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Quote of the month contributed by David B.
"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible."
T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
from The Seven Pillars of Wisdom           








Reform Sex Offender Laws
March Digest, 2012

On Sunday, February 19, our whole RSOL community lost a dear, dear friend.
 
Alex Marbury was the very heart and soul of RSOL during its formative years. He loved RSOL and its people and, in turn, was the recipient of much appreciation and affection. Hundreds of those now connected to RSOL were first welcomed into the organization by Alex in his role as email contact and member of the Admin Team. He has been sorely missed since his retirement a few years ago.
 
Alex died in the hospital on Sunday, February 19, after a year-long debilitating illness.
 
All of us in RSOL are deeply indebted for his indefatigable efforts to end the registry and stand against the demonization of people labeled sex offenders. But his work on behalf of human rights for sex offenders was only a small part of Alex’s life and work for social justice and racial equality. No one of any background whose humanity was being violated would fail to receive Alex’s support and love. In next month’s Digest, Alex’s good friend and admirer, Paul Shannon, an initiator of the RSOL project, will share a few of the details of Alex’s remarkable life.
 
This month's Digest is dedicated to the memory of Alex.  He cared deeply about the Digest and enjoyed nothing more than being asked to write an article for an upcoming edition. His retirement left a gap in our hearts and our lives; the sadness at his passing is only mitigated by the knowledge that he is now at rest and at peace.


Research Study Offers Survey to Parents of Juvenile Registrants
 
My name is Stephanie Tabashneck and I am a doctoral student at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in Boston, Massachusetts. I am conducting a study about the impact of the sex offender registry on juveniles who have sexually offended.
 
I am asking the parents or legal guardians of juveniles on the public, on-line sex offender registry to complete a survey. Participants must be over the age of 18 and must have a child on the sex offender registry. Completing the survey should take 15 to 30 minutes. There is no follow-up survey or additional requirements.
 
In appreciation of the time you spent assisting me in completing this study, you may choose to enter into a raffle for a $20 Amazon gift card. Instructions for entering the raffle will be found at the end of the survey.
 
Eligibility Criteria:
Parent or Legal Guardian of a child on the public, on-line sex offender registry;        
Over the age of 18
 
If you are interested in completing the survey, please go to the following website:
 
 
Please pass this information on to others who meet the criteria.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Steph Tabashneck
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, 4th Year
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Phone: 781-530-4322
 


We are thrilled to welcome two new state organizers to our RSOL family. The new Georgia group, Georgia Rising, is in the capable hands of Laurie Jones, and the newly formed Utah RSOL is being led by Vicki. Laurie wanted to introduce herself personally in this greeting:

I am honored to be chosen as the Georgia RSOL Organizer and plan to hit the ground running.  I have been involved in this fight since 2007 and focused much of my energies in working with and creating support sites for family members with incarcerated loved ones and RSO's. My goal is to work to influence change in hearts, minds, and laws in the state of Georgia.  I am looking forward to building my new group, Georgia Rising, into a place of support, information, and a vehicle of hope for anyone affected by the SO laws.  Our website, Georgiarising.com, is in the design and set-up process and will be on-line and available as soon as possible to begin our first membership drive.

State Reports
 
Florida
FAC President Gail and Julius, Executive Board member, met with members on the Judiciary House committee.  They also had a meeting with the governor’s analysts for public safety. Our FAC team also was joined by Dr. Imhof.  It was noted that our state has nothing on the analysis of efforts and effects of legislation.  Information provided included Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) reports and National Institute of Justice studies.  Follow up notes of appreciation were sent to all legislative contacts.
 
Amendment: As a result of meetings with some of the Representatives, agreement was reached that a piece of legislation regarding the possession of child pornography would be sponsored as an amendment to Bill 437. The bill in its current language would make video voyeurism a 2nd degree felony. It is also written in as a sex crime which would bring all the consequences that currently fall under a sex crime sentence and would result in mandatory sentences of 5 years per child in any image viewed. The amendment is intended to change sentencing for those who have had no control of the content separated as a purely possession offense.   The amendment has the following goals: 1) to separate out purely possession; 2) change pure possession of cp from a 3rd degree felony to a 1st degree misdemeanor; and 3)  offer a diversion program as an alternative sentencing option to incarceration by using the current diversion program FS 948.08. 
Gail and Vicki had the opportunity to speak at the Senate hearing on the companion bill.  You can view this session and the excellent job that both FAC representatives did testifying at: 
Go to 8:26 on the time and that is where it starts.

Our website is up and running at http://floridaactioncommittee.org/default.aspx
--Gail
 
Illinois
Illinois is back in session. We have several people testifying at various hearings, and we have even more filling out witness slips opposing all legislation. Some have passed various committee; some have died. Once session is over, we'll let everyone know how it went. Cross your fingers for us!
--Tonia
 
Indiana
Hello Again!  February has brought about not only the hopes of spring but changes in the current laws for Indiana.  This year we have already accomplished many things: 1) We now have a newsletter going out bi monthly, 2) a website and 3) have already killed bills that would have drastically hurt ALL registrants and required registration for past, present and future registrants' information to remain permanent on a public website with no way of purging it off.  4) INRSOL has also been featured in three articles this month focusing on the residency restrictions and the negative outcomes.
 
This summer, we will be attending a study commission that will be talking about implementing AWA in Indiana.  We will be gearing up with packets to present to all Representatives and Senators. In March, I have been invited to be on a committee of ministers, PO's, judges, Mayor's and homeless re-entry project leaders. This committee will meet monthly to help registrants find housing, mentor ship and employment. More importantly, we will be focusing on how to integrate registrants in to society. In addition, I have been invited by a group of registrants to come and speak to them about INRSOL.  This group meets every other Friday night and offers friendships and support to registrants. I will keep you posted on this support group as it develops an affiliation with INRSOL.  Lastly, we still have a presence with Indiana Cure who meets on the fourth Saturday of each month at 38th and Meridian.  This is a great group who is fighting for law reform; they offer a support to all types of offenders.  It's a great group to gain friends and support.  I invite all of you to come and mingle! 
 
I have been encouraging members to step up and join our fight.  We need EVERYONE to take charge and volunteer their time, talents, monetary donations or stamps to continue reaching out to those who need our support.  We look forward to hearing from you!
Please send all correspondence to:
INRSOL
PO Box 501
Westfield, IN  46074
Blessings,
--Kim
 
Maryland
General Assembly Session is in full swing now, with quite a mix of proposed laws before us. By far the most "interesting" one has been a proposed animal abuser registry. The testimonies were so much like the ones we heard when they were pushing the AWA: tear-jerking stories of abuse; animals can't speak for themselves; there's a known correlation with domestic abuse; and people just want to know if their neighbor is an abuser so they can "keep a closer eye" on their pets. It's not about stigma, they say. This bill gave our members a great opportunity to come and testify on the damage and abuses that happen with a public registry.
 
We're supporting a bill that would create a misdemeanor offense for "Romeo & Juliet" convictions and put these persons on a law-enforcement-only registry for ten years (rather than 25 years on the public registry.)  We're also supporting one that would pull persons with kidnapping-only convictions off the registry. Both of these would apply retroactively.
 
Another bill we're fighting would add property of "community-based organizations" to the list of places registered persons are not allowed to enter. The problems with this one are so blatantly obvious that we're hoping for an "easy kill."
 
At our state-wide meeting in Urbana, we had almost 30 people listening and asking questions of an attorney who is helping move two cases challenging the retroactive increases in registry requirements that hit us in 2010. Some folks drove hours to get to this meeting in western Maryland; next month's meeting will be in Centreville, on Maryland's Eastern Shore. 
--Brenda
 
Missouri
As the General assembly session continues in Missouri, we are pleased to have a new bill, HB1700 . It is still going through some final preparations before it is voted upon in the House of Representatives. It will reform the current sex offender laws in Missouri through:
-risk assessment
- tiers 1 and 2 non public registry
- tiers 3 and 4 public registry
Our supporters are working in earnest, contacting their Representatives telling them to vote YES on HB1700. We still have a long road ahead of us. We are encouraged and hopeful for success in Missouri.
 
For a summary of HB1700, go to:
--Donna
 
New Jersey Fair
NJ FAIR has been very busy over the past month, with communicating with a variety of organizations and clinicians.  We have also been sponsored into ATSA.  And we have not stopped in our efforts to educate our leaders regarding SORNA and removing both low and some medium risk RFSOs from Parole Supervision for life.  This act alone would save the taxpayer approximately $17M and keep our communities safer by freeing up time from our overloaded POs. 
 
Our monthly meeting was good; when new members show up, it starts new conversations and bring new energy to NJFAIR.  We are hopeful that our efforts will be successful.
 
However, we do have an urgent call to action with a bill that, we believe, violates both the 8th and 5th amendments.  We will be testifying and are waiting to hear from a couple of our attorneys regarding this bill.  In either case, the bill does spread fear to the family and encourages isolation rather than family involvement, which greatly impacts recidivism.  
--Terry
 
Oklahoma
We are getting lots of people involved here in Oklahoma as the legislative session has been underway for nearly a month. Two of the group traveled to the capitol and had some successful meetings with legislators. 
 
We have about 20 bills this year including carryovers from 2011. The 2011 bills aren't expected to move much this session, and we're focusing on the newly introduced bills, which are worse since it's election year. 
 
The key bills for us are: 
HB3049 preventing Aggravated offenders from living with children
HB2437 raising the victim age limit to 18 for the 500 foot loitering restriction (passed first committee)
SB1355 requiring a court order for removal from the registry
HB3050 preventing registrants from changing their names, raising the victim age limit to 18 for the loitering restriction
HB2506 full retro-activity of registration requirements (it currently stops at 1989)
HB2190 Civil Commitment
SB1365 adds state parks to the 500 foot loitering restriction
Respectfully submitted, 
--Rebecca
 
South Carolina
Things are becoming very exciting here. We don't have many members yet, but those we have are very excited and very dedicated to the cause. Things are going well with the reporter who is doing an article about us, and he wants to sit in on one of our meetings. I am putting a meeting together for next month and also going to try to get a group to the state house in Columbia to speak on some of the new bills and their unconsidered and long reaching effects on all of society.
--Lila

Tennessee
We once again we are stagnant here in Tennessee.
Our legislators are in full swing; some of the things on their agenda this year are:
 After July 1,2012, commercial licenses [truck drivers, taxis etc.] cannot be obtained nor renewed by anyone on the registry.
 Folks on the registry can not live within 1000 feet of a nursing home.
 Juveniles will be added to the on-line registry.
 Inmates with sexual convictions will not be permitted outgoing mail to their victims or victims' families; this would prevent communication in a consensual relationship and with one's own family in incest situations.
 Persons on the registry must now pay for their DNA test.
 We are not able to get to Nashville to fight these laws, and even if we could, the judiciary committees are by invitation only.
 --Richard

Media Updates


The Anderson Show featuring two friends of RSOL has come and gone, and, as expected, it had its high spots and its low spots.  The registrants on the show, especially "ours," did their best to present the issues in a way that would be helpful to the public. It took a great deal of courage for these gentlemen to do what they did. The title chosen by the producers and/or Anderson Cooper, "Inside the Mind of a Sex Offender," shows the tendency to continue presenting the same old tired stereotypes and to appeal to the more sensationalist rather than educational aspects of the issue. Nevertheless, this show is an important landmark. A national media personality, on a national media venue, talked to registrants and others who deal with the issues. Anything that opens the doors to dialogue and communication can ultimately have only positive results, for only then will the truth emerge to  be seen by all.

Sexoffenderissues has captured the bulk of the program and has posted it here:
http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/
2012/02/anderson-cooper-shocking-
teacher-sex.html
        ...............................................          
Two excellent article were written based on interviews with our Indiana affiliate, and each sparked very healthy debates in their comment sections. This is the primary function of our MinuteMen, a sub-committee of the Correspondence Committee; as the MinuteMen of old brought important news and updates to those fighting for their freedom in the early days of our nation, RSOL's MinuteMen, through their comments on articles and their letters to editors, journalists, and politicians, are bringing important news and truths to the public as we fight on behalf of all adversely affected by unreasonable and unconstitutional sex offender laws.The articles and their comments can be viewed here: 
http://blogs.indystar.com/starwatch/
2012/02/18/motel-home-to-citys-
largest-sex-offender-cluster/
 ;
     ..............................................                          
Another excellent article featured a member of Illinois RSOL. It is due to the bravery of individuals like the one who told his story for this article that the media, along with many other people, are finally waking up to the truth and seeing the monster that has been created for what it is. Chuck's story and its comments can be viewed here. http://beaconnews.suntimes.com/news/
crosby/10643287-418/naperville-
community-man-now-sex-offender-
hoping-for-second-chance-in-oswego.html  
         ............................................    
We still eagerly await the completion and availability of the documentaries being produced in California and in France and the article being written about our South Carolina affiliate.


 

 

Update from W.A.R.

New year, new energy!  Right?  From the day at the conference last year where everyone expressed interest in the idea of driving home the effects of collateral damage, the word has been going out.  Since October, 2011, we have been adding new members at a rate of 25 per month.
 
Our focus is, “Everyone should be doing something!”  So, if you join us get ready to be approached to do a job or task.  The Research Group has finished gathering everything they could find on Collateral Damage, and we hope to have it on the W.A.R. website by mid-March.
 
Many of you have seen the three Innocent Victims videos which will eventually be on the Innocent Victims webpage along with the family stories that have been submitted. There is still time to submit your stories.  Send me an email, and I will forward the form to guide you in the format we need.  Email address is:
vicki.henry@womenagainstregistry.com
 
Soon we will name approximately 5 hub locations and time-frames where individuals will be videotaped for the initiative.   
 
Vicki Henry
Women Against Registry, President   

Pen Pals

 
Only a few, short years ago, National RSOL created the Prison Project in which print copies of each month’s Digest were mailed to a handful of inmates in state prisons in several states. The recipients were on the mailing list largely because a family member or friend had submitted their names and addresses. Lynn Burns was and still is the point person, running the hard copies; purchasing paper, envelopes, and stamps; addressing and stamping the envelopes; and mailing them. She has had some assistance with the physical work from time to time, and National has thus far paid the actual costs of materials.
 
Lynn is still doing this. National is still paying although actual costs often are greater than our contributions. The difference is that the mailing list now easily contains 500 names and encompasses many, many states. People receiving the Digest told others; they told others. In addition, some of the inmates write back with thanks, appreciation, and out of sheer gratitude to have someone who cares about them. Our little project has become so successful that it is in danger of imploding under its own weight.
 
We need help. We want to change the “Prison Project” to the “Prison Pen-Pal Project.”
 
We are asking for volunteers to “adopt” a group of inmates, from possibly 5 up to however many the volunteer or volunteer group is willing to take. I can see one possibility being a state group taking all the mailings for those in its state. Some large state groups could organize a committee strictly for this. Some of you already have mailing programs and committees as part of your state organizational structure, and this could be incorporated. Individuals who would like to be involved might take inmates in states where there are no affiliate groups or where the affiliate group itself is struggling.
 
There will be much to be worked out. National will continue, as long as our contributions are sufficient, to pay the financial costs. Each volunteer person and group would receive each month a Word version of the Digest, double columned, ready to print. Each volunteer person or someone within each group would be asked to respond in writing to your pen-pal or pen-pals if he/they send thank-you notes.
 
We fully anticipate that there will not be enough volunteers to accommodate the number needed; Lynn will continue for those who are not “adopted.” We are sure the program will continue to grow. We will need to work out a systematic way to accommodate new people as they are added to the list.
 
For now, talk to your group members and to each other about this. Think about how, with this program, everyone can be an active, contributing member of RSOL in a way that means so very much to the recipients.
 
Thank you.
 
Convention Update

Planning for the 4th annual RSOL Conference is proceeding on schedule. Several speakers have already been secured. The committee is meeting regularly to continue firming up the focus and the structure. It is not too early to make your plans to attend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 7-10. Visit http://www.rsolnm.org/ for more information or to make reservations.

Electoral Committee Update
 
The electoral committee is somewhat in limbo right now. The extended deadline for nominations for four new Admin Team members expired at midnight on February 22nd, and the committee has received only three nominations. We are frankly somewhat disappointed and unsure how to proceed. We do realize that many states have been involved with legislative sessions and have therefore not had the time to make this a priority. The committee will soon have another teleconference to discuss our options and ideas, one of which is the possibility of setting another deadline which will, or course, necessitate the adjustment of our timetable. However, having quality people at the helm of RSOL takes priority over a timetable or a deadline. Watch for an announcement from your state organizer and in next month's Digest as to what decisions have been made and how we will proceed.
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