• rwsmom February 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Dear AbiK:_First of all, you are using statistics from 1994. Secondly, per the Indiana Department of Corrections: "In addition, one statistic regarding a class of offenders shows a great deal of promise. The_recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in_the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements_that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and_residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment_of a new sex crime is extremely low."… as a reporter, I would think you would want the readers to know the truth, not feed them with hysteria. Until recently, Facebook memberships were only allowed to those OVER the age of eighteen. Even with those restrictions in place, parents were allowing children as young as five years old to have Facebook accounts. Basic rule of a parent is to watch them so they don't play in the street. Now days with the internet, parents should also control where they play as well._

    • LAS_Admin February 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Hi rwsmom, Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, the statistic you provide does warrant some additional reading–here's a place to start: The IDOC Recidivism Rates Compared 2005-2007–it's within a year of the press release you shared. The entire section on sex offender recidivism is on pages 18-22. And here's a snippet from the Executive Summary on p. 7: "Overall, offenders identified as a sex offender who were released in 2002, 2003, or 2004, returned to IDOC at a higher rate than all other offenders." Here's that link: <a href="” target=”_blank”>
      Additionally, did it ever occur to you that a potential contribution to any potential decline in recidivism rate could be due in part to the level of monitoring–the fact that efforts are made to limit the extent to which a sex offender can come in contact with a potential victim? While I certainly agree with you that parents need to parent their children and not allow Facebook accounts etc for young children, it's also possible that by not allowing a sex offender to engage in social media such as FB, the "kid is taken out of the candy store"–bad example, I know, but the shoe kinda fits here.

  • rwsmom February 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    In closing, as a reporter, you should know and understand the value we Americans place on our Constitution. ALL people have the right to free speech, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. That includes thost who have served their time and paid their debt to society, some for crimes they never committed, falsley accused or higly exagerated. Some served sentences for "crimes" that our ancestors would have served prison sentences for….teen age consensual relationships._Please know your facts and report current and up to date materials!

    • LAS_Admin February 11, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Hi rwsmom, Thanks again for your comment–and please see the other response. In regard to this comment, however, we're strong supporters of the US Constitution here–however, I somehow doubt that when our forefathers were outlining the Articles, that they sat there and said, "Hey, you know what? Darn it–if a sex offender harms a child, and does some time for it, and ok, maybe he'll (or she'll) do it again, so what? They have a right to the pursuit of happiness, right?" Seriously. You're mixing issues here–sex offenders–those who justifiably labelled as such and convicted–and the issue of wrongful conviction. Get your issue–and your argument–straight before you go out in defense of sex offenders.

      • Wat Tyler March 2, 2014 at 9:37 pm

        " "Hey, you know what? Darn it–if a sex offender harms a child, and does some time for it, and ok, maybe he'll (or she'll) do it again, so what? They have a right to the pursuit of happiness, right?""

        The phrase, 'pursuit of happiness,' isn't found anywhere in our constitution. You're mistaking the Constitution for The Declaration of Independence. That being said, it is an extremely ironic statement because Thomas Jefferson, who was in France at the time of the Constitutional Convention, did engage in conduct that many states today would consider predatory. At best, he engaged in lecherous behavior with a 15 or 16 year old Sally Hemmings.

  • ShellyStow February 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Okay, let's see if we can tell the whole story. Yes, felons who are not sex offenders do commit sex crimes four time less than sex offenders. Their recidivism is 1.32525%. Times that by four and viola' you have about 5.3%. So what we know is that sex offenders rarely repeat sex crimes (5.3%). and non sex offender felons hardly ever do (1.3%). HOWEVER, 1.3 X the total number of non-sex offender felons equals a great many more offenses and victims than does 5.3 X the total number of RSOs.

    And no, the number of registrants hasn't risen due to internet offenses. It has risen because the registries have gone from registering only those who were actually dangerous and posed a threat to registering anything that could possibly have the word sex attached to it and some that don't.

    • LAS_Admin February 11, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Hi Shelly, Ok, so in volume, the number of sex offender crimes is lower than the number of non-sex offender crimes. And, by your numbers, the sex offender recidivism rate is higher (5.3%) than non-sex offender rate (1.3%). So your saying that because the chance of repeat incident is higher–but heck, there are so many less in total number–that sex offenders should be allowed on Facebook, et al? Try that argument on a parent of a child who's been victimized–or the victim themselves.

      • ShellyStow February 11, 2013 at 11:18 am

        My explanation was not for the purpose of trying to convince a parent of anything, nor is it in any way related to why registrants should or shouldn’t be on Facebook. My sole purpose is that you, in using the statistics to begin with, were using them in a manner that is misleading, if not actually deceptive. The only thing that should determine registrants’ access to Facebook, the only way to avoid legislation being unconstitutional, is to narrowly tailor that legislation so that it applies only to registrants whose offenses were the solicitation of minors on the Internet. Had this been done initially, the statute most likely would not have been overturned.

        • LAS_Admin February 11, 2013 at 11:37 am

          Hi Shelly, Ok, thank you for your follow up, and yes, I do agree that some definition–or putting some scope it–would perhaps help. However, in terms of the stats used, go see the 2005-2007 report the IDOC issued on recidivism. Here is the note from the executive summary, p. 7: "Overall, offenders identified as a sex offender who were released in 2002, 2003, or 2004, returned to IDOC at a higher rate than all other offenders."

  • Guest February 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Why any convicted criminal has any rights, is beyond comprehension. It's a proven fact that most convicted criminals (not only those involved with sex offenses) are not rehabilitated. A very high percentage return to crime, eventually are arrested , and convicted once again. The penal system has failed everyone. Most realize the fact, yet, no one will 'step up to the plate', and make the final determination. It inevitably comes down to monies, and especially lack thereof, to retain convicted criminals, yet attempt to rehabilitate them. With a roof over their heads, climate-controlled environment, 3 meals daily, full medical care, and a myriad of activities available, what is the incentive to not be incarcerated upon being caught? Roll the dice, take the opportunity, and the worse most can expect is usually better than within their current existence. And we all know which profession most benefits…

  • Virginia Hall February 11, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Your article is more than a bit slimy in its inferences, none of which are accurate.

    To start with, your second paragraph assumes all sex offenders are child molesters. This is a common misconception and an unfortunate one. There are hundreds of crimes which can land one on the sex offender registry; not all of those crimes involve children, some do not even involve another human being.

    Second, social media is a form of speech. Period. Any law which would infringe it has to pass much more than a feel good test. And really, that's all you're advocating, is a feel good test. You use the myth of stranger danger, which is not documented by anything other than your speculation at the end of your article.

    Third, you assume high rates of sex offender reoffense by misconstruing reported statistics. Yes, it is true sex offenders in the study you cited were 4 x more likely than non sex offenders to commit a sex crime and the recidivism rate for sex offenders was still found to be only 5.3%. That means only 1.3% of non sex
    offenders released from prison committed a sex crime (4 x 1.3% = 5.3%). 5.3% means about 1 in 19 of released ex offenders was later arrested for another sex crime. The hysteria over sex offenders in general is not based in fact. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year administering laws to restrict the freedom of convicted sex offenders, but 18 out of 19 do not re-offend, so we are really spending that money to ensure that 1 out of 19 is caught after re-offending? Concentrate on demonstrated risk rather than speculating and burdening more speech than is necessary — use a scalpel rather than a blunderbuss, as one judge has said.

    Indiana's law put a stake through the heart of the First Amendment and was appropriately struck down. It had the potential to restrict American citizens from communicating with hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of adults and their companies, even if the communication had nothing to do with minors.

    The purpose of this law was to continue punishing former offenders. Not to protect children. Children can best be protected by parents who teach and monitor safe internet use. These bans are popular because they provide a false sense of security and appeal to a misplaced sense of vengeance. Reality is different. Since 95% of sex crimes are committed by those with no prior sex offense record, banning registered persons will have no impact on those few cases of online predation.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to begin keeping people who owe taxes off the internet so they cannot buy things until they’ve paid up?? If the Constitution does not protect registered sex offenders, it does not protect any of us.

    • LAS_Admin February 11, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Hi Virginia, Ok, you can see the responses to the other comments. No question or argument on the need for parents to actually parent their children and apply any and all safeguards to ensure they are not in harm's way. But the bottom line here is this–would you want your child being victim of the 1 in 19 in order to protect the First Amendment right of a convicted felon? Your argument seems to imply "so what if there's collateral damage–ie, a few are going to fall through the cracks and that's ok; at least let's keep the convicted offender's rights intact".

  • ShellyStow February 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    No, her reply addresses these horrible truths:
    Every registrant in America could be locked up for life tomorrow, and the rate of sexual crime against children would not decrease by more than a fraction of a percent and probably not even that.
    We spend millions registering and monitoring those very folk and not a penny on official programs that research and studies and experts all agree are the only way that we will ever make a dent in child sexual abuse:
    awareness, education, and prevention programs in schools and communities;
    victim services;
    meaningful rehabilitation and reentry programs for all first time offenders.
    There are some offenders who cannot or will not modify their behavior. We have tools–risk based assessment–that does a very decent job of identifying them. Doing this and maintaining and monitoring them with a private, law-enforcement-only program, which is every bit as effective, would cost a fraction of what we spend now, leaving millions to do something that would actually help save children. The current system does not.

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