Treatment of sex offenders at issue in conference

Posting photos of sex offenders on the Internet and lumping all of those convicted of the crimes into one category is probably not keeping anyone safer, according to a member of the California board tasked with managing sex offenders.

The question of how California deals with sex offenders was under scrutiny Thursday, as dozens of professionals from social workers to law enforcement officers met in San Diego for an annual conference offered by the California Coalition on Sexual Offending.

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It was an honor to discuss registrants and how they are being affected by current laws and policies at this conference which was organized by the California Coalition on Sex Offending (CCOSO). I spoke to about 80 people including probation and parole officers and successfully conveyed the message that despite the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, registration is indeed a punishment. My message was well received by most of the attendees although a few people chose to leave the room. The most troubling thing that happened during my 90-minutes presentation was that I was told that a registrant who was to be part of my presentation could not speak because the organization’s policy forbids it. I was not told of the policy before hand. In a conference focused upon registrants, it is troubling that the organization that created the conference did not want to hear from someone who is actually experiencing the day-to-day effects of the registry.

Thank you so much for being a voice.

Thank you to Janice Belluci for your contiued Herculean efforts to champion those affected by the Registry. You were brilliant at CCOSO.
It does seem irrational for the council to refuse to hear the comments of a person actually affected by the punitive and harmful regulations that a registrant (and his family) is forced to live under.

I commend Janet Neeley for her honesty and I would hope that, as Ms. Neeley was a key player in creating the laws that she now recognizes as ineffective and harmful, she will actively work to change them.