National organization works to eliminate sex offender registries

Source: 11/22/22

When Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, it required states to enact a sex offender registry for those convicted of certain sex crimes.

In the 28 years since the law has passed, sex offender registries have become a tool for the public to identify offenders and find out where they live. Now one national organization is working to eliminate those registries altogether. Robin Vander Wall serves as the chair of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, or NARSOL.

“Our vision has always been that this is a bad tool,” Robin Vander Wall says.

Vander Wall is calling for an end to sex offender registries nationwide, saying it prevents former offenders from moving on with their lives. Vander Wall said that NARSOL feels the constant exposure from the internet isn’t fair and only fuels violence and discrimination.

Others say that the sex offender registry is a vital tool designed to help people protect themselves. Some sexual assault convictions can lead to a sentence of life in prison. Some who advocate for keeping the registries consider serious sex offenses as malicious and evil as murder, such as Executive Director of Standing Together Against Rape — or STAR Alaska — Keely Olson.

“Child sexual assault, kidnapping, those kinds of things; they’re unclassified felonies and they’re going to be treated akin to a homicide,” Olson said.

“They just want to be left alone like most Americans. They feel they’ve done their time, they’ve satisfied their criminal sentence,” Vander Wall said.

“I think that they don’t take into consideration the lifelong penalty that a survivor pays,” Olson contends, “or the family members of those who do not survive.”

Sex offender registries were created before the internet exploded, and Vander Wall says since that happened it has created chaos and fear, virtually casting offenders out of society. He says the public has a misconception that sex offenders are more likely to reoffend.

“No, they’re not,” Vander Wall maintains. “They’re actually less likely to reoffend than anybody but murderers.”

“Regardless of what this group says, they do tend to reoffend,” Olson said. “And when they do reoffend, they tend to reoffend against multiple victims.”

In 2019, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released a study of sex offender recidivism rates. It reviewed the criminal records of 77% of all prisoners in the country who had been released between the years 2005 and 2014.

“Sex offenders were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault,” the study concluded.

However, overall “sex offenders were less likely than all prisoners released…to have had a new arrest that resulted in a conviction after release.”

“If we really live in a culture that believes in second chances, is committed to restoration and restorative justice, then there’s just no place in that culture for a sex offender registry, period,” Vander Wall says.

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“To say that they have just done their time and we should just let it go and forgive and forget, it just doesn’t add up,” Olson says.

This sounds punitive. It still amazes me how plainly people like this and politicians can speak of the registry as punishment, yet the courts continue to cosplay Helen Keller on the matter.

Like so many other times I read an article here, mixed feelings.

I am glad that NARSOL is getting exposure for this cause. It wasn’t so long ago that this organization would have been ignored. If mentioned at all, it would have been a total hatchet job, condemning them for being bleeding hearts or even worse. This is, more balanced than that.

Turning the article into a debate, a war of numbers, not so great. Nobody is going to remember the low recidivism rate numbers, lower than all but murderers. Nobody is going to forget the, “3 times more likely to…”. Nor the suggestion that NARSOL is asking that we all, …”Forgive and forget…”. That is not what I am asking for! I don’t need forgiveness from a people. I certainly am not asking people to forget anything! I’m just asking for what Ms Wall said…to be left alone!

I’m going to view this as a win. Not perfect, but way better than it could have been. At least Ms. Wall got to get some ideas out there, some truth! For far too long this whole topic has been floating in a sea of lies! Now, finally, some facts are coming out, and that is a win. Someday, the truth about SOs, the people that have been convicted of them (legitimately & falsely), and the abomination that is the registry, will be the only thing. Someday, the truth will end this for us all.

Thank you NARSOL…and all who fight for the truth and justice!

I don’t care if people want to judge others, or if they don’t like certain people, but what bothers me is when they judge before and without putting in the work to find out what’s true and what is not. They repeat what they hear and believe, but not what they know. They don’t want to put in the effort to get to the truth. If someone makes a statement that is simply not true and easily proven, in my eyes, they are just idiots. Now, if they were to make a statement, and it was actually true, no matter if it is undesirable, I respect them for it. So, if people keep repeating the high recidivism rate without actually knowing or having researched it, they are idiots. Get the facts right before jumping to conclusions. It has been proven over and over that the recidivism rate for PFRs is one of the lowest, yet these ignorant people keep repeating their lies like parrots, without an opinion of their own, and without finding out for themselves. Is it laziness? Maybe? Is it ignorance? Probably. It takes a smart person to want to learn, and it takes a lazy ignorant person to repeat what others say.

“‘Sex offenders were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault,’ the study concluded. However, overall ‘sex offenders were less likely than all prisoners released…to have had a new arrest that resulted in a conviction after release.’”

Using that logic, then why are people convicted of murder, robbery, battery/assault, domestic violence, fraud/scams, theft, etc. not required to register? Those people get to move on after they’ve paid with their sentences. And arguably, victims of murder, robbery, crimes of violence, etc. often have it worse.

NARSOL has it’s heart in the right mode but their advocacy aims at the wrong target. They suffer group think to a degree is n that score. The optics of defending the sex offender from the general public’s trend toward the irrational treatment by law is tenuous at best. Sure Enough NARSOL desires abolition of the database driven registry from the American landscape. However demanding changes in the defense of SOs creates a very small tent.
Defending all of the people’s liberty from the unconstitutional government (and private) application of the database driven infrastructure upon the whole of humanity would be a much larger and inclusive tent. As Asimov put it HV>MV~ Null output. Even the use of the term “gov registry ” rather than ” gov database ” renders obfuscation in the perception of reality. Sugar coating is a well established marketing strategy. The tech industry thrives on such ill defined terms: Cloud computing, smartphones, security alert, firewall, etc. are each industry marketing choices of language. God forbid anyone should be critical of the DDI.

“Regardless of what this group says, they do tend to reoffend,” Olson said. “And when they do reoffend, they tend to reoffend against multiple victims.”

I love how Keely Olsen just makes up stuff to keep the registry in place. I have never heard of any facts that a PFR reoffend with multiple victims???? Just another grab to hold on to the registry.

“Child sexual assault, kidnapping, those kinds of things; they’re unclassified felonies and they’re going to be treated akin to a homicide,” Olson said.

then if that’s true, then why is there not a homicide registry?

Robin Vander Wall is correct that the registry is a bad tool. The registry is not only harm and punishment to the registrant but for the 900K+ US family members of anyone having to register.

How ironic…from the state where Smith v Does hails comes this bullshit espoused by someone justifying themselves and their organization while Robin battles like David v Goliath. Time to do a mass arctic blast back up north to them via the media source and to them directly…

Right now on Twitter, there are countless calls to kill or harm sex offenders.

I’ve seen this irrelevant quote used many times “Sex offenders were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault,” the study concluded. What is the point of concluding this except to create a confirmation bias and manipulate the true conclusion to further some other goal? In fact if you think about it that conclusion actually kind of states the opposite of what it’s probably intended to ‘prove’. If we state that same fact in a different way we can conclude that for every 3 sexual assault recidivists that commit a new sexual assault there is 1 released convict not previously convicted of sexual assault that becomes convicted of sexual assault. Since sex offenders are something like 12% of the prison population according to the Federal Bureau of prisons the total amount of released offenders not previously convicted of a sex offense who go on to commit a sex offense is high. Wow!

The fallacy of their argument is that they keep categorizing every person on the registry the same.

“Child sexual assault, kidnapping, those kinds of things; they’re unclassified felonies and they’re going to be treated akin to a homicide,” Olson said.

Indeed those can be terrible crimes, but there are over 40 crimes that put people on the registry. CP, explicit chatting or sending images on the internet, exposing in public, there are thousands of people convicted of these crimes and they are on the registry for life, and it’s absurd to group these with the others, as well, in my SO group there was a grandfather who touched his granddaughters behind on the outside of her pants. Totally inappropriate, yes, but lifetime trauma to the child? Hardly. Until these hysterical people like Olson get educated, actually take time to learn the truth, learn the full gamut of who these SO people are and what laws are out there then the blather coming out of their mouths is just noise. They don’t have the facts, and they don’t know what they are talking about. most of the one million people on the registry don’t reoffend, many like myself have been two decades since my offense, and yes, I want to be left alone so I can be a productive member of society. People like these vigilantes always trying to cause us more harm aren’t helping anything.

Yeah it’s been 24 years now I’m tired of this shiit already, I know everyone who’s been on the registry for 20+ Year’s is over it too.
The sad truth is, They don’t plan on ever letting us go, the State might relieve you of your duty to register BUT the federal government can step in at anytime and force you to register all over again
So It’s just a waiting game for me I’ll probably die trying to get back everything they took from me, hopefully Im off the registry before that happens but You never know.

If police tell me to show up at a certain time and place as a requirement it is STILL probation. They don’t understand this part.

What strikes me about the map function on SORs is how similar the distribution correlates to the distribution of franchised fast food firms. Aside from the obvious spatial analysis, incomes also correlate to the lower end of income brackets. It may be a factor that lower income individuals also suffer from inadequate defense precisely because they don’t have the ability to pay.

However, internet mapping is under scrutiny itself primarily because of the Salas case, where a federal judge’s teen son and husband had opened their homes (NJ) front door and were shot by a lawyer from CA. He’d been dressed as a delivery driver and undoubtedly used a map function to locate the residence. Federal Judges fall into the higher income bracket. And that being the case an Act to scrub data from the web was proposed. The bill is held up in the Senate who want the policy extended to include Senators. I can smirk knowing the binary inverse human disposition is in play. (PFR< | >F.Agent) ~ desperate Database Policy. What isn’t widely known is the SORs and other map function routinely used data gleaned from the US Census Bureau machines~ registry of known addresses. These technologies are in play in gerrymandering (redistricting) efforts at state level. While USCB machines do not include voting data, tech is available for overlay of voter registries that do. Our vote participation is public knowledge. Who we voted for is not but a quick look at social media accounts could certainly be used to make a highly informed guess. Beyond that useful data any “hot button issues” an individual voter expresses would also show up in media posts. If we look at how close the races were in (White females)AZ & GA(Black males) it’s almost as if the split was computed. PA & FL represent the extremes of jokers & clowns. Other lessor outliers MN, MI: TX, ID. With this knowledge I suspect the original intent of gathering Census Data has suffered mission creep.

some people who are in positions of power and influence should have some sort of mental cognitive test done so we the people don’t have people like this, who threaten violence,or intentionally create an atmosphere of violence. this person should be forced to prove there sanity or be removed from there position! we as citizens should have that right to challenge the supposed facts they are putting out to the public. i see a person like this as a controlling bully who because of my observations of her severe appearance deficits’ might have life long issues i have seen this in my experience when i was in school some of the kids who i remember being bullied through the school years went to take careers that placed them in positions of power for what end, is the question same here i was bullied be on belief and when put in a position of authority i screwed up.

People using guns are the number one cause of death to children in America-not cancer, not COVID, not pneumonia, not sexual offenders or anything else, but someone using a gun.
Very rarely is the victim of a sexual offense murdered.
If politicians really, really cared about the safety of children, they would enact laws that would help protect them from being murdered by someone with a gun, but since some care more about guns than children, we are the primary target they aim at concerning child safety when it’s election time while children are getting mowed down in classrooms and slaughtered on the streets.

I hope this isn’t the last we hear from this movement and i hope they make progress and if anything at the very least remove lifetime registry that should be unconstitutional. After 25 you should be able to get apply to get regardless any tier you’re forced to be classified in. As long as you have not committed any other Felonise or high misdemeanors during that time. You should be able to apply to get off the registry.

Last edited 4 months ago by F-Texas

I find it Ignorant of so many people Like Olson that try to make the registry to be a simple light or dark gray issue , when in fact it is overly complicated for many reasons. not very often does anyone even want to even talk about the fact that most take deal in court and how the prosecution stack charges that don’t even fit the cases at hand , set up for a plea , those that can’t make bond have to sit in a stinking jail with inmates knowing one is in for a sex crime waiting for often months ! And that is the beginning of the break down for many leaving them under threat of inmates and often sick guards that just want to punish the PFR , and all to often leave the PFR having to fight to survive, so the guy or gal going to court looks like hell , even stinks sometimes for lack of shampoo/soap , and top it off with an orange jumpsuit with blood stains , no one wants to talk about what happen when the PFR wins the fight to protect them self “New Charge”. No one wants to talk about the court appointed attorneys that not only don’t fully understand the laws or have the staff to do the leg work , everything is set for a plea deal’ so here we go “Plea Deal”Deal ? a person agrees to deal when they are unable to create a case to show innocents , so the person makes a deal to do ex amount of time and prole, never even talking about the registry 30+ years ago in court , so your put on the registry when getting out , now to this day we are subject to registry changes that we did not at any did we agree to during the plea or any other time to new changes on down the road , It was to LE only when many of us started out here in Cali , At no time in the plea did it say we were subject to on going changes in this on going whipping post of a registry ! public safety ? what public ? are we and our families not the public ? so where is our safety from the public that are a constant threat to people on the people on the registry ? LE/Judges/law makers turn a blind eye to the fact and many people on the registry have been murdered / assaulted / property damaged / as I see it as a negligence of the higher courts , to not address these issues makes most judges guilty of all these crimes against people that are not harming anyone , only to loose housing /jobs/family/friends , all of the things we must have to pursue happiness , and just forget about the 4th amendment rights there gone every time your forced to register . the whole thing is wrong and must be stopped , state has a chance to deal with punishment when one goes to court , all this add on when ever the state/feds want to is BS , the states/feds are being unconstitutional as well as the courts , From filling out a card for LE only , To what we have now are completely different critters , always being subject to being set up because of a registry is a prosecution/judges/LE DREAM !

Can we try and see all of this as just one big joke? How many RSOs have committed murder this year compared to how many people have been murdered by gunfire and DUI? Let’s learn to accept as the North Koreans, Russians, many Africans, communist countries, people living under dictatorships, etc., do.

Sex offenders were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault,”.

In the context of this article, that statement is completely misleading. That single Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) study (May 2019) the article referenced did indeed indicate that sex offenders were “more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rate or sexual assault (7.7% verses 2.3%).”

What this article failed to mention is how the BJS study defines “sex offender”. In footnote number one of the BJS study the term “sex offenders” is defined.

For this report, “sex offenders” refers to released prisoners whose most serious commitment offense was rape or sexual assault.’

It should surprise no one that those previously convicted of rape or sexual assault are more likely to be re-arrested for those crimes than are others. Readers who simply scan the study are likely to miss the footnote and assume the study applies to all those who have been convicted of any sex offense and are required to register. I did. I also believe this was the BJS’s intended effect. I doubt that the Ph.D author and the BJS statisticians could be that sloppy.