Thursday, June 30, 2016

A look at civil commitment in Minnesota

The PBS Newshour got a rare look inside Minnesota's Sex Offender Treatment Program - civil commitment - in which many people, including a number of juvenile offenders, are held long after their prison sentences end.

Watch the PBS report here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Op-Ed: U.S. should reexamine sex offender registries

Christopher Zoukis, writing for the New York Daily News, writes that the United States should at least reform its sex offender registries. Zoukis, an inmate at a federal prison in Virginia, acknowledges that reform won't be easy, but he argues that registries are populated by people who pose no danger to society.
Making modifications to how the registries are compiled isn't about letting dangerous sex offenders off the hook. It also isn't about hiding information from the public that truly impacts their safety.What it is about is making sure people aren't branded with a label that creates a false impression and leaves them punished for life over an error in judgment that happened years or decades ago.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Yes, ex-felons in Nebraska can register to vote

Secretary of State John Gale
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale takes issue with an ACLU of Nebraska survey in which half of the county election officials in the state apparently provided incorrect information to the question whether former felons can register to vote. Nonetheless, Gale says the answer to that question is yes - former felons in Nebraska can register to vote.
State law allows a convicted felon to register to vote two years after completing all of the terms of a sentence, which include parole and probation. The voting disqualification is automatically removed by court order at such time.
Surveyors said 47 of the state's 93 counties did not give accurate information. Additional counties initially provided wrong information but followed up with correct information.
Gale said his office was not aware of any instance in which a felon was denied his or her voting rights.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Be FEARLESS this Monday!

How do you educate others about the sex offender registry? And how do you do that without alienating family and friends? Share your story and learn how others broach the subject at Monday night's FEARLESS meeting.

FEARLESS is a safe place for registered citizens, their families and friends to connect. We meet at 7:00 p.m., on the third Monday of each month, at St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 13232 Blondo Street, Omaha, Nebraska. (Park in the east parking lot.)

Join the conversation at 7:00 p.m. Monday night!

Why Sex Offender Registries Don't Work

Noah Berlatstky, writing for, effectively explains why sex offender registries don't work.

Berlatsky writes in response to the apparent satisfaction some take in the fact that former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and claims that the registry will protect the public from the likes of Turner.
The truth, though, is that there’s very little evidence that sex offender registries increase safety in any material way. A 2014 study conducted by Purdue University economics professor Jillian B. Carr of people on the North Carolina sex offender registry found that being on the registry had no effect on recidivism. That’s consistent with a 2007 report by Human Rights Watch, which looked at various studies and concluded that sex offender registries did little to prevent sexual violence.
You can read the entire column here.