Monday, March 15, 2010

News From Great Britian

I came across the link to this story on Free Range Kids, a must read if you haven't found this blog yet. They titled their story with "What will they think of next?" I wonder when we will hear this of a scheme like as the newest best way to monitor people who come into contact with our children? They've taken it from a list of Former Offenders online to one where everyone can be checked. Potentially even reporting false or unfounded accusations as facts. Read on.....

Wednesday 3 March 2010 The paedophile panic: a product of elite hysteria

The government’s sex offenders disclosure scheme should remind us that it isn’t ‘the mob’ who are obsessed with paedos (not a misspelling but the way they spell it in the UK).
Tim Black

And so the British authorities’ sick obsession with child sex abuse continues.
After a year-long pilot in Warwickshire, Stockton-on-Tees and parts of Cambridgeshire, the UK Home Office’s sex offender disclosure scheme is set to go nationwide. What this means is that parents will be able to get information from the police about anyone who has access to their children. In short, they can check whether that person is a threat to their child – that is, whether they are a paeodophile. A kindly neighbour offering sweets, the guy who plays football with the kids at the local park, the woman at the nearby newsagents… it’s official: all can now be legitimately viewed as potential threats to YOUR children.
For deathly-looking home secretary Alan Johnson the rolling out of the sex offender disclosure scheme was akin to the launch of a new fleet of luxury, ocean-going ships: ‘The UK already has one of the most robust systems in the world for the management of sex offenders’, he announced yesterday, with barely concealed pride. ‘We’ve already seen that children are better protected and sex offenders more effectively managed because of this scheme, which is why it is rolling out nationwide.’
Yet despite the rhetorical appeal to ‘protection’ or ‘safety’, these kinds of measures do not reassure people. In fact, they do precisely the opposite: they encourage fear and foster suspicion. They suggest that if people aren’t worried about the lolly-pop man, or the neighbour offering to run the kids to school, they ought to be. To not fear, to not suspect other adults, is subtly transformed from being a recognition of commonality and basic human solidarity into an abrogation of parental responsibility.
Not that we should be surprised by the Home Office’s willingness to inculcate and institutionalise fear and suspicion. The paedophile panic, right from its emergence in its current form during the 1980s, was always an elite panic, a hysteria endorsed and exacerbated by – in no particular order – government officials, police officers, social workers, left-wing activists, children’s charities and both the broadsheet and tabloid press. The obsession with child sex abuse was not, as we are sometimes led to believe, a popular phenomenon: it did not arise in the depths of the social world, it trickled down from the top.
After all, as Brendan O’Neill wrote four years ago, it wasn’t the mob who, in the 1980s, rounded up adults in Cleveland, believing them to be practising ritual Satanic abuse of children. That was the act of social workers. And it wasn’t a paedo-suspecting mass who spent time churning out verbiage on the supposed existence of Satanic and witchcraft sects. That was the work of Marxism Today.
During the 1990s the same pattern of elite-sponsored fear and the subsequent issuing of false accusations was all too apparent. And again, it wasn’t local communities coming together to unmask the paedophiles at nearby children’s homes, such as Bryn Estyn in North Wales – it was an unholy alliance of purpose-seekers, from the police to left-leaning journalists. Dave Jones, then the manager of Southampton Football Club, was only the most famous casualty of these witch-hunts; the lives of many more innocent, well-intentioned care workers were also tainted with the nasty, grubby suspicions of officials and journalists.
However, these wrong-headed, pernicious pursuits of fantasy child sex abusers did nothing to dampen the ardour of the paedophile-obsessed. In the UK, we now have that unwieldy testament to elite suspicion, the Sex Offenders Register, a document that defies both natural justice, inasmuch as punishment is lifelong, and common sense, given the sheer range of offenders listed. And since 2006, any adult who works with children, anywhere from schools to youth clubs, now has to be vetted. Thanks to the Home Office, and the army of campaign groups such as the NSPCC, suspecting another adult of being a paedophile is not exceptional – it is routine.
The fact that even the popular face of the campaign behind the sex offender disclosure scheme, Sara Payne (the mother of Sarah Payne, the young girl killed in 2001 by a convicted paedophile), was chosen by the government as its official Victim Champion, illustrates the elite origins of this sorry fascination with child sex abuse. It must be galling for the Home Office, then, that despite the formalisation of suspicion and fear, despite the almost-weekly press releases by those scaremongers-in-chief at the NSPCC, so few people actually bothered to take advantage of the sex offender disclosure scheme during its trial. In fact, there were only 315 applications over a whole year, a figure so low that even the Home Office wondered whether the scheme was worth it.
The Home Office, campaign groups, charities, tabloids and broadsheets seem oblivious to the fact that their attempts to ‘protect children’ not only have a limited effect – they also corrode adult relationships. One does not just suspect the dodgy-looking fella at the park; one is encouraged to suspect neighbours and even friends. These measures undermine trust. Trusting another adult, whether the neighbour with the sweets or the guy at the park, is not something that can be guaranteed by an official intermediary, police or otherwise. It relies, rather, on assuming that other adults are like oneself and will behave likewise. And given that almost all of us are not interested in sexually abusing children, why should we constantly suspect others?
Tim Black is senior writer at spiked.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Maine Conference?

The group Georgian's For Reform just held their first ever statewide conference. I find this idea intriquing and am now wondering if Maine can pull off something simular? I'd need a lot of help not only in organizing the event but in deciding who to invite to speak to us. Then there is finding a venue and getting the word out. If any of you have any ideas please let me know by e-mailing me at or by sending a letter to Citizen's for Change-Maine, P.O. Box 611, Bridgton, Maine 04009.
Below is Georgia's report on their event.....

Georgians For Reform
Education, Awareness, and Treatment

To all State organizers,
Over the past years I have been challenged by various State Organizers to accomplish various things from letter and email campaigns to conference attendance and listening to radio programs.
We at Georgians For Reform have participated in these various challenges in our effort to accomplish the unified goal.
Yesterday, we took an additional step.
Yesterday, 6 March 2010, Georgians For Reform held a 12 hour conference in the State Capital.  Our attendance was over 180.
Our speakers included a District Attorney who participated in writing the original legislation that created the registry in Georgia, a Defense Attorney who addressed the ex post facto aspects of the registry, a Lobbyist, lawyer, and sociologist who spoke to the wrong directions taken by the registry and thus its detrimental effects on those registered and society as a whole and its consequent ineffectiveness, Religious Leaders who spoke to the Challenge presented by the registry to the faith community, Prison Counselors and Prison Chaplains who spoke to the reality of the registry for those incarcerated and released, and Paul Shannon who established the national presence of RSOL. 
Every speaker, including the attorney who participated in the original legislation, told us the registry is failed policy and is punishment.
In addition to those presented above, CNN sent a reporter to chronicle the event.
To put close to 190 people, the majority of who are not on the registry, in the state of Georgia, leaves no room for anyone to say it cannot be done, that the onerous nature of the registry presents too many hurdles to such an event, must now explain how Georgians For Reform accomplished this signature event.
Now, Georgians For Reform issues its own challenge.
Georgians For Reform challenges every State Affiliate and every partner of RSOL to hold a conference with equal visibility in their state.  We have moved the ball, we need each and every state and partner to keep it rolling until we gain the momentum to defeat this failed policy and create a policy that makes communities safer, protects children, and recognizes the rights of people to heal and move forward in their life.

Kelly R Piercy
Georgians For Reform

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Open Letter to John Walsh

One of  Virginia's RSOL members sent this letter to John Walsh through his America's Most Wanted website. I found his words so meaningful and powerful that I had to share it with you all. Please repost this everywhere, make it so he cannot ignore our message! Thank you....

  Mr. Walsh,

Your efforts to promote AWA are clearly contrary to seeking justice. Consider this definition - “Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.” – Theodore Roosevelt.  If you actually understood justice rather than vengeance, you would use the role in which you have been placed to demand changes to AWA that are based on public safety.  AWA and attitudes expressed by uninformed media have created sex offender registries and residence requirements that research proves are simply "failed by choice" legislation.  Why would you choose to fail?  Read Dr. Richard G. Wright's book, "Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions."  Will you spend the rest of your life seeking vengeance or seeking justice.  God has given you that choice.

These are words we all need to remember, God has given us a choice... to stand up and speak out or hide and hope AWA simply goes away

Important, A Must Read!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Study: Actuarials fail to predict sexually violent recidivism

In a new prospective study out of Austria, none of the actuarial instruments commonly used to predict sex offender recidivism were able to predict sexually violent recidivism among a group of sex offenders released from prison after treatment.

The interesting study, just published in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, was designed to validate German versions of commonly used actuarial tools, including the Static-99, RRASOR, SORAG, and SVR-20. It followed about 400 Austrian prisoners for an average of three years in the community.

The main problem obtaining significant results was that recidivism was so rare. Obviously, the less likely an event is to occur, the harder it is to accurately predict. Only seven offenders in the entire sample committed a new hands-on offense during the followup period, and most of those were extrafamilial child molesters. Recidivism base rates were especially low for rapists and incest offenders.

The results echoed findings in two other recent studies in which the actuarials failed to demonstrate good predictive validity for predicting sexually violent reoffending.

Most of the instruments did better when recidivism was defined more broadly, to include all sexual reconviction, even hands-off offenses such as voyeurism or exhibitionism that is not typically defined as sexually violent under civil commitment laws. Even including these lesser offenses, the overall base rate for all sexual recidivism among this sample was still quite low, 4.3% (12% among extrafamilial child molesters, 1.7% among rapists, and about 1% among incest offenders).

When extrafamilial child molesters -- the group most likely to reoffend -- were examined separately, all of the instruments except the RRASOR had some predictive utility, with the SVR-20 doing the best. Still, neither the Static-99 (the most widely used actuarial tool) nor the RRASOR could significantly predict sexually violent reoffenses even for that relatively higher-risk group.

"From the results of these studies and of the present study, the actuarial prediction of some reoffence categories in at least some offender subtypes is less accurate than generally assumed,” the authors concluded. "One major aim of most criminal justice systems is to calculate risk by predicting the probability of severe sexual crimes. This goal obviously is not yet achieved satisfactorily by actuarial risk assessment, because results are far from ideal, especially when time-at-risk periods are relatively short."

An important implication of this study is that evaluators need to consider offender subgroups separately, rather than lumping all types of sex offenders together. Recidivism varies tremendously by type of offender (e.g., rapists versus child molesters) and by how recidivism is defined, with the various instruments doing better at some types of predictions than others. Furthermore, so little outcome research exists on certain groups (such as hands-off offenders, juveniles, the intellectually disabled, and offenders with only adult male victims) that the actuarials may be inappropriate to use at all.

The study is:

Rettenberger, M., Matthes, A., Boer, D.P., & Eher, R. (2010).
Prospective Actuarial Risk Assessment: A Comparison of Five Risk Assessment Instruments in Different Sexual Offender Subtypes. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 54 , 169-186.

Hat tip: Jeffrey Singer

FURTHER READING: For those of you interested in the actuarials, I also recommend "More prejudicial than probative?," a stastical critique by David J. Cooke, a forensic psychology professor in Glasgow who is an expert scholar and trainer on violence risk assessment. Cooke argues that the actuarials are compelling because they are simple to use by paraprofessionals and have a scientific veneer, but "the scientific basis for actuarial scales, as applied to individuals, may be more illusory than real." The article, in the journal of the Law Society of Scotland, is available online. It also includes useful references to other sources.

Monday, March 1, 2010

One Family's Story

I am in the process of collecting people's stories. My plan is to collect as many as I can and make up a booklet that can be used when communitcating with Lawmakers and others. The other day I was sent this story. These kinds of unintended consequences are the very reason I am fighting for change. We need laws that actually do something to protect kids like educational programs, therapy and support. If you want to contribute to my project please send an e-mail to me at Thanks

My husband was 18 when he had consensual sex with a 17 year old at a campus party that was at his dorm. The 17 year old said that she went to the college, but in fact she was in highschool. While at the campus party there was booze and the two had some drinks and eventually had sex. The party got raided because, one it was in a dorm and involved several rooms, and two there was alcohol present. When the police showed up, they were searching for the person responsible for providing alcohol for minors. All ID's were being checked. While my husband and the female were sleeping in one of the rooms, the police showed up and asked for their ID's. When it was discovered that the female was 17 and that they were having drinks, the state picked up the case for having sex with a minor. She did not want to press charges because she admitted to drinking and having sex. But, since it was against the law the case was picked up by the state and my husband got convicted for five years probation, commuinty service and 5 years registration. After three years, they passed the new sex offender laws ( The Adam Walsh Act) and he was grandfathered onto the registry for life. It has been almost 15 years later and he is still paying for his crime. We have been married for 14 years and have three children. He is not allowed to have lunch with them unless they are moved to a secluded room and monitored by administration. In some states where we have moved to, they required community notification and had residency restriction laws. These Laws cause humiliation and others then pass judgments on him and us as his family. He has had to turn down jobs because of theresidency restriction laws and we have had to "settle" for neighborhoods that are not near any school or daycare. I do not have the priviledge of choosing where I want to live, so that we live in a great neighborhood or one that allows my kids to go to a good school. These laws violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights put forth by the United Nations. They don't differentiate betwwen dangerous and non-dagerous former sex offenders. We deserve to be allowed the chance to provide the best lifestlye we can, like any other family is able to do. It is time to reform these laws so that it only reflects those who are dangerous, not to the many who have no earthly desire to rape or molest a child. I can assure you my husband is not looking for his next victim, he just wants to get on with his life with his family at his side.