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General News

Report Recommends Significant Registration Changes

Three prominent social workers, including Jill Levenson, recommend significant changes in “sex offender” registries in a recently released report. The recommended changes are

(1) juveniles should be dropped from “sex offender” registries,
(2) the length of registration should be guided by risk assessment research,
(3) procedures for relief and removal should be available,
(4) discretion should be returned to judges and
(5) residency restrictions should be abolished.

The recommendations are based upon several factors, including that while “registries make people feel safer, the data indicate that their actual effectiveness in preventing sexual recidivism is quite weak”. The report also notes that federal government data show that “having to register as a sex offender did not lead to significant reductions in sex offense recidivism”.

According to the report, the “unique label of sex offender” profoundly obstructs the ability of a registrant to successfully re-enter society due to employment difficulties, housing disruption, relationship loss, threats and harassment as well as property damage. The report also states that registrants often suffer from “psychosocial symptoms” such as shame, stigma, isolation, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. Further, these impacts often extend to family members who report “financial, practical, social and psychological effects” as well as threats and harassment by community members and social rejection of children by teachers and classmates.

The report also addresses the fiscal considerations of registration about which “law enforcement agents and others have expressed concerns” due to fiscal and workforce demands.

“Resources spent on policies that overextend their reach while failing to enhance public safety take funding away from other rehabilitation and reintegration programs as well as from victim services and prevention initiatives”. The report advocates a “paradigm shift toward empirically-based sex offender management systems which could prove more cost-efficient than current policies.
The report unequivocally supports the abolition of residency restrictions because they “demonstrate no evidence of preventing recidivistic sex crimes”. The report notes that individuals “do not abuse children because they live near schools or parks”.

Full Report

Join the discussion

  1. Robert Curtis

    …(6) The registry (if we must have one) should be only for those on probation or parole.

    …Once off probation/parole the registry requirement ends! The sex offender registry is a form of informal parole/probation regardless of what it’s called…The affects are the same. There is a thing called life-time parole and there are are also still civil commitment laws…Why again do we have a sex offender registry?

    • HOOKSCAR

      Now there’s a report that can be used in the IML lawsuit.

    • Kyle

      About 7 years ago, i was regularly downloading and looking at nude pictures of underage European models. My wife (now divorced) found out and told her mother, and together they turned me in to the police.

      My life was destroyed. I lost my wife, my house, my engineering career, all kinds of money, and even did some jail time. I also had no contact with minors (including my own little brother!) which tore my social life apart. But i probably deserved all that. I was a selfish idiot. My wife begged the system to back off, but it was too late.

      After jail, i began treatment and 5 years of probation. I also began registering as a sex offender, which i must do for the rest of my life. This was a first offense. Before this, i had a clean criminal background.

      Treatment was group therapy, once a week for almost 2 years. $50 a class plus a quarterly processing fee ($75 i think?). Started out with a few private sessions ($75 each) and some personality tests ($200). There were also lie detector tests and plethesmograph tests.
      The full disclosure polygraph ($300) covers every sexual experience in your entire life. You must pass one of these to compete treatment.
      While in treatment, you can’t use alcohol, can’t use any pornography, must disclose everything do and everywhere you go, and take regular polygraphs ($200 each) to prove you are following every rule. If you fail, it is a probation violation and you go to jail.
      The plethesmograph test ($250 each) involves putting a mercury strain gage around the penis to measure even the slightest arousal, and then making the subject watch and listen to many different sexual stimuli, some appropriate (like a consenting adult) and some very inappropriate (like raping a little child). The images used in this test are extremely graphic and way worse than anything i ever downloaded. Any sign of arousal to any “deviant” scenario is an automatic fail. You cannot compete treatment unless you pass one of these tests and show no deviant arousal.
      Then you have an exit exam ($75) and some more personality tests ($200) to take. And if you are current on all these fees and jump through all these hoops, you can complete treatment like i did.

      And then, when your probation ends (it will not end unless you compete the above treatment, which many cannot complete) you are still the scum of the earth. A child sex offender.

      I am very fortunate to have picked up the pieces as well as i have. I just wish society would give me a second chance after all i have went through. I am not a threat to society.
      By the way, the traumatic legal experience (i was facing 5 years in prison as a child sex offender!) also left me with PTSD.
      This country is so broken.

      • Kennerly's Patented Mercury Strain Gauges For UNIQUE & NOVEL Purposes!

        I was fortunate to have been tormented at a time and place (San Francisco, early-to-mid-90s) when I could exhibit open contempt for their “treatment” programs (loved to openly mock Tom Tobin), laugh-and-tug inappropriately at their absurdist strain gauges while gazing on what had to be the least stimulating images ever, and not have to pay a dime for the privilege of pariah-hood.

        • Timmr

          I was ABEL to see the absurdity of having a machine tell you what you are attracted to. That dark humor kept me from emotionally imploding. The machines are psycology on the cheap for sex therapists, they don’t need to think. Yet in the early 2000’s they made us pay for the privilege. That cost for these tests, intruments, was torture for one already deeply in debt because of my mistake. I don’t know how my family was able to eat.

  2. Nicholas Maietta

    Amazing how long it takes for these problems to be recognized.

    • Matt Duhamel

      I agree. Unfortunately, things like this take so much time for people to understand there are many ineffective laws dealing with registered citizens.

      Thank you to Jill Levenson and the other social workers for recommending these significant changes to a system that does not work.

  3. wonderin

    This is exactly what I want the psychological community to do even more of by stepping up to the plate and yelling “Foul” when they should.

    • November

      I would caution giving “experts” such as Levenson too much credit. The mere fact Levenson praises the Static-99R scam using studies written by the Static’s very own “developers” (Karl Hanson, David Thornton, and Helmus) should be a very clear red flag. At best, it’s a sloppy reference to biased material. At worst, it might be indicative of some bias or hidden motive that Levenson might hold for using such dubious actuarial risk assessments.

      We should really be questioning why Levenson decided to blindly cite four studies by Hanson, Thornton, and Helmus when praising the Static-99R’s pretended accuracy. As many of us already know, the Static is a big scam.

      Why Levenson did not instead decide to critique the Static for its countless flaws is beyond me.

      • Leslie

        I’m going to go out on a limb and hypothesize that Levenson and the other authors of this paper endorsed the STATIC 99 scam to appear more intelligent by challenging the status quo. In theory, a “risk” based registry, based on ostensibly “scientific” actuarial ‘risk’ assessment instruments, SEEM as the better alternative. In reality, when the STATIC scam is applied, it yields less than chance accuracy in “predicting” recidivists within a five year period (about 20 percent). At 10 years, the STATIC scam is about 5 percent accurate. And at 17 years, the STATIC scam’s “high risk sex offender” label is zero percent accurate for a person who does not repeat while free in the community during those 17 years. These are troubling facts ignored by Levenson in this report. Rather, Levenson and her fellow authors made the questionable decision to cite Hanson, Thornton and Helmus — who all have a conflict of interest as “developers” of the STATIC 99 scam — to endorse this pseudo psychology fraud.

  4. Rick

    1). They can’t even decide who is a juvenile.
    2). Risk assessment research is pseudo scientific garbage
    3). The procedures for removal and relief even if standardized are tilted to the supporters of registries and biased
    4). Hmm, “judges should be given discretion?” No way, each judge rules differently on every case, and they’re not qualified to make mental\criminal health decisions and never were.
    5). It’s the only thing they got right

    I bet when the children of RC’s grow up they get even with these people, because we all know they’re being discriminated against, treated differently, not just by other kids, but teachers and others alike. Yea, one day they will get even with you scum bag people. Breed the hate, it will bite you sooner or later. Social workers are some of the most vile, selfish, people I’ve ever encountered. They think tax payer money belongs to them and we are just beggars for benefits we are entitled to because we helped pay for them. Their research and opinions with the exception of ending residency restrictions is more registry nonsense. What can you expect from people who work for the government of slavery we have now.

  5. The Static-99R Is A Scam

    Citing this study by Levenson, Grady, and Leibowitz:

    “The world’s leading researchers on sex offender risk and recidivism have been conducting longitudinal research for over two decades and have developed, refined, and validated actuarial risk assessment tools (such as the Static-99-R) that demonstrate predictive ability to screen offenders into relative
    risk categories (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2009; Hanson & Thornton, 1999; Hanson, Thornton, Helmus, & Babchishin, 2015; Helmus et al., 2012).”

    So the authors of this study cites studies done by Hanson, Thornton and Helmus — who are, not coincidentally, “developers” of the Static-99R — to “demonstrate predictive ability” to make the recommendations showing the Static-99R’s “accuracy” in this report?

    Why did they not pick a less biased source to analyze the accuracy and GREAT limitations of the Static-99R’s methodology?

    What this report fails to mention is that when the Static-99R is examined for ostensible “accuracy,” labeled “high-risk” sex offenders show about 20 percent accuracy within a scope of five-years. At 10-years, high-risk sex offenders show about five percent accuracy. And at 17-years, the ‘high-risk’ label is not at all accurate. So at best, at least within a five-year scope, the Static will only accurately flag about ONE OUT OF FIVE offenders. So, within a five-year period, for every four incorrectly flagged high-risk sex offenders, only one is correctly flagged.

    At 10-years, the Static-99R is only about five percent accurate. So at best, at least within a 10-year scope, the Static will only accurately flag about FIVE OUT OF 100 offenders. So, within a five-year period, for every 95 inaccurately flagged high-risk sex offenders, only five is correctly flagged

    And again, at the 17-year mark, the high-risk sex offender label is not at all accurate.

    Someone tell me how the Static-99R is able to “demonstrate predictive ability?”

    • jeremy y.

      Another flaw to the Static 99R scam is it doesn’t purport to predict *severity* of future offense and/or even *dangerousness*. Exactly what does the static advertise to “predict?” Just general sex recidivism, which can range from non-contacts like exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism burglary… all the way to violent crimes like rape and child molestation. The static offers too broad of “prediction” generalization. And after five-years the static is pretty much worthless. But when you read the static’s norms and prediction tables, the static creators seem to compound recidivism figures to make the rates seem higher over time. Is anyone gonna call the static fraudsters out on this?

  6. Joseph

    OH GREAT! Another bogus study praising bogus “risk” assessments like the Static 99R scam. I have respect for Jill Levenson, as she has generally released fair scholarly material that help our civil rights cause. But do these “researchers,” including Levenson, not see the future negative effect of praising the Static 99R scam? By advocating use of the Static 99R scam, they are perversely creating a new problem altogether! The fact that these three authors cite FOUR bogus studies by Hanson, Thornton, and Helmus — who are all created the Static 99 scam — shows that Levenson relied on biased sources to make the conclusion that the Static 99R is able to ‘demonstrate predictive ability,’ when it totally does not. Respectfully, less that chance statistics is not ‘predictive ability.’ Better off flipping a coin.

    • authors of this 'report' cite biased studies by Static-99R's own creators

      That’s true. In this report, Jill Levenson, Melissa Grady, and George Leibowitz make the claim that the Static-99R scam “demonstrate predictive ability to screen offenders.” Yet the claim is based off of studies by R. Karl Hanson, David Thornton, L. Maaike Helmus.

      Hanson, Thornton, and Helmus are three of the five Static-99R scam creators/”developers”/”advisory board” members. Look for yourself:

      http://www.static99.org/board_bios.html

      Hardly seems like non-biased material to predicate such audacious claims. The Static-99R scam does not have Minority Report ‘predictive’ ability. The Static-99R is junk pseudo science. The mere fact Levenson et al. relied on the Static-99R’s own ‘developers” findings should bring to question whether “risk assessments” are truly accurate, especially when applied to terms longer than five-years.

      Certainly, ‘developers’ Hanson, Thornton, and Helmus have vested interest in creating studies that validate their very own pseudo “actuarial risk assessment.” For Levenson et al. to make their claims on a finding whilst ignoring Hanson et al.’s vested interest brings into question the premise of whether the Static scam truly ‘demonstrate predictive ability to screen offenders.’

      Levenson should have relied on studies without any of the Static scam ‘developers’ in its authorship. For example, there is one study published in the top-tier medical publication: The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. The authors include two Professors of Psychiatry from USC’s Keck School of Medicine, a Research Scientist from the University of Washington, and the DSM Task Force Chairperson and Professor Emeritus from Duke Medical School. In case you didn’t know, the “DSM” — or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual — is also known as the “Bible of Psychiatry. (BTW… USC, University of Washington, and Duke Medical School are all top-tier institutions.)

      All four professors find that the Static-99R is “dubious.”

      In the publication, the Professors state that “[a]part from the dizzying number of risk scores and qualifications, the validity of the [Static-99R’s] risk scores themselves is dubious, given different definitions of recidivism in the norming samples, lack of clarity in statistical methods, and an overreliance on unpublished manuscripts and presentations to document methods.”

      The esteemed Professors conclude: “Although they purport to be empirically based, the current Static-99 and its newer iteration, the Static-99R, violate the basic tenets of evidence-based medicine that require reasoned, not mechanical, application of group findings to the individual. Two core elements must be present to apply an actuarial risk model to a specific individual: sample representativeness and uniform measurement of outcome. Both of these elements are lacking in Static-99 and Static-99R research reviews.”

      Source: http://jaapl.org/content/jaapl/38/3/400.full.pdf

      No offense… but obviously, I’m going to believe esteemed Professors from USC, Duke, and the University of Washington over some pseudo psychologists from some podunk schools.

  7. G4Change

    From their mouths to God’s ears…

  8. Rick

    You know, I routinely reject and berate the use of any form of predictive pseudo-science or tools in making determinations about risk and reoffense. My major argument has always been that once a person is released from incarceration or is free to be in society no law can prevent them from committing a crime, and it is an indisputable fact. Even so, there are those persons who claim their research is valid and reliable, despite the fact that statistics from around the country demonstrate their use of predictive tools are not valid or reliable. This is a major concern, because they are the persons whose opinions are most accepted by politicians and judges, and they earn large sums of money for those opinions.

    A CASE ANALYSIS

    For the sake of argument, I will concede that there are some persons who will reoffend, and that it is predictable, based upon their societal history; and of course there are exceptions to every possible scenario. For instance, a serial adult or minor rapist offender of non family members would likely reoffend if the circumstances enabled them too. It’s that simple. It demonstrates they have acquired a pathological condition. Especially if they used actual violence, force or weapons, and abduction and killing of a person is a clear sign of a total loss of control. On the other hand if the offenses did not involve sexual intercourse, actual violence, weapons and force, abduction or death, the likelihood is greatly reduced, since this person clearly has control and borders they are not willing to cross, such as a “toucher.”

    1) In those cases involving date rape, statutory rape, consensual sexual abuse, a predictive best guess scenario would have to be made based upon number of convictions, length of time of involvement with the person, a persons societal and familial relationships history, type of punishment imposed, alcohol or drugs used during the act, and of course nature of the acts, to include frequency. Frequency provides a determination of the necessity or desire for the act. High frequency indicates high need and excited or lack of control tendencies, low frequency indicates low need or more controlled and reduced tendencies. Which would seem plausible to determine risk of recidivism?

    Based upon the above information, a general assessment can be made in regard to alleged predictive analysis.

    2) In all of these cases, a claim of public safety has been made to permit the registries to exist, however, there are clear differences between public offenses and familial offenses. Public offenses include all acts against persons outside of the offenders blood family members. Private offenses include all acts against persons in the offenders blood line family.

    3) In the case of stranger or non familial acts an assessment would have to considered a greater need. This deals with public safety almost exclusively. Therefore, the case could be made for non dehumanizing civil commitment, or longer terms of supervision. But, registries are unnecessary because they provide no protection against this form of offender should they elect to reoffend. And state and national conviction or sex offense websites are easily accessed to determine who a person may be dating or associating with. Now if the public is too lazy or ignorant to use them, then nothing will help them.

    4) In the case of private or family acts these are acts that fall almost exclusively to situations of excessive infatuation, control, stress, or incidental events. In these cases the awareness of the charges and conviction are sufficient for most families to prevent any further interaction between these persons, including orders of protection, and societal pressures. And again, registries are unnecessary since these acts rarely extend to acts against the public or non family members.

    If you think this analysis is helpful your welcome, if you compare and contrast it against static or other predictive tools you will find some similarities, but also many differences. In any case, as stated there are exceptions to any scenario, but it is my opinion that the facts support this case analysis.

    • abolishtheregistry.com

      “based upon their societal history; and of course there are exceptions to every possible scenario. ”

      Yes IF their history has multiple cases but if that’s the case, more time is warranted? The registry does nothing to prevent a repeat offender from doing a criminal act again so it’s still useless. The only way to stop someone is to up their time away from society or to try and reintegrate them into society.

      There’s no proof however that being on the registry is the reason people don’t reoffend as some of the “scientists” try and suggest. Its more correlation without proof of causation. It could just as well be that once you’ve committed the crime, you realise your error and have no desire to make it again. Or that you were drugged up, drunk or something else impaired your judgement. I’m not trying to minimize the gravity of anyone’s crime but as the numbers scream, there just aren’t many of “us” that go on to do anything else. No need for 17 years to figure that out with reoffense rates at minute percentages. I frankly think anyone that pushes a registry after knowing the reoffense rates hover at usually less than 5%, well I’ve made myself clear as to what I think of them in other posts.

      As for a 99r assessment type scam…. It’s obviously bullshit. They say you’re likely to reoffend based on this or that yet if any of that were true, we’d be seeing large amounts going right back to back up their claims. Ain’t happening. So watch for anyone pushing anything like it. It should be a red flag.

  9. American Detained in America

    Here’s something they should add…those convicted of crimes where there is no real “victim” should be removed from the registry.

    • LM

      The whole kit and caboodle needs to be scuttled!

      Giving one group an advantage over another is wrong.

      People who have been convicted and did their time, should be able to get their life back.

      But no.. The public’s factual knowledge and perception of sex offenders will always be worst-case scenario e.g. “these people never change, it’s just a matter of time before they kidnap a child, they need to be monitored and tracked until they die, we need to know where these people live to “protect” our children” Blah blah blah..

      • Timmr

        Yes, the system is based on assumptions and those assumptions are founded on fear. People will fear that although you didn’t have a real victim, your intention was there, same species of fear that says if you look at pictures, you are going to act out, or if you committed one crime, you are never going to stop. We need to support the idea of science being involved in this process, that is a necessary step forward. We can argue about how they are going to quantify risk, which is very important also, but quantifying is a step in the right direction.

        • New Person

          I do hope the research work proving that the SCOTUS used false facts will be brought up as evidence to eviscerate registration altogether.

          SCOTUS has no clear evidence to impose anything outside of custody.

          Srsly… why isn’t registration involuntary servitude? My case is dismissed, but i’m still known to be a registrant. I’m forced to do a duty w/o pay for a lifetime that is not called punishment, but I will be punished if I don’t do the duty and then returned back to so said duty. Where can I find a constitutional lawyer to break this down?

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