Monday, March 7, 2016

What I actually do at Once Fallen and why even independent activists need funds. (Yes, I'm fundraising, BTW)

A flood of inmate letters I responded to over the holidays.
Look folks, I have to admit that I not only hate the concept of fundraising, I'm flat-out terrible at it. I couldn't sell water in a desert. However, it is one of those necessary evils. But since I'm an "independent" activist, not affiliated with anyone else, there are times I struggle to raise the funds needed for various projects. 

Recently, I contacted a certain individual (I won't name who, I'll just call him "Ted") to discuss the idea of having a protest in DC. Ted obviously didn't support the idea of public demonstrations (much to my chagrin) and proceeded to try to sell me on HIS way of doing things. Ted sent me a list of things he had done since May of last year, talking to me as if I just sat on my duff since returning from the Rally in Tally. Well, Ted TALKS a big game (about himself, mostly), but to belittle me because I am an independent and doing something else besides promoting his personal well-being just ticked me off. 

Since Ted likes to talk about his "accomplishments," perhaps I should take the time to tell you folks what Once Fallen has accomplished in the past year. I guess I'll borrow a page from ol' Ted and tell you what I've done in the past year:

  1. In April, I successfully completed organizing and hosting the Rally in Tally (with help from a few other groups), taking on the Book family in their own state of FloriDUH. I'm sure you've seen the recent trailer for "Untouchable." I have also engaged in protests in Oregon and I even dropped in on Parents For Megan's Law unannounced (and was escorted out but that's a story for another day). I'd also like to add that support for the Rally in Tally far exceeded expecttions, raising enough money to cover the full expenses!
  2. Since this time last year, I've been in the media at, the Tallahassee Democrat, the Sacramento Bee, the Florida Politics and the St Peters Blog, The University of Buffalo Spectrum, the Dr. Drew show in HLN, and the Alex City Outlook. I was also in the Emily Horowitz book, the Prison Legal News, and on RSOL's "Tales From the Registry" site. 
  3. Added three new Once Fallen research papers to my main site, in addition to the constant updates. I wrote a history of our movement, a legal article on the confusing definition of Child Pornography, and about International Megan's Law.
  4. Created the Informational CorrLinks Newsletter (The "ICoN") specifically for users of CorrLinks, a correctional email service, now being sent to 80 inmates. The latest edition went out March 1. 
  5. Answered over 70 letters by mail, 350 emails, and 500 individual phone calls. Typical phone calls can last up to an hour, and I make constant referrals to other state affiliates. 
  6. I recently completed collecting over 300 responses to the Job & Welfare Survey, the first study to directly study how registrants find work and financial assistance. The study should be out soon. I'll be starting another study on compliance checks soon. 
  7. I'm also trying to assist in stopping bad bills in my home state of Ohio as well as other states, as well as my attempts to stop IML. 
  8. I took in a fellow RSO after his release from prison and helped him get ID and his retirement benefits. 
I do all this and more without constantly hounding you for cash. I live off $753 a month and food stamps, so money is always tight with me, but I am very good at budgeting. When I travel, I ride a bus, use public transportation, stay in the cheapest hotel I can find, and eat granola and Chef Boyardee (I never add food to my expenses anyways since I'll eat no matter where I'm at). 

Since my planned demonstration in DC was cancelled, I have my sights sent on another big city. Unlike the DC event, this demonstration is etched in stone. However, because of the sensitive nature of our plans, I am not publicly listing the plans. In addition, this is the month I pay my annual $120 fee to keep Once Fallen online. So as much as it pains me to ask, don't forget us independents. I'm not asking for a Hundred Grand (unless we are talking about the candy bars). My needs are far more modest. I can only ask those able to give to give what you can. 

So, if you are willing to donate to make my next project a success, send donations to:

Derek W. Logue
8258 Monon Ave., Apt. 3
Cincinnati, OH 45216

If you have Paypal, you can send a donation to

Also, if you wish to donate to another independent, I suggest you send some funds to Mary Devoy from the state of Virginia, who is fighting a stupid sex offender law aptly numbered SB666. Click the link below to learn more. 

As of today, I am accepting donations to oppose SB666 and HB 1190 from becoming law on July 1st in Virginia.
  1. You can send a donation through PaylPal at this link:    to my email address remember my PayPal fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per every donation sent. Because I am NOT a non-profit and I am NOT a business I can NOT add a PayPal button to this website and I can NOT offer automatic monthly donations, I’m sorry I wish I could. 
  2. You can send a check or money order donation, please email me and I will then send you my mailing address, I’ve decided not to post it on the site and it’s not worth the money or time to rent a PO Box.

Not every activist is fortunate enough to have a large network with lots of financial backing, but that doesn't mean we are any less worthy of your support. Without your support, Once Fallen would not be around today. Once Fallen is used by tens of thousands of people every year, including attorneys, law enforcement agents, politicians, and even victim advocate groups! Most of all, YOU use it. It is a labor of love (mostly labor), but the point was to promote the cause and give you tools to fight back against these oppressive laws. So please offer up your support to Once Fallen (and other independents) today!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Once Fallen Job and Welfare Survey has officially closed. Here are some preliminary results.

First of all, I want to thank all 307 respondents to the Once Fallen Job and Welfare Survey. Thanks to the assistance from other groups like FAC, RSOL and their affiliates, Daily Strength, and SOSEN, I received a completed survey from at least 46 states and DC.

1. Florida, 54 (17.88%)
2. Arkansas, 25 (8.28%)
3. Alabama, 21 (6.95%)
4. Ohio, 18 (5.96%)
5. New York/ Texas, 13 each (4.30% each)
6. California, 11 (3.64%)
7. Virginia, 10 (3.31%)
8. Michigan/ Pennsylvania, 9 each (2.98% each)
9. Colorado, 8 (2.65%)
10. Georgia/ Maryland/ Nebraska/ New Mexico, 7 each (2.32% each)
11. Connecticut/ Illinois/ Louisiana, 6 each (1.99% each)
12. Oregon, 5 (1.66%)
13. Missouri/ Nevada/ Wisconsin/ Washington DC, 4 each (1.32% each)
14. Arizona/ Kansas/ Maine/ New Jersey/ Utah/ West Virginia, 3 each (0.99% each)
15. Idaho/ Kentucky/ Massachusetts/ Montana/ North Carolina/ Oklahoma/ Tennessee/ Washington State, 2 each (0.66% each)
16. Alaska/ Hawaii/ Indiana/ Iowa/ Minnesota/ Mississippi/ Rhode Island/ South Carolina/ Vermont/ Wyoming, 1 each (0.33% each)
17. Delaware/ New Hampshire/ North Dakota/ South Dakota, US Territories, Native American Tribal Lands, 0 (0%)

I know you are dying to get the full results, but crunching all of the numbers, writing the report, proofreading and editing the report, and getting it out there may take a little time. However, I created a preliminary result to tide everyone over in the meantime. I have written this as part of my Informational CorrLinks Newsletter (ICoN), a newsletter I make for prisons inmates that use the CorrLinks email system (You can download the lastest ICoN at 

First, it should come as no surprise that a number of SOs have experienced significant unemployment and housing problems. Almost half of respondents are unemployed, though some are retired or on welfare. Only 31% had a full time job (4 respondents had 2 jobs). Only 26% reported making over $30,000 last year, and 31.6% reported living below the federal poverty line. Almost half answered they have lost a job due to their status; 82% reported being denied work due to status; half reported harassment at work. About 37.7% experienced homelessness at some point (though only 3.4% of respondents were currently homeless at the time the survey was taken); amazingly, one-third owned their own home; 23% lived rent-free with a relative or through a program; about 40% rent an apartment, with 15% sharing living expenses; only one respondent is receiving government housing (achieved through a lawsuit). This is interesting because 78% of respondents reported having at least some college, with 50% holding a college degree. (Also of note on demographics, 55% of survey takers were ages 41-65 and 8% were 65+; only a third reported being married and living with spouse; only half has children; only 17% have minor children living with them.)

Despite so many college-educated SOs, respondents reported the jobs they held since their release are those most associated with low-pay and high stress – unskilled labor jobs (day labor, custodial, other manual labor), skilled labor (trades), restaurant jobs, manufacturing/ warehouse, and retail/sales jobs were the most common responses. Job types with a medium amount of reported jobs held by respondents were truck driving/ delivery, construction, and Customer Service (stores or call centers). I may be encouraging to know that a handful of individuals have held jobs in nearly every type of job category, including government, legal, non-profits, research, banking, and even the scientific categories, and 10% reported having incomes over $50,000 a year. Very few (almost 20% of those holding a job) reported working for a “franchise” business like McDonald’s or Walmart; twice as many reported being self-employed; another third worked for a small business; the rest either worked for a business run by a friend/ family member or worked as a contractor (that included day labor). Nearly half of these jobs did not conduct a background check, according to respondents. 

Because some SOs have certain computer-related restrictions, it was encouraging to know that “old-fashioned” ways of job hunting are still useful. Employment offices, networking, walk-ins, and want-ads were still utilized by over half of job-seekers. The bad news is that it took 28% of respondents over a year to find a new job, & about 20% have estimated having filled out over 100 applications before either landing a job or giving up. 

About 53.6% reported being on some kind of welfare program. The most common kind of public assistance used were food stamps/ SNAP (27%) and assistance from friends and family (29%); 13% used food and clothing charities,9% used other assistance programs like community action agencies or churches, and 8% were on disability/ SSI. Only 2% received any kind of housing/ rental assistance programs. 

It is important to point out that less than half of respondents identified themselves as members of any online SO activism groups, a third of the respondents were classified Tier 1/ “Low Risk,” a third were classified Tier 2 or higher, and another third were from states with no formal classification system. Many of the respondents were from FL, AL, AR, & OH. Since this was an online survey promoted primarily through SO activist & support groups, this may not completely reflect the true unemployment rates, since some are barred from the Internet per terms of supervision. 

The full study will yield results I think most of us suspected from the start. The short answer is that finding employment as a registered citizen is going to be a slog. It is difficult, but not impossible, to find work. Based on this study, it seems employed SOs are most likely to work a “dead end job” or be self-employed, making a low wage, and with a fair chance of harassment problems at work. Also, expect to fill out lots of applications and spend upwards of a year or more searching for a job. However, there is hope of having a better life even as a registered citizen. A notable minority of SOs have good jobs and own their own homes. If you cannot get a job, at least you can qualify for a number of assistance programs, with the notable exception of housing (SOs are banned from Sec8 IF the registration requirement is lifetime). Though this survey hasn’t discovered anything groundbreaking, the goal was to help you understand the job climate as an SO. It isn’t hopeless, but obviously harder.

PS: I wrote an article about one of my recent job experiences, which has been published on RSOL's supplementary project 'Tales From The Registry." Please check it out.