious system.

If no one will hire me, I will create my own work. I will learn to be an entrepreneur.

If no one will rent to me, then I will learn how to create my own shelter.

If no one will help me, then I will learn to be independent.

So far as is possible, I will not support or patronize places that would not hire a Registered Citizen.

I will never forget that I am for the most part responsible for my situation. I have paid the legally prescribed penalty for my offense. I pay no attention to those who think I should continue to suffer for the rest of my life -- they are suffering in their own ways and I cannot help them.

I will live out each day in dignity and I will never stop seeking ways to manifest compassion for the victims as well as the perpetrators of crime. The road is long and hellish for both. Only those of us who have traveled it understand. We must be here with open arms, awaiting those who are coming along behind us.

Monday, January 19, 2015

You're Not Going to Believe the Stuff That's Been Criminalized

If you are not paying attention to all of the everyday activities that are being criminalized in our nation, you're in for a shock.

Radley Balko at The Watch in the Washington Post gives you a chilling glimpse -- click here if you think you have the stomach for it.


A briefing on a positive development in the Legislature is on the agenda for FEARLESS tonight.

Join us at 7 p.m. at St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the lot on the east side of the building and come in through the east door, which is just off the parking lot. See you tonight!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

'Sex Offender' Label Questioned

In Colorado, a state regulatory board is moving away from labeling people "sex offender." It's just a tiny start. But it's a good conversation to have. Story here.

Lincoln Journal Star Story Includes Some Facts About Sex Offenders

Highlighting some takeaways from a fairly good Lincoln Journal Star story about Nebraska's public policy regarding sexual offending:

  • Right now, 1,120 sex offenders are in Nebraska prisons or state institutions and another 450 are supervised under parole and probation programs at a cost of more than $58.5 million. That does not include the cost to taxpayers for the state shaming and monitoring of people who pose no risk to re-offend.
  • Re-offense rates are low among sex offenders. Most people just don't want to believe this, and that might be why this fact is buried so deeply in the LJS story.
  • Even with the low, low re-offense rate, there are some things that will make it more likely that someone will re-offend. Those things include taking away their jobs and homes. Nebraska law currently does just that.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Appeals Court Ruling Demands Accountability When Restrictions Are Imposed on Former Offenders

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says you can't just make up a bunch of vague restrictions and slap them on former offenders without thinking at least a little bit about what you're doing.

Late last year, in its series REFUGEES USA, the Nebraska FACTS blog shined a light on the abuses of supervisory authority that are heaped upon former offenders.

The Tuesday, January 13, appeals court ruling shows how sentencing judges enable such abuse with vague and not-at-all-thought-through restrictions imposed on former offenders. Some examples:

  • A ban on “excessive” drinking that doesn’t define what excessive is.
  • A lifetime prohibition on  a man being in contact with anyone under the age of 18 — even his own children — without the approval of a probation officer. 
  • And an order to get his GED or go back to prison — even if he’s too dumb to pass the tests.

The full Chicago Sun-Times story is here.

The Compassion Initiative

Lawsuit: Legislature Circumvented the Judicial Process to Impose More Punishment

When he was convicted, the law did not require the man to be forced onto the public-shaming registry.

Then the law changed, and he was swept onto the registry retroactively.

Could have been Nebraska. But this example is from Maine, where the state Supreme Court has just ruled that the man's "John Doe" lawsuit should go forward.

"Doe" says that state lawmakers illegally circumvented the judicial process to impose extra punishment on him. Since U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf said the same thing about the Nebraska Legislature and LB 285 of 2009, shouldn't someone test the Nebraska registry with a lawsuit?

Just asking.

Here's more on the Maine case.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Florida Taxpayers Pay Cops to Mess Around on Computers and Catch Non-predators

Instead of actually protecting their communities, cops in Florida spend their time at computers, pretending to be girls interested in meeting up for sex.

We, along with Lenore Skenazy, have to ask:

Taxpayers pay law enforcement to fiddle around like this?

Lenore Skenazy is host of the reality show “World’s Worst Mom” on the Discovery Life Channel, starting January 22. She is also a public speaker and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.

Read Skenazy's post on this pathetic situation in Florida here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nebraskans Unafraid Has a New Mailing Address

Nebraskans Unafraid
PO Box 6705
Omaha, Nebraska 68106

How Are Those Residency Restrictions Working Out for You?

You know all those places where your local politician wants to ban sex offenders? Schools, parks, libraries, day-care centers?

Do you know that those places, without SO restrictions, already are about the safest places on Earth?

Do you know that your child probably is at highest risk in your own home?

Do you know that a just-published research study shows that a minuscule fraction of sexual offenses are committed by "strangers" within the zones that your local politician wants to cleanse of Registered Citizens? Read more.

Join Those Who have Been Where You Are

FEARLESS: Where you will find others who have been where you are. Be FEARLESS on Monday, January 19, 7 p.m. in the lower level of St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the east lot and come in through the east (lower-level) entrance.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

$18 Million in Taxpayer Dollars for a Program That Feeds the Sex-Offender Industry and Does Little Else

The Associated Press not only buries the lead in a story about California's paroled Registered Citizens now being subject to periodic polygraph exams.

The AP utterly misses the point.

Never mind that polygraphs simply are not reliable. They're boogie-men used mainly to scare people into admitting to crimes they probably didn't commit.

The real story here, the story The AP can't see, is about the sex-offender industry.

This move will cost California taxpayers $10 million more than they forked over last year to pay for all the futile but profitable means used to harass . . . excuse me . . . keep track of Registered Citizens. Total expenditures this year in California will be north of $18 million for a program that is a proven failure as a public-safety tool.

But it is not about public safety. It is about all the money that the state will spend for polygraph equipment, polygraph examiners, "treatment professionals," etc. Not to mention all the money that will be needed to investigate, prosecute and re-incarcerate people based on bogus allegations.

If you take the emotionally explosive hype about sexual offending out of the equation, what is the chance that taxpayers in California (or anywhere else) would stand for $18 million in public spending on a program that accomplishes nothing?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Registries and Shaming Websites: Machinery That Transforms Victims Into Registered Citizens

Registries and public-shaming websites like the one we have in Nebraska do no one any good, and they inflict far more damage than our society is willing to admit.

We are blinded by the fear whipped up by politicians and others driven by hatred who need to feel better than some group, in this case Registered Citizens. Label a group dangerous, and it's easy to find buy-in for the hate.

Hate is profitable: Politicians win votes with their deft manipulation of hate. Punish-for-profit schemes (law enforcement grant programs, GPS / ankle-bracelet manufacturers, "child protection" software, commercial corrections management, etc.) blossom and thrive on hate.

As this story out of Portland, Oregon, makes clear, we're simply cycling generation after generation of victims of horrible crimes onto the registries. And the registry is designed to isolate you from the support and assistance you so desperately need, guaranteeing more hardship, more victims.

Registries and websites are the tools through which the sex-offender industry ensures that it will have a steady supply of sex offenders.

Registries and shaming websites do not serve a compelling public interest in community safety -- they subvert that interest.


FEARLESS: Where you will connect with others in your situation and learn what we know about surviving and thriving and defeating Nebraska's attempts to destroy our lives.

Monday, January 19, 7 p.m. in the lower level of St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha. Park in the east lot and come in through the east (lower-level) entrance.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Residency Restrictions: Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest

The senseless/useless nature of residency restriction laws is on display in a case before the New York Court of Appeals.

In a challenge to a harsh local law, Albany attorney Kathy Manley systematically demolishes assumptions about residency laws:

"These laws are used without any evidence that they protect anybody," she said. Full story.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Study: Nebraska Law Jeopardizes Public Safety

It has been nearly 18 months since a legislative study found that Nebraska's pre-2010 laws regarding sexual offenses did a better job protecting the public than the state's current version of the flawed Adam Walsh Act.

Here's an excerpt from a story published in August 2013 in the Lincoln Journal Star:
"In nearly all cases, adoption of the Adam Walsh Act … results in the community being notified about more sex offenders. With the increase in cases, it becomes more difficult for citizens in the community to discern which offenders on the list are the most dangerous," it said. "If the purpose of registry and community notification laws is to promote public safety, this widening of the net of offenders placed on the public list is in direct conflict with the primary purpose of sex offender registries."
"Consequently, the findings … call into question the accuracy and utility of the Adam Walsh Act classification system in detecting offenders that are at a high risk to re-offend. From a public safety standpoint … research suggests that public safety has not been enhanced by the adoption of the Adam Walsh Act … system," the report said.
What do you do when research shows that your law jeopardizes public safety?

Full LJS story.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

NebraskaFACTS Blog Surpasses 15,000 Page Views

It took most of last year for this blog to reach 10,000 page views. We reported that milestone to you on November 24. It hasn't even been two months, and our page views have grown by 50 percent.

Within the past few hours, NebraskaFACTS page views surpassed 15,000.

Thank you for reading and please share this blog with others.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

When Sheriff Wants to Be Alone With You, Naked, in a Restroom, You Should Refuse to Comply

OK. Maybe we shouldn't have to tell you this. But if the local sheriff calls you down to his office and tells you he needs to take you into the rest room and undress you, you need to refuse to comply.

Just trust us on this. This important safety tip is prompted by this news story out of Texas:
DECATUR, Texas (CN) - A North Texas sheriff's deputy abused his position to fondle and take nude photos of a registered sex offender, the man claims in court.
John Doe sued Wise County and its Deputy Chad Hightower on Dec. 23, in Wise County Court. Wise County is northwest of Fort Worth.
Doe claims that Hightower called him by telephone in December 2013 and told him that photos taken of him for the Texas sex offender registry "were not satisfactory because of a glare, and that John Doe was required to come to the Sheriff's Department to have the photographs retaken. Full story.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rhymes With Sucks

This is where the fear-mongering "rape culture" campaign can take us:

Some football players (not to name names, but they rhyme with Sucks) who have a national stage use labeling, accusation and stereotyping to mock an individual who is an easy target because he happens to be unpopular at the moment.

This disgusting spectacle will damage -- deeply and for a long time -- the cause of protecting young women on college campuses. Only pathetic losers would turn such a cause into a joke. Read the story here.

Nartional RSOL Conference Set for June

The 2015 national Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) conference is scheduled for June 25-27 in Dallas. More.

Do You Still Have to Register if You're the Governor's Brother-in-Law?

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in September fired Sandra Edwards, the chair of the state Sex Offender Registry Board. Or maybe she resigned. Depends on who you ask.

Edwards has filed a lawsuit saying the governor was retaliating against her because she insisted that Patrick's brother-in-law, a sexual offender, should register just like any other sexual offender. For some reason, the brother-in-law doesn't have to register. You decide for yourself whether it's because he's Patrick's brother-in-law.

That's the thing about registries: They're sold to voters as public-safety tools, even though the evidence shows they make communities more dangerous. And in some places, even if you're really dangerous, you might not show up on the registry if you're related to the governor.

You can read all about the Massachusetts situation here.