Copy
Quote of the month:
"Celebrate endings - for they precede new beginnings." 

- Jonathan Lockwood Huie 
Reform Sex Offender Laws
January Digest, 2012

A New Year; A New Process

RSOL Admin team turns over appointment of most team members to state
                                         groups and general affiliates
 
On December 13 the present RSOL Admin Team adopted a key article in the RSOL Bylaws, laying out the process for the appointment and replacement of Admin Team members. The article provides for a nine member admin team, with state and general affiliates choosing 6 of the 9 through a system of affiliate appointed electors. Since there are only 5 Admin Team members at present, a committee of these electors will choose 4 new members as soon as possible to bring the team up to full strength of 9. 
 
The Admin Team is responsible for overall policy and direction of RSOL at a national level. So you can see how significant it is that state groups and general affiliates like the Minutemen will have majority input into RSOL direction. Please read Article III below, which lays out all the specifics about the Admin Team. We urge all affiliates to participate in this process by choosing an elector immediately, if you have not already done so, to represent your group or project on the committee of electors described in Article III. Please send your choice to Robin, who is now the facilitator of the Electoral Committee.
 
Article III—Admin Team
Membership: The Admin Team shall consist of nine (9) members and will choose from among its members an Executive Director to carry out the decisions of the Admin Team, to make day to day decisions between Admin Team meetings, and to lead RSOL. The Admin Team may reverse a decision of the Executive Director, as well as replace an Executive Director, at any time by majority vote of its members in attendance. The Admin Team shall be responsible for overall policy and direction of RSOL. The Admin Team will strive to reach consensus on important matters, but if consensus cannot be reached, decisions will be made by a majority vote of existing members. The Admin Team shall receive no compensation other than reasonable expenses for reimbursement.
Terms and Elections: Commensurate with the time that the Admin Team has a full nine (9) members, those members shall serve rotating three-year-terms, with three (3) team members standing for election each year. The Admin Team existing at the time of adoption of this article shall be brought up to its full complement of 9 members and the terms for each member determined in the following manner: At the adoption of this Article, a Committee of Electors shall be created in the following manner: Each state and general affiliate coordinator shall have the option to appoint one (1) person to the Committee of Electors. The Committee of Electors shall, with due deliberation, arrange to appoint or elect the four (4) new members of the Admin Team. At the first meeting of the full nine-member Admin Team, three (3) of its members will be assigned to a three-year-term. Three (3) more will be assigned to a two-year-term. The final three (3) will be assigned to a one-year-term. The manner for assigning the term of each member will be decided by the Admin Team. In subsequent years, a new Committee of Electors shall be responsible for electing or appointing two (2) of the three (3) seats being vacated by members of the Admin Team whose terms are ending. The third seat will be filled by the Admin Team. Members whose terms are ending may choose to present themselves to the Committee as candidates for a new term. Such members shall be subject to the same process as all other candidates for that year.
Officers: The Admin Team shall appoint from its own membership the following four (4) officers: Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Executive Director. The Executive Director may hold more than one office but not more than two.
Meetings: The Admin Team will hold regular meetings at least monthly but may meet more often if its members so choose, or at the discretion of the Chair. Meeting agendas and meeting times will be announced to all listed organizers via email at least one week prior to a regular meeting. State organizers will be encouraged to place questions and concerns on the agenda at that time. A summary report including team votes will be posted within one week following the meeting. A quorum of any Admin Team meeting shall be sixty percent (60%) of existing members. Each team member has one vote, and voting will not be allowed by proxy. A minimum of two (2) Admin Team meetings per year will be designated for state affiliates to participate so that they may address the Admin Team, ask questions, and make recommendations.

News Flash: Hot off the Press!
 
The Admin Team has just completed its work of writing, analyzing, discussing, editing, and adopting the full set of new Bylaws. Article III, the first to be adopted, is printed above. Next month's Digest issue will print a link to the full set of Bylaws, Articles I - X. They will also be available on our website. It has been a great privilege to have participated in this process. I'm thankful for the many hours of thought and contribution which have made it possible to produce the final set of Bylaws. Furthermore, I am thankful to Jennifer, Kim, Lloyd, Lila, and Mary Sue who were a part of the Bylaws Committee which was substantially responsible for the final adoption of these Bylaws. On behalf of the Admin Team--Brenda, Paul, Robert, Sandi, and myself--thank you. If you wish to contact the Admin Team, click here.
--Robin


State Reports
California
California RSOL was busy in December and will pick up the pace in January.  In December, we publicly opposed a city ordinance in Lake Forest, California, that would prohibit all registrants from visiting any of the city's 27 parks.  Twelve supporters attended the City Council meeting on December 6 ; seven people spoke in opposition to the ordinance citing low recidivism rates and the myth of stranger danger.  Although the Lake Forest City Council ignored these facts and passed the ordinance unanimously, we established a written record that could be used in a legal challenge.  At the request of local registrants, we also conducted a second meeting of RSO's, family members, and friends in Los Angeles at the ACLU building.  Speakers included psychologists, attorneys, and a local non-profit that helps registrants in their transition from prison.  In January, California RSOL will lobby the state legislature on January 17 and 18 in support of legislation that would eliminate the state's lifetime registry and replace it with a tiered registry similar to those in 46 of the nation's 50 states.  California RSOL will also make a formal presentation on January 19 to the state's Sex Offender Management Board.  Finally, California RSOL will conduct its first meeting in Sacramento for registrants on January 17.  
--Janice
 
Illinois
Anyone who is on the registry or has a friend or loved one on the registry knows that residency restrictions are one of the hardest laws to comply with. Many people are forced from their homes, many are homeless, and in Illinois, offenders are forced to move if a school, daycare, park, etc. opens within 500 feet. Despite the fact that research shows residency restrictions do not protect the public, our lawmakers continue to pass harsher laws year after year. In an effort to get this information to our legislators, Carrie spent several months locating, reading, and summarizing information that supports our claim that residency restrictions do not work. She has done an amazing job putting this booklet together, and we have started the process of passing this important research on to our lawmakers. For those interested, the booklet can be found at:
 
In order to see reform of our current laws, we need more people standing up for their rights and speaking out to their lawmakers. In an effort to do this, Will has redrafted a letter from Illinois Voices and has been sending the letter out to those on the registry encouraging them to join us in our fight. Within the last month or so, 100 letters have been sent out by Will and the responses to those letters continue to come in. Our goal is to send a letter to everyone on the registry in Illinois and encourage them and their family members to join us.
 
As the year winds down and I begin to look back at 2011, it is clear to me now how far we have come. I remember just a few years ago all I would see in my in-box were negative, terrible articles about offenders. I would read time and time again how our lawmakers were passing harsher and harsher laws. I would read all the negative comments at the end of these articles and "try" to put the facts out there in an effort to educate society. It wasn’t easy and I have to admit, it made me want to quit from time to time. I’m glad I never followed through with that. Here we are, just a few years later, and my in-box is no longer taken over by negativity – it’s filled with emails from people thanking me for what I’m doing and asking what they can do to help. It’s filled with emails from other state group leaders with success stories of stopping bad legislation or even pushing to have better legislation filed. It’s filled with articles from reporters who are finally starting to understand the reality of our laws and even more surprising, contain comments from people who do understand the truth. It’s filled with referrals and/or advice to any question one might have. It’s filled with media requests and quotes from people I’ve met along the way who are working tirelessly to educate society. And, most importantly, it’s filled with emails from friends – friends I’ve made along the way.
 
As we look back and see how the registry has continued to grow, we also see how our support has grown and how together, we can make 2012 the best year ever! Happy Holidays to everyone!
--Tonia
 
Indiana
I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays and made the best of them.  Sharing compassion and love is what the holidays bring.  INRSOL is dedicated to continue that compassion throughout 2012, as we seek support in our efforts towards reforming the laws placed on registrants. We are geared up and running with some ideas that have already been set in place for the upcoming legislative session.  Our goal this year is to repeal the residency and employment restrictions.  We have been in contact with state lawmakers and presented them with our proposals.
We wish you all the best in 2012!
--Kimberly 

Maryland
Maryland FAIR had a busy December, with our first state-wide meeting being held in Baltimore on December 3, and a holiday party on December 17. About 25 people attended the meeting, learned a bit about FAIR, and got some instruction on how to contact their elected officials. Our next meeting will be in Annapolis on January 21, with a guest speaker (Public Defender and former ACLU representative) who will prep us on giving testimonies during General Assembly.
 
Food has always been a big draw. We had about 35 people attending the party, which was a potluck. Nearly half those attending were family members of registrants. We've been encouraging more involvement from families so it was great to see so many spouses, fiances, mothers, and daughters.
 
As you can tell from the subjects of our meetings, we're gearing up for the legislative session which begins in early January. Our legislative team has been busy touching base with staffers, and preparing our message for this year. We also put out an appeal for donations last month along with our newsletter, and returns were decent. It's always a vote of confidence to see people putting money into your work.
--Brenda
 
Minnesota
I would like to inform all Minnesota supporters that after New Year day, the Minnesota Congress will start a new legislative session. Minnesota has the least restrictive sex offender laws in this country, but this may change soon. We have a large majority of the Republican party in the House of Representatives and the Senate. More and more small cities have passed residency restrictions. We need strong opposition and lobbying at congressional hearings. If you do not understand what can happen if Minnesota passes the Adam Walsh act, please contact me at estrinyefim@gmail.com  or at http://estrinyefim.newsvine.com.
--Fima
 
Missouri
MCR has continued with more interim hearings in the state capitol. We have now been through this process four times. We continue to hope that our legislators are listening. We are working in earnest as we prepare for the opening of the 2012 General Assembly in Jefferson City.

Thanks to a group of volunteers, MCR sent out Christmas cards throughout the month of December to those inmates who are on our newsletter list. We continue to send out monthly newsletters as well. Our website has  become a source of article and research information. Many visitors have joined the site.

MCR extends wishes of HOPE for the New Year to all our friends and RSOL family.
--Donna
 
New Jersey FAIR
While December has been a time for family and friends, NJ FAIR has spent time reminding and educating the public and legislators of that fact and the inequity of sex offender laws. Reminding people that sex offenders are people too and have children who miss them has been a challenge, to say the least. We were on our local radio station regarding "Incarcerated Dads."  Additionally, we networked with PA, NJMentoring, and a few new organizations.  We continue to speak to and attempt to educate and be a resource of information for the public and leaders in NJ regarding the real issues of sex offenders.  Our foci have been 1) Lifetime Parole, 2) Public Registries, 3) Civil Commitment and our newest focus 4) Polygraphs. While we were attempting to schedule a round-table forum and action group, since we had the beginnings of a good group, on LTP, we learned that SORNA may be coming up for a vote on January 10th. At this writing, we have 2 attorneys and 2 legislators looking into this matter for us. If SORNA goes directly to the floor without going to committee, that will mean that our legislators were not able to 1) really learn about SORNA and 2) call for a fiscal vote. It would be nice to have more assistance to fight this awful, emotional piece of legislation.  Any suggestions, please feel free to let us know. 
--Terry
 
North and South Dakota
It has been a very busy month reading, writing, and mailing letters of support to inmates, victims of the registry, and mailing news releases to TV stations, talk show hosts, presidential candidates, senators, and I sent a "box" of material to the senators in Washington D.C. who are studying "Sentencing Guidelines:  Breaking the Silence on Child Abuse: Protection, Prevention, Intervention, and Deterrence."
 
The highlight of December was to send a box of gifts to a five year old son of an inmate who I do not know but who wrote for support.  He is a 41 year old single parent desperately missing his son.  I purchased gifts, wrapped and labeled them "From: Daddy" and sent them to his son.  It was the most heart warming feeling knowing that in such a small way I could help bring a shred of happiness to this family.
 
With all the research I have been reading, I have found that there are statistics from research studies, and most state the fact that cognitive behavior therapy is the best treatment for offenders. I personally am advocating that laws be changed to mandatory treatment (for any sex crime) versus incarceration and allow competent sex specific therapists to determine if an accused offender is a threat to society BEFORE he is labeled in the eyes of the media, public, the legal system, and the whole family is labeled for life.
 
If Congress would replace "the tool" they have provided to perpetrators to commit some of these crimes, I am convinced we would see a decrease.  The tool used:  "If you tell, bad things will happen, the family will be divided, and I will have to go to jail," must be replaced with:  "If you tell, I will have to go to the hospital and change my behavior OR go to jail."  Children want the behavior changed, not the loss of family.  The family must be the first priority and allowed to stay intact to support each other with compassion and forgiveness as they navigate through the system.  "When The Power of Love Overcomes The Love of Power" we will be families again.  Thank you to everyone who continues to fight for the rights of families! 

Merry Christmas, HOPE, and Happy New Year to ALL!
--Georgina 
 
Oklahoma
We're busy preparing for the 2012 session, which will start in February. They've already introduced bills increasing the penalty for failure to report child sexual abuse and creating a civil commitment system. So far we've not seen the bill we're expecting about employer and vehicle description. 
 
We're also planning our second face to face meeting of the administrative team for Jan. 19 to prepare for lobbying and fund raising in 2012.
 
A meeting with the head of SO treatment for DOC (which currently is unfunded) and the head of SO support for a Tulsa reentry ministry was very positive. There are possibilities for a public forum on sex offender issues in the spring, and the DOC rep will help us with information to combat the civil commitment bill. 
 
A second edition of the newsletter has gotten good response. We've received several donations, and a number of interest area surveys have been returned as well as print and on-line surveys about the effect of listing employer info on the website. 
--Rebecca
 
Oregon
At its recent meeting in December, Oregon Voices reviewed the proposals by the legislative work-group regarding reforms to the Oregon sex offender registry.  The essence of the proposal is to move away from an offense-based system and toward a risk-based system.  Different levels of registration and opportunities for relief from registration would be available for different risk levels.  Although many details remain to be worked out, Oregon Voices believes this is a big step in the right direction.  The current plan is to present this for legislative action in the session beginning in February 2013.  In the meantime, this acts as a bulwark against the development of legislation that would make Oregon’s registry more punitive. Oregon Voices’ report on this proposal is available upon request.  
--Shelley
 
Question: Where is the Land of Enchantment?
Answer: New Mexico!!

It's not too soon to plan for RSOL's 4th annual conference to be held September 7-10, 2012, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The hosts, RSOL - New Mexico, and the Conference Planning Committee are already busy organizing and planning the expanded, three-day conference. For more information or to make reservations, go to http://www.rsolnm.org.             

Correspondence Committee


One of the most enjoyed tasks of the Correspondence Committee is putting together and publishing the Digest each month, and one of the most enjoyed aspects of that is distributing it to men and women behind bars. The largest number are sent by postal mail in print form by our Prison Project affiliate. Roughly 400 of these are sent to those incarcerated in prisons across the country.
 
A smaller number are sent to federal prisoners electronically through the Corrlinks program. We started with two or three; we now have 30, and every time an issue goes out, new requests come in.
 
Within the past two weeks, something besides requests came in; I had frequent messages in my in-box that new messages were waiting for me at Coorlinks. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed at the content of these messages, and I want to share some of them with all reading this. Even though everyone included his name, I am publishing them anonymously to protect the privacy of these men and their families.
 
To All:
Another year is down and a new one is on its way. I wanted to send a 'Thank You' out to all of you who support and care for us in here. I hope that your holidays are blessed and that you and your families are blessed as well! I look forward to the New Year in hopes of becoming a better person and making a difference in the world. Peace to all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Yours,
 
HI; I just wanted to drop you a quick line and wish you, your staff, and family and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
 
Hi,
Just wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years.
I hope you and families have a wonderful day!
 
Hello,
I wanted to wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!!  I wanted to personally thank you for everything you do on behalf of all the inmates around the country.  You Have no idea how much it means to know you have someone out there who understands what its like to be incarcerated.  
 
Hi all,
Since I don't have a Hallmark Store here at Elkton-FSL, I thought that I would send along an email card.  Next year, I'll get you something that you can put above your mantle.
I hope the next several days gives each of you a chance to spend time with your families and friends, appreciate the closeness that you have with each of them, renew old bonds, and reflect on the year that has been.
As we exchange gifts, let's remember the real gift that this season and Christmas day represent. 
As we move into a New Year, let's pray for leadership and the personal strength that will transform the world into the place that we all know it can be and that we would have it be.  And may the warm feelings that this season bring, stay with you all through the year.
Those are my wishes for you all.
Peace and love,

Message from Women Against Registry

--provided by Michael Woodall, Toastmaster's Club and motivational presenter at 2011 RSOL National Conference

As we embark on this New Year, let us be clear! You are not alone! Sometimes you feel just as I do, as I sit in this garage, by myself, typing away on this key pad. But I know, and let there be no doubt, I am not alone. I have many warriors looking out for me. And so do YOU!!
 
Sometimes the stigma and the pain are too much to bear. So we slide into our cave, hoping no one finds out. Inside our cave, we are limited to the power of the internet only. The real power is outside of the cave, interacting with other people, plugging in to society, sharing with other humans the pain we are experiencing as individuals, the collateral damage to our families and loved ones and as a group. It’s amazing how delicate and open the human heart is when approached. Roll the stone from the cave, step out, step up, and stand tall. Say, “Hello world, listen to what has happened to me, my family, and many others throughout our communities.” Share your pain. Talk about it with anyone who will listen. Join social groups or even run for city council.
 
When will you be ready for the battle that you know deep within must take place? Are you waiting for someone else to step from the cave first?  
 
You will be ready when you take yourself out of the equation, when you believe that, regardless of the risk, you are going to fight back; then will your warrior journey begin! Life outside this cave cannot be worse than the life inside. 
 
Words are the most powerful element of the human being. God spoke the world into existence. We were all made in His image. So let the God from within us all speak out loud and clear. Our internet voice, although a powerful one indeed, is not all that is required from us. Get eyeball to eyeball with other humans in the world, not out of anger or bitterness, because “...they know not what they do,” but with peace and love that is the inherent element in each of us. We can forgive and love while speaking the ignorance of our enemy away.
 
Martin Luther King and Ghandi are just two of the mighty warriors of the past. The goal of the Beloved Community in the world may not have been attained in their lifetime. However, the baton of the good race has been passed. Let there be no doubt that 2012 is the year that CHANGE WILL COME!

It is simple, my fellow comrades. We will attain our destiny,  One conversation at a time, One word at a time, just as those before us did, by increasing our numbers … One at a time.
  
To all of the volunteers of W.A.R., RSOL and affiliates, you are my champions, my warriors, and, I sometimes feel,  my only hope. From the deepest part of everything that I am, thanks for taking issue with the laws, the media, and the public perception, not just for what you do for me, but for what you are doing for our entire nation. Injustice to One is injustice to all. 
 
I Am One
Michael Woodall

 
Copyright © 2011 *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.