Despite what some of you may think, I haven't had much of a problem with Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL). I'm not exactly a great fan of certain people in it, just as some of you are not great fans of mine, but we all have opinions. My opinions are my own. I joined their Oakland protest, obviously, have their conference up on my main website as requested, and I refer anyone who contacts me in California to go check them out. No one can claim I haven't offered my support in the past. But I certainly won't offer support to their latest harebrained scheme.
In light of one of ACSOL's most recent posts, I have to speak up because I feel this approach is compromising the Anti-Registry Movement. Some of you are already aware of my criticism of ACSOL. In fact, I've posted it in the comment boards, and it seems that quite a few people share my sentiment. I am wary of the idea of our movement supporting the registry in ANY form. Allow me to say this as clearly and boldly as possible, so that there is no misunderstanding as to my take on this silly idea of backing a tiered registry scheme:
If you are advocating for a tiered registry, YOU ARE ADVOCATING FOR THE REGISTRY!!!!!
It seems ACSOL is still advocating this Sophie's Choice approach to the issue, so may be best if I make my counterpoints to the points ACSOL posted on their site as reasons to support a tiered registry. [NOTE: The numbering system is mine for the sake of reference.]
REASONS TO SUPPORT A TIERED REGISTRY
1. Tiered registry bill (Senate Bill 695) introduced on Feb. 17; Senators Ricardo Lara and Holly Mitchell authors; Bill supported by CA Sex Offender Management Board
Counterpoint: Why should the fact that CASOMB approves of a tiered registry be a valid reason to support it? Other things CASOMB approves of are polygraphs, the "containment model" of registrant management, and a "victim-centered" approach. The CASOMB sure loves their junk science. Maybe someday they'll support witch dunking and tea leaf gazing as acceptable methods for predicting recidivism too.
Guess what else they advocate? The SARATSO committee. They chose the Static-99R as their preferred test and that's a really big deal.
The old Static 99 and Static 2002 categorized risk like this: "Based on total scores, Static-99 had four named risk categories (0 –1 low; 2–3 low-moderate; 4 – 5 moderate-high; and 6 high) and Static-2002 had five (0 –2 low; 3– 4 low-moderate; 5– 6 moderate; 7– 8 moderate-high; and 9 high). When the scales were revised, we did not alter the risk category labels or their associated cutoff scores, with the exception that it was now possible to have scores less than zero." [p.3]
But this same scale was revised under the Static 99-R: "New names have been announced for the risk categories on the Static-99R:
Very Low Risk, Category I, scores -3, -2;
Below Average Risk, Category II, scores -1, 0;
Average Risk, Category III, scores 1, 2, 3;
Above Average Risk, Category IV-a, scores 4,5;
Well Above Average Risk, Category IV-b, scores 6 and above."
A person could be classified higher risk under this convoluted scheme. But hey, lets support it just because CASOMB says so.
2. "Current registry provides public with 'False Sense of Security'"
I could say the same thing about the 45 states with a tiered registry (Oregon hasn't transitioned to three tiers yet so they don't count.).
3. "More than 90 percent of those who assault a child are family members, teachers, coaches, clergy and are NOT on sex offender registry."
The inefficacy of the registry just as valid of an argument for not having a registry of any kind.
4. "Less than 1 percent of sex offenders on parole commit another sex offense – CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation; Only 5.3 percent of all sex offenders commit another sex offense – U.S. DOJ"
Again, the same argument can be used to argue abolition of the registry. Also, the DoJ numbers are misused. The exact number is 5.3% rearrest rate after 3 years, but only 3.5% were reconvicted after three years. That's quite a discrepancy. BTW, the DoJ released more recent numbers that found a 5.6% rearrest rate after 5 years, so you could mention the fact that the overall number of arrests only increased 0.3% in years 4 and 5.
5. "Tiered registry for sex offenders would increase public safety and save $115 million annually for state and local governments."
I love these rather arbitrary numbers but it seems Oregon, the state currently transitioning to a tiered system and whose sex offender management folks share similar beliefs, is having some growing pains trying to make that transition. They're already having to scale it back two years, and already lawmakers are exploiting this opportunity to increase the number of folks who land on the public registry. I can't imagine those reevaluations are saving money in Oregon.
If you are going to discuss money, perhaps someone in Cali will bring up all that money they missed out not adopting the Adam Walsh Act, and if they're going three tiers, why not just adopt the AWA and screw all those risk assessments? On the other hand, at least those witch doctors pushing polys and peter meters will be out of a job.
6. "The registry includes many individuals who pose little threat to society such as those convicted of the non-violent crimes of “sexting” on a cell phone, urinating in public, and engaging in consensual teen sex."
Yup, and most of them live in those 45 states with a tiered system. Just saying...
7. The registry also includes individuals who pose significant threat to society such as those convicted of multiple sexual assaults against children and adults.
See above. Also, do you know why I made the type bigger, underlined it and italicized it? Because the victim cult will zero in on this for future reference. You know, for when they want to strengthen the registry. I'm sure nothing satisfies our adversaries more than quoting us acknowledging their claims. Tust me, this will be the only thing they hear.
8. "Tiered registries exist in 46 of the nation’s 50 states and successfully protect the citizens of those states. California is only 1 of 4 states with lifetime registries along with Alabama, South Carolina and Florida."
For any serious registry reformist to utter the words, "successfully protect the citizens of those states," in regards to the effects of the registry is pure blasphemy. Is California that desperate to "potentially" remove a few folks off the registry that they are willing to spew the same rhetoric that we've spent years debunking? It has been a central theme of anti-registry reformists to expose the fallacies of the registry, particularly efficacy, and ACSOL comes along and says, "tiered registries are effective at protecting children." WTF?
No, the registry in every state is a complete disaster. Ohio has had a Tiered system since 1997 and it is an even bigger wreck because of the AWA.
9. "Tiered registry would end a life-time sentence for registrants who do NOT pose current harm to society."
That is merely an assumption. Risk assessments are far from perfect as they are prone to overestimate risk. Consider that even under the simplistic Static-99 your traditional R&J offender scores a 2 off the top. (Coincidentally, I also scored a two.) In Ohio pre-AWA, risk assessment evaluations could still be disregarded through judicial discretion. (Trust me, I've experienced this travesty of justice firsthand.) Of course, when the AWA was adopted, the number of folks who were classified high risk skyrocketed from about 18% to about 54%. Nothing changed but the method of classification.
The very definitions of offenses are problematic. An R&J "sexually assaulted" his willing participant because she was below the age of consent, and therefore a "violent" offense.
I'm also willing to bet some high risk individuals "slip through the cracks" and reoffend and then there will be a push for more
10. Registrants often lose their jobs and/or housing solely because they are registrants. Section 8 housing not available to individuals listed on a lifetime registry (like California).
Those Tier 3s that remain will still have the same problem with Section 8. Registrants will continue to suffer regardless of tier level. Criminal records remain after you drop off the registry. Background checks will pick it up.
I had some interesting results from last year's Job and Welfare Survey in regards to tier levels. I do have my concerns because the survey results indicated an increased probability of negative effects of being classified as a "high risk."
Tier Levels: While there is surprisingly little parity between the Tiers (or for states with no tier system), those considered “High Risk” or Tier 3s were most likely to report being unemployed/ not in the labor force, living in a rural area, making over $50,000 last year, being denied a job, being on welfare at some point, and identifying as an anti-registrant activist, but least likely to report being homeless, having a full time job, living in poverty, and being harassed on the job.
11. Some registrants are physically harmed, even murdered, by vigilantes.
Gary Blanton, the man from Port Angeles murdered by vigilante Patrick Drum in 2012, was classified as a Tier 2 registrant in Washington state. The 2005 double murders in Washington state, the 2006 double murders in Maine and hundreds of other reported acts of vigilantism were in tiered registry states.
Washington state doesn't list registrants publicly, but private citizens like Donna Zink fought to post the names anyways. Then you have private online registries like Family Watchdog and Homefacts, mugshot magazines and websites, extortion websites like Chuck Rodrick's Offendex/ SOR ARchives/ BarComplaint/ SexOffenderNewswire and affiliated websites, and the like.
12. "All individuals required to register under Penal Code Section 290 would remain on the registry for at least 10 years; Those convicted of low level offenses could leave registry in 10 years; Those convicted of moderate level offenses could leave registry in 20 years."
That's not to say they can't be reclassified. One way would simply be adopting the Adam Walsh Act. Another way would be to do what NY has done-- move the goalposts. In 2006, NY increased registration period of tier 2s to life with a petition process available after 30 years and tier 1s increased registration from 10 years to 20. Now the state is looking to do it again, raising tier 1 registration from 20 year to 30 years, an effort spearheaded by Parents For Megan's Law. As I previously stated in point #5, Oregon is already seeking ways to increase
13. A tiered registry would continue life-time registration for those who pose a current significant harm to society.
This is similar to point #9. This line of thinking requires us to assume that the state will somehow get it right and reserve Tier 3 status for repeat offenders with multiple victims; however, the state will err on the side of caution lest they have any bad PR like the state of Florida had after the Sun-Sentinel accused the state of missing too many "sex predators" in the months following the Cherish Perrywinkle case
In ACSOL's push to POTENTIALLY get off the registry, (no guarantee even one is removed), they're willing to throw tens of thousands of people under the bus! It is already having a detrimental effect on morale in the movement, and already the attitude is spreading. Here is one comment posted on the ACSOL comment section:
February 19, 2017
A lot of people are not going to like this comment but I don’t care all the people who know they’re going to be labeled a tier 3 registered citizen if this Bill were to pass your the type of registered citizens I’m trying to keep from being labeled with no offense but tier 3 registrant are the ones that make it hard for everybody else with there multiple convictions and God knows what else I’m a father and I have three kids and I wouldn’t feel safe with them not being publicly displayed Megan’s Law website and if and eighteen-year-old guy hooks up with a fifteen-year-old girlfriend in high school I don’t think he should be on there for the rest of his life maybe 10 20 years okay for Life that’s insane
This idiot already assumes that Tier 3 equals multiple convictions; he sounds just like a shill for the victim cult. I am happy someone pointed out his flaws in thinking:
February 19, 2017
To correct you, it will still be very much possible to fall into Tier 3 as a first time offender w/ no other criminal history. All you would need is a high enough Static 99 score. Things like being young at the time of a crime and release, being homosexual and having a male victim, having a non violent offense (oddly enough) and not having lived w/ a significant other for a minimum of 2 yrs. are enough to get someone enough points to fall into Tier 3 regardless of crime. The Static doesn’t take into account offense free years after conviction, therapy, remorse, etc.
I don't have multiple victims and I have the most petty of contact offenses, yet I landed as a Tier 3 because the judge believed all registrants have a high risk. I scored a 2 on the Static-99 (should've been a 1) but the judge ignored it and made an assumption that I came to Ohio just to shirk registration duties (a belief as absurd as anything else I criticized here). The bottom line is I got labelled a Tier 3 because a judge with prejudices against registered citizens had the discretion to be the final authority on my fate, and he chose to ruin my live. So Judge Steve Martin can go to hell. If you don't believe Tier 3s get it rough, come talk to me some time. My life has been ruined.
In summary, I find the strategy of ACSOL to be repugnant to the core beliefs of the Anti-Registry Movement. We aren't here to advocate for any registry. Sadly, some folks have allowed defeatism to get in the way of our mission. What if slavery abolitionists took this "incremental" approach to abolishing slavery? "Okay we'll never abolish slavery outright so lets devise a system by which a select few can earn their freedom while the rest have to work harder." There are times where incrementalism just doesn't work. The real solution is abolishing the registry, but defeatism has forced those in Cali to choose who will be sacrificed to save a precious few to get off the registry. Those people sacrificed will suffer MORE.
Three JEERS for ACSOL's three tiers.
--Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com