The only way lawmakers will be forced to face the consequences of bad laws if is the people affected by those laws educated those in power. And that is precisely what will be taking place in Springfield, Illionois, on April 22, when a group of ordinary people seeking to reform sex offender laws will pay a visit to lawmakers.
Attached in a group produced to educate others about what's wrong with the current sex offender regime. I pass it along as an example of effective education and advocacy.
A group of citizens from across Illinois will meet at the State Capital in
late April to voice their concerns with Illinois’ sex offender laws.
Current laws, as structured, are not keeping our children safe. They are,
in fact, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars to prosecute, monitor,
incarcerate, and severely punish many individuals who are of no danger
to children, society, or the communities in which they live. They believe
that laws which will truly benefit the safety of our children, and society
in general, must differentiate between those who are dangerous offenders
and those who are not.
“Our goal in Springfield is to advocate for research-based policies that
protect society, and especially children, as well as rehabilitate
perpetrators,” says Tonia Maloney, President of Illinois Voices.
“Emotionally charged reactions to sex crimes often lead to legislation that
is not driven by data or research, but rather by fear and outrage. Our
current sex offender laws are not addressing the true problem – how to
prevent new victims and how to monitor only those who are truly a threat
Currently, residency restrictions and community-notification laws contain a myriad of non-violent offenders,including: teen consensual sex (with a few years difference in age), exposing genitals in public (even without realizing someone else is watching), teens posting nude or semi-nude photos of themselves on MySpace and other
social networking sites or texting them to others; parents taking innocent pictures of their children in the bathtub; and many more.
“Under the Adam Walsh Act, children as young as 14-years old will be placed on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry where all of their classmates will be able to see their photos right next to rapists, child molesters, and murderers.
We feel this is unfair to expose these kids to such harsh treatment,” points out Maloney. “Ohio is the only state that has implemented the Adam Walsh Act and the Ohio Supreme has ruled part of it unconstitutional. It will cost Illinois taxpayers over $21 million for the state to comply with the demands of the Federal Government. We would support this Act if there was evidence that it would reduce criminal sexual abuse and child murder. However, recent studies have indicated that over 95% of all sex crimes are committed by someone who is not a registered sex offender.” The Adam Walsh Act would also require most sex offenders to wear a GPS-monitoring device.
However, there are no studies available that show that GPS technology has reduced recidivism with regards to sex offenders.
Many legislators have privately admitted that these laws have gone far enough. Recently, state legislators passed a bill that would no longer allow prosecutors to criminalize teens for Sexting. Maloney further states, “We are hoping to encourage our policymakers to advocate for the most efficient and cost-effective implementation of laws based on risk-assessment procedures and differential trategies in accord with the level of threat that an offender poses to a community. There are sexually violent people in this world and those are the ones that law enforcement should be dedicating their time to, not the thousands of non-violent and even consensual offenders.”
For more information, contact:
P.O. Box 4016
Fairview Heights, IL 62208
Or visit: www.ilvoices.com.