Friday, August 31, 2018

dangers of easy community notifications

Computer technology has improved much of our lives. Who wants to return to days of encyclopedias and the library card catalog? As much as we appreciate the easy access to a wealth of information, let's not lose track of the dangers of easy access to data.

Offender Watch is a company that provides a service for law enforcement agencies, contracting with governments to manage sex offender registries. Seventeen states use the Offender Watch network.
Every sheriff's office and registering police department, as well as state corrections and public safety officials, will use the technology to share records on sex offenders and communicate with agencies in Maryland and other states. 
"We transfer those records across the network so that all the information collected on that person in Baltimore, Maryland is now transferred to Prince George's County when he moves," OffenderWatch President Mike Cormaci told Stacy Lyn.
Without Offender Watch, maybe the data transfer is manual. Perhaps the new state enters all information from scratch and the originating state deletes the data when they get around to it. To be honest, I am not certain how all of that happens.

What I do know is that when something becomes easy, it is easy to treat the data carelessly.
"My agency saw the need very early to adopt a program that not only allowed our Sex Offender Registry Unit to communicate with our neighboring counties and police departments, but also can communicate in real time with agencies outside of Maryland when potentially dangerous offenders moved into Wicomico County," Lewis said in a statement. "My citizens deserve the most accurate and timely notifications to protect their families." 
But do citizens deserve to spend money on accurate and timely notifications that do not protect their families?

Because over 95% of people on the registry do not commit another sex offense, it is clear that most new offenses are committed by those not on the registry. Lists of people convicted of specific crimes protect no one.

Offender Watch either knows that and chooses to make money by generating fear or they don't know that and should not be in this line of business.
Agencies can share as much or as little information about offenders as they like, so proprietary investigative notes can be kept close to the vest, Cormaci said.
When it is easy to share data across jurisdictions, it is more likely that the data will be shared.
One purpose of their program is to let citizens know with alerts and updates when an offender registers or moves within a specified radius of their address, be it the citizen's home, school, work or anywhere else they or their children spend time.
Not all states require community notification, the practice of sending notices to anyone who lives within a certain distance of a registrant new to the neighborhood.

When it is easy to send out notifications, it is more likely that legislators will think notifications are needed. Companies like Offender Watch benefit from a change that would require those notifications and may actually lobby for that change.

Watch your state legislature so that you can be ready to testify against the need for notifications. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

economy gains from hiring second-chancers

Jeffrey Korzenik, chief investment strategist of Fifth Third Bank, advocates for the employment of those with felony records. In the July 2, 2018 Barron's, he looks at today's economy, and wonders how to maintain growth with a shrinking pool of workers from which to draw. He writes
Until recently, employers had a ready supply of unemployed individuals to fill open positions, but with the jobless rate at 3.8% and the number of openings exceeding the total of job seekers, that avenue is no longer available. Where can we find the additional one million to two million workers we need to keep our expansion on track? 
Our best opportunity is for businesses to make better use of our most underappreciated labor resource: “second-chancers.” This population—those who have paid for mistakes through incarceration or other forms of supervision—offers a path to expand and extend our economic expansion. 
Second-chancers: a wonderful, hopeful way to refer to those who have a criminal record.
Excluding those now in prison, there are over 16 million Americans with a felony record. Many of the crimes occurred decades earlier or would not have been classified as “felonies” in years past. While some of these ex-offenders are already in the workforce, many are not, and even among those who are employed, second-chancers often do not have the job mobility to reach their economic potential. Increasingly, employers are considering this population for hire. [My emphasis.]
He says employers who partner with a re-entry organization have more success in hiring second-chancers.
Identifying which ex-offenders are ready for employment is critical. Nonprofits that support the re-entry of ex-offenders not only provide pre-employment training, counseling, housing, and other services, they also can fill the critical role of helping to identify for employers which of their clients are actually job-ready.
Ongoing support during employment is important, too. Employers who hire second-chancers recognize that this is a cohort that initially lives with financial instability. Employer models of sustaining workers in such straits can range from flexible work hours (e.g., to accommodate meetings with parole officers), to microloans for such needs as car repairs, to providing a “life coach” for employees. Second-chance employers usually have robust relationships with outside organizations that can provide other benefits, including faith-based counseling, after-hours food-pantry access, and transportation. 
All of this may sound like a lot of extra effort for employers. Is it worth it? The companies we’ve studied all talk about their investment in second-chancers as being handsomely repaid with employee engagement, loyalty, and turnover rates that are far lower than industry averages. Two larger-scale studies, one by the U.S. military and another by the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, both provide evidence that, when hired selectively and appropriately supported, second-chancers are superior workers. [My emphasis.]
Those with a sex offense in their history have added difficulties, of course. Some states include places of employment in registry listings, so employers are reluctant to hire someone that would put the employer's address on the registry, too.

Even when places of employment are not on the registry, the common image of sex offenders--dangerous predators plotting their next child molestation sprees--help explain why some employers refuse to consider hiring people who are listed on the registry. The image is wrong, of course. The long-term rearrest rate exceeding 76%  used by Korzenik applies to felons in general, not to those on the registry, who, at around five percent, have the second-lowest recidivism rate.

Hiring second-chancers has an obvious benefit for the second-chancers and their families but Korzenik shows us a larger picture and a larger benefit by talking about the effect on the economy.

In a January 2018 Entrepreneur article, Carol Roth interviews Korzenik about hiring second-chancers. She asked him why it is important to bring people back into the workforce. His answer:
Our biggest fear for the economy is that we essentially run out of labor. To gauge the importance, look at the numbers: over 2 million incarcerated, 4.8 million currently on parole or probation, 19 million with a felony conviction on their record, 70 million with some kind of past interaction with the law. Put those numbers against the reality that, above and beyond natural demographic growth and immigration, to sustain our expansion we need an additional 1.25 million workers each year, you have to recognize that the number of people who are likely out of the workforce, unemployed or underemployed because of this taint is enormous and economically consequential
We are wasting enormous resources, either through the opportunity loss of full labor market participation or through direct costs like the $80 billion spent each year on incarceration.  [My emphasis.]
In Barron's, Korzenik makes his recommendations for employers. He urges those who have successfully hired second-chancers to "spread the word." He says,
...it is important to articulate not just the goal of re-entry, but the method, particularly for the small and medium-size businesses that create the vast bulk of new jobs. Successful private-sector, for-profit models for hiring second-chancers exist and are worth sharing and replicating.
He recommends removing barriers to employment such as licensing or certification requirements. He also recognizes that when federal regulations forbid a business (a financial institution, for example) from hiring someone with a felony record, those businesses can still play a role in the success of second-chancers.
At Fifth Third, we provide funding to many of the workforce development organizations that focus on the formerly incarcerated, support initiatives to create the affordable housing often cited as an obstacle to re-entry, partner with nonprofits to provide financial education and banking services, and fund our research into the business models that actually succeed in employing second-chancers. The bank also worked with our partner NextJob to expand our job-coaching and assistance program to address the unique needs of citizens returning to the workforce from prison.
Offering financial advantages to companies who hire second-chancers is another recommendation.
Existing tax credits for the employers of ex-offenders are beneficial, but short-lived. More ongoing support could be provided through the federal government’s vendor process, which has long sought to redress past barriers by providing set-asides from female- and minority-owned businesses. Businesses that invest in second-chancers could be offered similar advantages.
His last recommendation is hard to argue with:
Recognize success. Business owners who risk their capital and livelihood to provide paths of re-entry for second-chancers are worthy of national recognition, as are their businesses.
Without the registry, it would be far easier for those listed there to re-enter the workforce but Korzenik's point is clear: the economy will suffer without hiring second-chancers. Economic growth is an opportunity for those who need employment. Working with a re-entry or job-training organization can be the key to finding work.

With over 900,000 people on the registry, that means nearly a million people with vastly reduced employment opportunities. Nearly a million that could be contributing--or contributing more--to the continued growth of the American economy.

American businesses need to see that they would benefit from the abolishment of the sex offender registry.







Tuesday, May 15, 2018

court-mandated treatment for "bad men" comes with problems

In a Time article titled Can Bad Men Change?, Eliana Dockterman writes about sex offender group treatment. For those who think these are bad people, Dockterman does not disappoint:
They sit in the circle, the man who exposed himself to at least 100 women, next to the man who molested his stepdaughter, across from the man who sexually assaulted his neighbor. The group includes Matt, whose online chats led to prison; Rob, who was arrested for statutory rape; and Kevin, who spent decades masturbating next to women in movie theaters.
Bad people do bad things. The simplistic view. Dockterman's view.

The pattern in the article is consistent: Dockterman brings up something positive about registrants...and then she follows that up with an emotional appeal to our horror of bad men.

Here is an example:
The more than 800,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. may feel that their parole restrictions are onerous, but the mere presence of a known offender in almost any community precipitates clashes of competing interests and legal battles that have only intensified in the wake of the #MeToo movement. In at least 10 recent lawsuits filed in states from Pennsylvania to Colorado, civil rights proponents argue that sex offenders face unconstitutional punishments that other criminals do not, and they note that there are no government registries for murderers or other violent felons in most states. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case challenging the limits of the registry in its October term.
Yes! Those who know someone on the registry see those lawsuits as a move toward the restoration of civil rights for registrants.

Don't get too excited, though. Dockterman's splash of cold water:
But advocates for the millions of women, men and children who have experienced sexual violence are pushing back on any reforms, and 12 states have passed or proposed further restrictions on offenders in the past year. “What most of my clients want is their attacker gone,” says Lisa Anderson, a lawyer who represents survivors of rape. “If I could brand them with a scarlet letter on their forehead I would, because I don’t want any woman hurt like that again.”
Dockterman is willing to quote someone saying that she would like to brand them with a scarlet letter on their forehead without calling out the violence in that particular fantasy, and without pointing out that some of those offenders did prison time because of their fantasies.
Most people find it difficult to reconcile the hope that rehabilitation is possible with the impulse to push these men to the periphery of society forever.
These men. Dockterman will not let go of her disgust for those who committed sex offenses.

Again she quotes Anderson, a victims' advocate who is also a rape victim:
“It’s hard for me to believe that someone could violently ignore the will of another and then be taught not to cross that line,” says Anderson. “But if it’s possible to teach them empathy, then that should be mandatory.”
In three group sessions with registrants, a counselor, and a social worker, has Dockterman seriously not learned that not all registrants ignored the will of another? The writer does not challenge the wildly inaccurate statement from Anderson.

Dockterman acknowledges that people disagree about those who have committed sex crimes:
Sex-offender therapists and victim advocates are often on opposite sides on questions of crime, punishment and rehabilitation, though both ultimately hope to reduce sexual violence. The data on treatment is limited, but what there is points toward the value of therapy. While there are no recent, official statistics on national sex-offender recidivism, an overview of studies looking at the numbers in Connecticut, Alaska, Delaware, Iowa and South Carolina found that the rate is about 3.5% for sex offenders. That figure takes into account all crimes, including parole violations, not just sex crimes.
The reader might see that 3.5% as good news but Dockterman quotes a judge to ensure that readers see things her way:
“Parents of young children should ask themselves whether they should worry that there are people in their community who have ‘only’ a 16% or an 8% probability of molesting young children.”
Dockterman misses every single way that hyperbolic quote is ridiculously dishonest. Children and adults can be victims of sex offenses and there is no way to calculate the risk of an individual registrant. The judge meant only to frighten us with the specter of bad men.

Good people can do bad things and bad men can change--with and without therapy.

Some people who commit sex offenses can benefit from counseling. Granted.

However: Court-mandated therapy and therapy inside a prison are inherently problematic. Therapists, social workers, and probation/parole officers get to decide the goal of the therapy and when therapy is finished.

When a private citizen chooses his therapist and decides what he wants from the therapy, therapy can be beneficial. A registrant ought to be able to choose a therapist who has more empathy for her clients than this:
People have been sharing their problems with Cheryl all her life, even before she was a therapist. [Dockterman earlier identifies Cheryl as a clinical social worker.] During a session, she lets every emotion show, frowning in sympathy and rolling her eyes when patients try to fool her. She began her career working with children who had been abused. When first offered a chance to work with sex offenders, she refused. But she decided to go to a session out of curiosity. “I was like, ‘Oh, God, I’m walking into this group of disgusting, dirty, icky men,” Cheryl says. But when she arrived, the men looked like her neighbors and friends, and some genuinely wanted to change. She decided to take on the challenge, and later she and Jennifer started up a practice. 
They both still work with survivors and know that the damage these men have wrought on their victims cannot be undone. But they have come to believe counseling can curtail most offenders’ impulses and allow them to function safely in society. “I hear the awfulest stories and even have to excuse myself to throw up,” Cheryl says. “Sometimes these guys come in here complaining about having to drive a little further to get groceries because they’re on the registry, and I’m like, ‘To hell with you. Think of how your victim feels.'” [My emphasis.]
Is that the way therapy ought to work? Instead of recognizing the difficulties of being on the registry and how that affects her clients, Cheryl measures their complaints about real-life difficulties against how she imagines their victims feel.

The article discusses how cognitive distortions can keep people from seeing that their own actions and thinking hurt others. How I wish Dockterman had noticed that Cheryl's story is a perfect illustration of cognitive distortion.

Making life more difficult for those on the registry does not help victims, nor does it prevent future sex crimes by those not on the registry. A willingness to make life more difficult comes of a desire for vengeance. Is that how a therapist ought to think?

Cheryl forgets who the client is...or does she? Who is the client here? Is it the registrant who needs to get his life back in order or is it the government entity sending her more clients? If Cheryl and Jennifer fail to please the courts, their practice dries up.

When a therapist is allowed to keep a client until the client thinks the way the therapist wants him to think, that is a problem. When a registrant, required by his PO or a judge to attend therapy, cannot escape unhelpful or damaging therapy without running the risk of going back to prison for a probation/parole violation, that is a problem.

These are not bad men. They are, with rare exceptions, men, women, and children who committed a crime, completed their sentence and now might need some help from a therapist to get back into society.

Dockterman closes her article bleakly:
After those meetings end and the men leave the house for good, Cheryl and Jennifer may never know what becomes of them. Mostly, they hope they won’t read about them in the news.
If that is the best that Cheryl and Jennifer can do, their therapy isn't worth much. That 3.5% figure should let them rest easy.

Of course people can change.

Those who have committed sex offenses are not animals to be trained nor are they contagions to be contained.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

BOP backs down on the restrictive book policy

Good news. The federal Bureau of Prisons has rescinded the policy changes that would have made it more expensive and more difficult for inmates to receive books.

Ann E. Marimow at the Washington Post reports:
The restrictions were already in place in facilities in Virginia and California and were set to start this month at a prison in Florida.
Under the rules, inmates in at least four facilities were required to order books only through a prison-approved vendor and, at three of the prisons, to pay an extra 30 percent markup.
The reversal came after two days’ of inquiries from The Washington Post asking about the vendor, the markup and the rationale for the restriction.
Prison officials said in an email Thursday that the bureau had rescinded the memos and will review the policy to “ensure we strike the right balance between maintaining the safety and security of our institutions and inmate access to correspondence and reading materials.” 
Officials declined to identify the vendor and explain the costs added to the book purchase prices.
A "review" should not be necessary to decide that inmate access to correspondence and reading material is essential.
You shouldn’t have to be rich to read,” said Tara Libert, whose D.C.-based Free Minds Book Club has had reading material returned from two California prisons in recent months and has stopped shipping to two others because of the policy. [My emphasis.]
If the BOP cannot maintain safety and security, they need to work on that. Perhaps the BOP should ask Congress to stop making laws that send more people to prison and for longer sentences. Safety and security are much more manageable in smaller prison populations.

The BOP seems to have backed down on this policy change but keep a watch out for an attempted end-around.



Saturday, April 28, 2018

inmates and books; federal inmates and very expensive books

Books in prison can change lives; books in prison can save lives.

Because they believe in the power of books, the Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP) distributes books for free to inmates in the Appalachian region. Maggie Montague writes about what she learned during her time as an intern with APBP:
One book can change the course of a person’s life. Letter after letter describes the impact of books. Books are solace. Books are freedom to explore beyond the incarcerated space. Books bring joy and knowledge. Books make time move a little faster.
 Book lovers everywhere know this. Even people who aren't avid readers can see this.
Incarcerated letter writers are eager to learn how to defend themselves legally, how to create with their hands, how to build a sustainable life after, how to read, how to speak another language, and how to understand the people around them.
People interested in preparing prison inmates for success on the outside know that it cannot be done without reading. Books are essential.

Montague points out a growing problem for those who want to put books in the hands of inmates:
The barriers between books and incarcerated people grow each day. Publisher only. Vendor Only. Only white envelopes only. (Yes, they used two “only”s.)
In Justice Today, a national criminal justice news outlet, reports that the Bureau of Prisons is slowly and quietly erecting one of those barriers between books and federal inmates:
[A new policy] bans all books from being sent into federal facilities from outside sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These retailers are usually the only means by which prisoners can receive books because most facilities reject reading material sent from individuals or small bookstores due to regulations aimed at eliminating contraband.
To be fair to the BOP, they are not banning books.

No, they are simply making it far more expensive for inmates to have books. Books must be ordered through the prison and the prison applies a 30% tax to the purchase price. Shipping fees will be added, too.

How is that 30% fee going to be used? Presumably, it goes to the Inmate Trust Fund along with commissary profits but who audits the Inmate Trust Fund and its profits? 

Is the Fund activity made public to inmates, since they are the ones contributing to and benefiting from the profits? The answer is No at the institutions with which I am familiar.

We have already seen that phone service providers like Securus  and City TeleCoin gouge inmates and their families with excessive fees while giving kickbacks to prisons. Is that what is happening with book orders?

Friends and families will no longer be able to take advantage of free shipping opportunities. Friends and families will no longer be able to send gifts of books to loved ones in prison.

People working to reduce boredom in prison, to keep inmates engaged in the outside world, and to help inmates prepare for employment...those people will be frustrated by this short-sighted policy. 

In Justice Today says:
The BOP’s new policy is likely to be harmful because books are a critical part of the rehabilitation process, allowing prisoners to learn and develop new skills. A 2013 RAND study found that prisoners who received education in prison had 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not. 
If the number of books in prison makes sanitation and housekeeping difficult (reasons for the policy change provided in the memo circulated at Coleman Federal Correctional Complex), it is time for prisons to learn from libraries. Solve the sanitation and housekeeping problems; keep the books.
Prison staff already examines incoming packages so if contraband commonly enters prisons in books (does it?), prison staff should up their game to find and eliminate the contraband to ensure that books can reach the recipient, free of contraband. 

When an inmate orders a book, will the prison simply order it from Amazon and receive it with free shipping? 



Contact the BOP Director and your Congressman to protest this policy change.

Director Mark S. Inch
Federal Bureau of Prisons 
320 First St., NW 
Washington, DC 20534

Monday, April 23, 2018

Missouri's awful choice

This is a terrible story about terrible legislation in Missouri, terrible legislation that offers hope to some.
Almost all sex offenders in Missouri are on a state registry for a lifetime, whether they made a one-time mistake, or made repeated or extreme offenses.
Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles, wants to make it possible for certain people to petition to remove their name from the list and for the registry to be more transparent for the public. 
A Senate committee heard a bill that already has passed the House which would do three things:
  • Require stricter background checks for those wishing to work in a childcare facility.
  • Impose a mandatory life sentence without eligibility for parole for a person convicted of a predatory sexual offense.
  • Create a tiered system to allow sex offenders to petition to be removed from the sex offender registry.
 Notice that only one of the three offers hope to registrants.
Bahr’s bill, HB 2042, would create a tiered system, similar to what the federal government uses, to make it possible for people who have committed an offense that falls into the first two tiers to petition to have their name removed from the registry.
Those whose offenses fall into tier one would be able to petition after 10 years of good standing, and those in tier two could petition after 25 years. Sex offenders who fall into tier three, who have committed repeated and more serious crimes, would be on the registry for a lifetime.
Moving from all-lifetime to 10-25-lifetime tiers might be an improvement for some but that isn't what Bahr's bill would do. It would make it possible to petition for removal from the registry after 10 years for tier 1, and after 25 years for tier 2.

Removal after 10 and 25 years is not guaranteed.
Ryan Glidwell, who spoke in support of the bill, is a registered sex offender who testified that he made a “10-second mistake” almost 15 years ago when he flashed a minor over an internet webcam. Though he’s completed his probation, he will be on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life unless Bahr’s bill becomes law.
And maybe not even then.
“This bill recognizes that there is a need to define the predatory and persistent (offenses), that treating a group of individuals with a one-size-fits-all approach might not be the best way, and this bill takes into consideration that, over time, some people do, by the grace of God, change,” Glidwell said.
Courtrooms already recognize that one size does not fit all. That's why some get long prison sentences and some get probation.
“With the list right now, you don’t know what the offender is. Is the guy down the street — is he a rapist or did he flash somebody on Skype? This bill would state the nature of the charge, as well as the tier,” Bahr said, “so it gives the public more information to make a better decision as to what threat is this person.”
No. The information provided on the registry cannot predict whether a registrant is a threat or not, and it cannot tell how much of a threat a registrant is.

The information on the registry can frighten people when they read about a conviction, no matter how long ago the offense happened and no matter how long the registrant has been offense-free. Frightening people is not useful, except to those who benefit from the sex offender industry.
Bahr said with the tiered system and clarification of sexual offenses in the bill, every sex offender will not be punished the same way.
Every person on the registry is punished in the same way: they are listed on the registry. It is nice, though, to see that Bahr recognizes the registry as punishment.
“The problem with the status quo is that you have people who have committed significant crimes who are punished at the same level of those who have committed crimes that are much less significant,” Bahr said.
Read that again and see that Bahr seems to think the current harsh sentences are a good start but some should be even harsher. His bill would cover that by imposing a mandatory sentence of life without parole for those convicted of a predatory sex offense.

The bill defines predatory offenses to include statutory rape and statutory sodomy. If we remember that statutory rape and sodomy often refers to consensual sex between partners only a few years apart in age, mandatory life without parole is clearly draconian.

How long before a legislator introduces a bill to add more crimes to the predator category? The registry is a constant threat that it could be worse.

This bill promises to sentence scary predators to life without parole while it dangles the carrot of the possibility of getting off the registry for others. The bill offers hope to more people than it would condemn to LWOP so anti-registry people find themselves supporting this monstrosity of a bill--a kind of Sophie's choice.

Forcing a choice between sacrificing predators to LWOP and saving some of the "better" offenders--those who made a 10-second mistake, for example--is evil.

Abolish the registry.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

is the registry "cruel and unusual" or not?

In 2017, a Colorado judge called the registry cruel and unusual punishment and now attorneys general in the Tenth Circuit are appealing the Colorado decision. 

The court ruling is correct, of course, as anyone acquainted with the registry and its effects can tell you. Other criminals, with minor exceptions, are not subject to legislated shunning and legislated discrimination and legislated cruelty the way those who commit sex offenses are.

In August, when U.S. District Senior Judge Richard Matsch decided in favor of the three Colorado plaintiffs, he was quoted by Alan Prendergast in Westword,
"A convicted offender is knowingly placed in peril of additional punishment, beyond that to which he has been sentenced pursuant to legal proceedings and due process, at the random whim and caprice of unknowable and unpredictable members of the public.
Knowingly placed in peril. Legislators know what they have done. They know what happens to those on the registry. They know that jobs are hard to find, that housing is hard to find, that families suffer.

How do we know they know? Because the legislators are the ones who write the laws, the ones who vote for the laws, the ones who ignore all evidence of the damage done by registries, the ones who hear stories from registrant families and do nothing.

It is true that those on the registry are at the random whim and caprice of unknowable and unpredictable members of the public, but they are also at the random whim of completely knowable legislators. When legislators want to introduce a bill easy to pass, creating additional hurdles for registrants has been almost a sure thing.

Those additional hurdles are imposed on registrants without benefit of due process, a right guaranteed to all citizens in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Being turned down for an apartment or for a job is predictable for those on the registry. What is unknowable and unpredictable are the laws that can be passed long after a person has been convicted and sentenced for his or her crime, laws that change the time on the registry from fifteen years to lifetime, laws that suddenly make it illegal to live in one's own home, laws that too often lead to homelessness and despair.

Judge Matsch continued,
"This risk continues for the entire time a sex offender is on the registry, and perhaps even beyond that if he is fortunate enough to eventually deregister." [My emphasis throughout.]
Getting removed from the registry is a good thing but even past registry status can be discovered with an internet search. Unscrupulous websites that post registry listings do not keep their sites in sync with the official registry sites. Old information remains online.

Getting off the registry is not the same as being free of the registry.

Oklahoma News at KFOR reports on the reasons behind the appeal:
Now, several attorneys general are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to reverse the decision.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said although the ruling involves only one Colorado case, it has wide-ranging implications for access to sex offender registries nationwide if upheld.
 AG Hunter is correct: this ruling does have life-changing implications for registrants all over the country. That is not what he's thinking about, though.
“This ruling undermines the rights of victims and survivors of sex crimes, who must forever endure the trauma caused by horrific acts,” Attorney General Hunter said.
If the victims and survivors must forever endure the trauma even with rapists and assailants and trench-coated lurkers and middle-school sexters on the registry, what does Hunter claim the registry does for the victims and survivors?
“It also obstructs citizen access to public information on sex offenders in their communities and threatens public safety.
There is no good evidence that shows the registry having any positive effect on public safety. AG Hunter continues talking through his hat:
"Registry systems are one of the most cost-effective ways to protect the public while reintroducing sex offenders into society.
Cost-effective? Tracking the location of law-abiding citizens who are unlikely to commit another crime is in no way cost-effective.

His claim that registries reintroduce registrants back into society is ridiculous. The registry keeps people from rejoining society. He surely knows this, though perhaps without the kind of heartbreaking understanding that registrants have because their families are broken up or driven into poverty.

With 874,000 on the registry in the U.S., Hunter should be careful spouting untruths.  The number of people who understand the realities of life on the registry continues to grow.

AG Hunter falls back on an emotional appeal:
"Parents and victims have the right to know.
Parents and victims do not have more rights than other citizens. Common courtesy and loving kindness require--at the very least--that we do not make things worse for people who are victims and survivors but there are no extra rights for those who endured something awful.

He continues:
"My attorneys general colleagues in the 10th circuit and I believe the court was wrong to second-guess this policy and the judgement should be reversed.”
There is no way that the attorneys general are completely unaware of the damage done to those on the registry. So what could be behind this lawsuit and Hunter's foolish talk?
Hunter says undoing the registry in one state compromises the integrity of the uniform registry system, and jeopardizes the ability of states to obtain federal funding.
What was that, AG Hunter? Are you talking about money? Federal funding might dry up if the registries are taken down?

Oh, that is sad. Sad, indeed.

Here's a thought for those attorneys general who worry about losing funding: Getting rid of the registries will save money.

Without sex offender registries, those law enforcement officers who have been knocking on the doors of law-abiding registrants to tell them they cannot have a jack-o-lantern on the porch...

...those officers can now concentrate on people who commit crimes.