Sex-Offender Laws Sent a Man to Prison Over a Prayer Livestream

Source: wired.com 2/23/22 Jason wasn’t sure what to do. After an alleged sexting incident in 2012 snowballed into a felony conviction in his southern state, he was forced to register as a sex offender and barred from using a computer or smartphone. Over time, the conditions of his probation were reduced to a patchwork of technology-related restrictions: He was allowed to use email, but he was initially not allowed to send text messages. He could use the internet, but he was not allowed to have a social media account, and…

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Kat’s Blog: Talk and Text Only

For many registrants on parole, the basic flip phone” is the only type cell phone allowed by parole officers.  You can make phone calls, you can send texts, but beyond that, you are relegated to the dinosaur age. Internet access is for bidden. Recently a registrant on parole needed a new phone, his trusty old “flip phone” no longer held a charge. It wasn’t surprising to later find that batteries for that model phone were no longer available. (Not a big market for “flip phones” these days.) The registrant casually…

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Kat’s Blog: The Pandemic Without Computer Access

During the coronavirus pandemic, when an individual’s virtual lifeline to the rest of the world depends on internet access, some registrants, especially many of those on parole, continue to be denied computer/internet access. While the pandemic affects everyone, with businesses closed, when even our physicians don’t want us coming to their office, many registrants on parole are without computer access, a technology that has become a basic function and a necessity for daily living. Now more than ever, we must be online to keep in touch with loved ones, order…

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Now More Than Ever, Prisoners Should Have Some Access to Social Media

[eff.org – 3/27/20] As the pandemic unfolds, state agencies should take a flexible approach to enforcement of restrictions on inmates’ ability to connect with the outside world. By Mark Rumold COVID-19 has trapped many of us in our homes, isolating us from family and friends and limiting our movements. But there are few people who feel the isolating impacts of COVID-19 more acutely than those who are actually incarcerated­ in jails and prisons across the country. As Jerry Metcalf, an inmate in Michigan, wrote for the Marshall Project’s “Life on…

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10th Circuit Rules Special Conditions Allowing Probation Complete Discretion over Internet Use is Excessive

[floridaactioncommittee.org – 8/16/19] The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in US v. Blair, ruled that a special condition on the Defendant’s Internet use that was “limited to those the defendant requests to use, and which the probation officer authorizes” involved a greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary for deterring criminal activity because it allows the probation office to completely ban the defendant’s use of the Internet by failing to place any restraints on a probation officer’s ability to restrict a defendant’s Internet access. Blair argued that this special…

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Application of Packingham – Internet Access

[floridaactioncommittee.org – 8/12/19] We often get questions from people who are confused by the application of Packingham (the SCOTUS decision that said Government cannot restrict access to social media) to their situation. To simplify: Packingham benefits people NOT ON PROBATION/SUPERVISED RELEASE. If you are on probation, a restriction on social media/internet access CAN be imposed. Packingham DOES NOT prevent a private business (ie: Social Media platform) from restricting your access to their platform.   Read the full Florida Action Committee article  

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FL: Court Rules Against Sex Offender On Internet Use

[usf.edu – 7/25/19] Rejecting First Amendment arguments, a state appeals court Wednesday upheld restrictions on internet use by a sex offender. The ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal came in a Hillsborough County case in which Quinton Alford was sentenced to 10 years of sex-offender probation for kidnapping and three years of sex-offender probation for sexual battery. The terms of probation included barring Alford from using social media and prevented internet use except for work or shopping. Alford argued that the restrictions were overly broad and violated First…

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WV: State Supreme Court Rules Probation Internet Restrictions Violate First Amendment

[UPDATED LINKS 3/20/18] [floridaactioncommittee.org] The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that completely restricting a person’s access to the internet as a condition of their parole from prison is a violation of the First Amendment. “Like the statute in Packingham, Mr. Ross’s condition of parole ‘bars access to…sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment, speaking and listening in the modern public square, and otherwise exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge,’” the decision states. Read more RELATED LINKS: Supreme Court says restricting internet access…

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