Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Monday slammed the state Legislature’s move to curtail voting rights for felons who have served their sentences, calling it a “poll tax” that will disproportionately impact voters of color.
The former Tallahassee mayor testified at a voting rights hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives in Fort Lauderdale. Gillum and U.S. House Democrats assailed the Florida Legislature’s passage last Friday of a measure to require felons to pay fines and restitution costs before they can register to vote.
Imagine if every time you pay a parking ticket you have to confess to all the times you parked in front of a fire hydrant without being caught. And you can’t get your car back until you do.
Finding the disclosures provide information that any law enforcement agent “would love to have,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Indiana’s requirement that sex offender inmates give detailed accounts of their past actions violates the Constitution’s protections against self-incrimination.
USA TODAY is leading a national effort to obtain and publish disciplinary and misconduct records for thousands of police officers.
As I read through this article and saw the quotes from other police officers about how there are still 750,000 officers and this is only 30,000 of them. But as we know like all crime, these are only the ones that have gotten caught and put under enough scrutiny and pressure to have an internal investigation result in a criminal conviction.
So let’s do some math. (30,000/750,000=.04) 4% of the law enforcement officers in this country have been decertified.
At least (85,000/750,000=.11) 11% of law enforcement officers have been investigated. And those are the ones that we know about. Almost 1/3 of those investigated leads to being decertified.
When law enforcement comes after private citizens they have a 95% or better conviction rate, but when they investigate their own, they have a 33% conviction rate? This disparity of the numbers indicates that either they investigate their internal crimes with less vehemence, their reluctance to put their co-workers under a microscope, or is it just old fashioned ‘good ole boys club’ happening here and they believe they are above the law in some way.
Does it matter?
The clear disparity in the conviction rate for all the investigations that are conducted, indicates that there are different rules of investigation at work for any profession that isn’t law enforcement.
Today, a handful of privately held companies dominate the correctional-services market, many with troubling records of price gouging some of the poorest families and violating the human rights of prisoners. But the problem doesn’t end there. These companies are often controlled by private-equity firms, which through financial alchemy transform the prison-industrial complex into lavish returns for pensions, endowments, and charitable foundations.
The long-term effects of incarceration on the mental health of inmates has been the subject of some research in recent years. Shawn Cahill, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, published a 2015 study finding that Americans who spend time in prison are nearly twice as likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder than those who don’t.
Could the sex offender registry soon be a thing of the past? The American Civil Liberties Union wants to possibly get rid of it, saying the registry doesn’t work. Right now, there are two cases out of Michigan, including a class action lawsuit, claiming several parts of the registry are unconstitutional.
“In August 2016, the federal court of appeals held that Michigan’s registry is unconstitutional.” Attorney for the ACLU in Michigan, Miriam Aukerman, said.
Aukerman represents hundreds of convicted sex offenders fighting the public registry and some of the sex offender restrictions imposed by the state. That suit is in response to the state of Michigan not coming into compliance with the Court of Appeals decision.
“Basically what the court of appeals said is that the registry is so ineffective, so broken, that it violates the constitution. What we know, through research, is that registries don’t work. They don’t keep people safe.”
There were 18 incidents involving the use of pepper spray from December through February, compared with 46 the previous three months, the report said.
“There remains a need to focus on staff de-escalation training and skills development as well as a need to improve the overall atmosphere and culture of the environment in order to reduce incidents of violence,” the independent monitor, Teresa Abreu, wrote. “Merely reducing or modifying the intervention protocols for these types of incidents is not a sufficient response.”
Abreu is an attorney and prison consultant who previously helped run a juvenile detention center in Cook County, Illinois.
She also found that prison guards continue to work 16-hour days and are not promptly responding to inmates’ calls for help, a delay that led to the inmate suffering brain damage. She reported that the use of shackles and solitary confinement is down, but still continues. Prison guards also began strip searching inmates without cause in January, the report found. A memo was sent to prison staff in March telling them to only conduct strip searches when there’s just cause.
“It’s good to see some progress, but we are concerned that (prison) staff are backsliding in use of strip searches, which can be very traumatizing for youth — many of whom have been victims of sexual abuse and other trauma,” said Karen U. Lindell, senior attorney at Juvenile Law Center. “We also need better data collection to detail what is happening in the facilities.”
“The prison population in Wisconsin has more than tripled since 1990. Wisconsin has the highest black male incarceration rate in the country. Half of African American men in their 30s in Milwaukee County have been in state prison.” – ROC Wisconsin, A Project of WISDOM
Wisconsin has the dubious distinction of incarcerating black men at the highest rate of any state in the nation. What many do not know is that we have the second highest black incarceration rate overall, if you include black women as well. Many of those incarcerated come from Milwaukee.
Many people have stated that 53206 zip code has the highest incarceration rate of any zip code in the country. According to Mark Levine of the UW-Milwaukee’s Center for Economic Development, this is not true. “Although incarceration and ex-offender rates in 53206 are staggeringly high, there is no evidence that these rates are the highest in the nation.”
Once it is said enough times it becomes the truth for many. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously stated, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” The statement about 53206 was never checked by anyone to see if it was indeed the truth.
Madison-area Urban Ministry peer support specialist James Morgan emphasized the importance of collaboration between stakeholders to effectively address these problems.
The role legislators play is crucial, Morgan said. They hold the power to revisit and make changes to current legislation — which could then impact individuals who have been incarcerated.
“There are a multitude of things that the legislators can do,” Morgan said. “Primarily, what the legislators can do is begin to listen to the citizens of this community and begin to implement legislations and draft laws that reflect the will of the people.”
“The biggest danger is family members and trusted friends.” (Lee Shipway, Peaceful Solutions Counseling executive director.)
Less than 2%.
That’s how many were total strangers to the child-victim at the center of a sample of 658 local police investigations since 2015, where 7 Investigates was able to establish the relationship of the suspect to the victim.That’s just 12 suspects.
But 60% of the time, the suspect a friend or acquaintance to the child. And 38% of the time, the suspect was a family member. And at least 84 times–leaving out a minority of cases where local law enforcement only identified the suspect as either family or acquaintance–that suspect was a parent or step-parent.
The phenomenon of teen sexting emerged as a result of the proliferation of digital technology. More than 40 studies have established that teen sexting occurs relatively frequently and is a rising trend, commensurate with the ubiquity of smartphone ownership in teens. Studies have shown that sexting is associated with incidences of increased sexual behavior. US state laws on sexting vary widely, from decriminalization to misdemeanor charges or prosecution for child pornography with harsh sentences.
Police said the day Forte Sr. was arrested, officers were called to the neighborhood for Forte Jr. yelling obscenities and harassing the woman and her family. Nicole Klein testified on Tuesday that she was in her house and the windows were open when Forte Jr. yelled “You (expletive) with the wrong family,” “Watch your back” and “I will (expletive) you up.”
On August 31, 2018, the trial court issued an 80 page opinion adopting the experts’ evidence and finding that SORNA violates both state and federal Due Process as well as a number of other constitutional provisions. The government appealed to the State Supreme Court.
2001—A Ninth Circuit panel, in an opinion by Stephen Reinhardt, rules in Doe v. Otte that application of Alaska’s Sex Offender Registration Act (commonly termed a “Megan’s Law”) to those whose crimes were committed before enactment of the …
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that requiring sex offenders to disclose their social media names is not First Amendment violation.
More than a dozen cases were dismissed after defense attorneys asked to examine, or raised doubts about, computer programs that track illegal images to internet addresses.
Strike organizer says he’s being kept in a cell by himself for 164 of the 168 hours in each week for the last five years.
The decision rejects driver’s licenses labeled “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” and a broad demand for reports on internet use.
“Sex offenders are not second-class citizens,” writes U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in a recent decision overturning two provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (ASORCNA) on First Amendment grounds. “The Constitution protects their liberty and dignity just as it protects everyone else’s.”
Those points, which should be obvious, are a sadly necessary corrective to the hysteria that has driven legislators in one state after another to enact indiscriminate, mindlessly restrictive, and covertly punitive laws aimed at sex offenders. ASORCNA, which Watkins calls “the most comprehensive and debilitating sex-offender scheme in the nation,” is a prime example.
The lead plaintiff in this case, dubbed John Doe 1, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure in the early 1990s, when he was living in Wisconsin. He received a six-month suspended sentence for each charge and was not required to register as a sex offender, even after moving to Alabama in 1994. But 14 years later, Alabama expanded its registry, forcing Doe to comply with ASORCNA’s numerous demands and restrictions under threat of imprisonment. Among other things, that meant his driver’s license was marked with the phrase “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” in bold red letters. Here is how Doe describes the consequences of that notation:
I have never felt so embarrassed and ashamed in all of my life. I would not wish showing this on my worst enemy. It makes me not want to go places where I have to show it, and I try not to go places where I know I will have to. But every week, there is some places that ask me to show it, and every time, I get them evil looks from people—like I’m a murderer or something. I done paid for what I did over 25 years ago. Nobody should have to carry this. It ain’t right, but I don’t have a way out.
On Monday, Judge Watkins ruled that Alabama’s branding of registered sex offenders’ identification cards is a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment. “The branded-ID requirement compels speech,” he writes, “and it is not the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling state interest.” The state conceded that its ostensible purpose of alerting police officers to a sex offender’s status could be served by a much less conspicuous mark, such as a letter, that the general public would not readily recognize as a badge of shame. “Using one letter would keep officers informed while reducing the unnecessary disclosure of information to others,” Watkins notes.
Another aspect of Alabama’s “debilitating sex-offender scheme” is a requirement that people in the registry report “email addresses or instant message addresses or identifiers used, including any designations or monikers used for self-identification in Internet communications or postings other than those used exclusively in connection with a lawful commercial transaction.” Registrants also have to keep the authorities apprised of “any and all Internet service providers” they use. The information, which includes mundane activities such as logging into a Wi-Fi network outside the home or registering with a website to comment on news articles, must be reported within three business days, and local law enforcement agencies have the discretion to demand that it be done in person.
That requirement also violates the First Amendment, Watkins concluded. “An offender must report to the police every time he connects to a Wi-Fi spot at a new McDonald’s, every time he uses a new computer terminal at a public library, every time he borrows a smartphone to read the news online, and every time he anonymously comments on a news article,” he writes. “Every time he walks into a new coffee shop, he must determine whether opening his laptop is worth the hassle of reporting.” Those burdens “chill a wide swath of protected speech under penalty of felony,” Watkins says, making the law “facially overbroad.”
Watkins notes that the demand for information about online activity applied to Doe and the other four plaintiffs even though their offenses had nothing to do with the internet or children. And like other ASORCNA provisions, such as its restrictions on residency and employment, the rule applies for life, even though the risk of recidivism for most offenders declines over time to the point that registrants pose no greater threat than the average person. “The failure to account for risk is a problem throughout ASORCNA,” Watkins observes. “Not all sex crimes are the same. Nor are all offenders the same.”
That’s a striking statement from a judge who was appointed by George W. Bush just two years after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Alaska’s sex offender registry based partly on fictitious recidivism numbers that continue to influence state and federal courts. It’s a message that judges and legislators throughout the country need to hear.
A Chicago law firm has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections alleging civil rights violations concerning the use of GPS monitoring for sex offenders — many of whom have completed their sentences and are not on any form of probation, parole or supervised release — and seeks an injunction to stop the state’s lifetime GPS monitoring program. In September 2018, Madison365 reported on the decision by the then-Department of Corrections Secretary Cathy Jess to force people onto GPS after some had been living free and clear of the criminal justice system for months or years. Since then, Scott Walker, who appointed Jess, lost his re-election bid to Tony Evers, who appointed law enforcement veteran Kevin Carr to lead the department. Carr has not been confirmed by the State Senate and has not changed this practice, however. Attorney Mark Weinberg told Madison365 on Tuesday morning that no one who is off supervision and has completed their sentence should be forced to wear GPS monitoring devices for their lifetimes. “We hope the court will find that the state has to be constrained on how it uses GPS monitoring, especially on people who are off
On March 4, 2019, WisconsinEye Senior Producer Steve Walters interviewed the new Department of Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr in the WisconsinEye Studios in Madison, WI.
The court found that extending this monitoring indefinitely beyond the term of a sentence “authorizes a patently unreasonable search that runs afoul of the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” There is a presumption that after a person has served their sentence, the punishment for their crime is finished and their expectation of privacy is restored. The court used precedent set by the US Supreme Court in its decision, which held that the wearing of GPS monitoring devices “constitutes a search,” and warrantless searches of people without “individualized suspicion of wrongdoing” is unreasonable. In a concurrence, Justice Keith Blackwell emphasized that the court’s decision does not prevent “authorizing life sentences for the worst sexual offenders … [or] requiring a sentencing court in the worst cases to require GPS monitoring” as a condition of a life sentence on probation.
Among the bills up for consideration by the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety is Assembly Bill 33, which would make a series of changes to Wisconsin’s expungement law. The proposal, for instance, would remove rules that limit expungement only to offenders who had committed crimes before the age of 25 and disallow expungement for certain traffic crimes, according to an analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
It’s operated in a correctional facility, but run by the staff of an adolescent psychiatric unit. As well, she said, “therapeutic treatment is highly individualized, tailored to the youth” and based on their specific needs.
It’s a treatment process Van Rybroek, the centre’s director, compares to the constellation of Orion. “The juvenile treatment program has a lot of stars, and each star is a component that has to do with trying to help this youth stay safe,” he said. The exterior of the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Centre in Madison, Wis., treats teen boys with complex mental health and behavioural issues who haven’t responded to standard treatment within Wisconsin’s juvenile corrections system. (Submitted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services)
A large component of the program involves “decompression” treatment, where youth are gradually moved from a prison cell to other environments, like a classroom or office, where they can experience increasing levels of freedom. Another piece involves measuring the youth’s behavior twice daily, and adjusting their privileges accordingly.
For example, youth making good progress may be moved to a less restrictive setting.