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By Sex Law and Policy CEnter

Over the past year, we’ve diligently worked to draft a reentry guidebook specifically for people on the registry and the people that love and support them as they navigate the ins and outs of registration and reentry. There is a discussion about the varying pieces of federal legislation requiring registration for sex offenses. One section details constitutional protections, while another section outlines what to expect from registration. Community supervision and how to successfully complete it is covered later on, as is the reentry process and sex offender treatment. This guide explains a registrant’s rights to sexual expression and what to do if they feel their rights are being violated. There is an additional section specifically for women and juveniles on the registry. This guide also helps your loved ones understand what to expect from loving and supporting someone on the registry. In short, it helps registrants, and those they love, understand their rights as someone on the registry. If you have recommendations for improving Registering with Dignity, let us know by filling out the survey below.

Go to website for Full Guide

News Coverage and Blog Stories

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News Coverage and Blog Stories

Washington Post | Aug. 26, 2016 | By Fred Barbash

Court says Michigan Sex Offender Registry Laws Creating ‘MORAL LEPERS’ | Aug. 26, 2016 | By Jacob Sullum

6th Circuit Says Mich. Sex Offender Registry Is Punitive and, Not Incidentally, Stupid

Mimesis Law | Aug. 26, 2016 | By Andrew Fleischman

Sixth Circuit: Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Is Punitive

Simple Justice | Aug. 27, 2016 | By Scott Greenfield

The 6th Circuit Finally Said The Magic Word: Punitive

Michigan Radio | Aug. 26, 2016 | By Jack Lessenberry

Michigan’s sex offender law is unfair and probably UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Slate | Aug. 26, 2016 | By Mark David Stern

Appeals Court Issues Scathing Ruling Against Michigan Sex Offender Penalties

Sex Offense Research Information Center: Recidivism

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Sex Offense Research Information Center: Recidivism

It is a widespread misconception that sex offenders commit additional sex crimes at alarmingly high rates. This myth has had tremendous impact on court decisions and policy making.

The use of dubious statistics in major cases like Smith v. Doe and McKune v. Lile has created a dangerous precedent with lasting effects. In their article, “Frightening and High”: The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics, Ira Mark Ellman and Tara Ellman describe the source of these exaggerated claims.

The phrase “frightening and high”—describing the recidivism rate for sex offenders—was used in both cases and has been used in almost 100 judicial opinions since. Proliferation of this phrase as justification for further punitive policies aimed at sex offenders demonstrates the influence these cases have had in propagating the myth of high recidivism rates.

The “statistic” quoted to justify claims of “frightening and high” recidivism rates has been traced back to a 1986 article from Psychology Today—a mass market publication, not a peer reviewed journal. Ellman and Ellman describe the “statistic” and its source:

That article has this sentence: “Most untreated sex offenders released from prison go on to commit more offenses– indeed, as many as 80% do.” But the sentence is a bare assertion: the article contains no supporting reference for it. Nor does its author appear to have the scientific credentials that would qualify him to testify at trial as an expert on recidivism. He is a counselor, not a scholar of sex crimes or re-offense rates, and the cited article is not about recidivism statistics. It’s about a counseling program for sex offenders he then ran in an Oregon prison. His unsupported assertion about the recidivism rate for untreated sex offenders was offered to contrast with his equally unsupported assertion about the lower recidivism rate for those who complete his program.

While the courts have utilized faulty information to justify the existence of punitive policies, it can be difficult to produce recidivism studies that consider every factor possible. Due to the umbrella nature of the sex offender registry in many states, it can be difficult to separate high risk offenders from their low risk counterparts—it seems obvious they would reoffend at different rates. Also, a successful study must differentiate between re-arrest (for a parole/probation violation, a non-sex crime, or ultimately not charged), re-offense (committing a new sex crime), and re-conviction (getting convicted for a new crime, sexual or non-sexual). The period since release from prison is important as well as many studies have shown sex offenders who have been offense-free for 15 years or more are less likely to commit new crimes.

In 2003 the U. S. Department of Justice released a study on sex offender recidivism: Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994. The study tracked 9,691 sex offenders released from prison in 1994 for a period of 3 years. Several factors were considered and the data are broken down into several categories, but the most basic statistics state that 5.3% of the sex offenders in the study were arrested for a new sex crime within 3 years of their release from prison and 3.5% were convicted for a new sex crime within 3 years. (A far cry from a “frightening and high” rate of 80%.)

In 2012, the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management put out a study: Recidivism Among Sex Offenders in Connecticut. It tracked 14,398 men released from prison in Connecticut for five years. Those tracked were divided into several groups based on offense and incarceration history. 746 of the men had served a prison sentence for a sex-related offense before being released in 2005. Over the next 5 years, 3.6% were arrested and charged for a new sex crime, 2.7% were convicted for a new sex offense, and 1.7% were returned to prison to serve a sentence for a new sex crime. (Certainly not even close to 80%.)

In 2005, P. Karl Hanson and Kelly E. Morton-Bourgon published a meta-analysis of sex offender recidivism studies: The Characteristics of Persistent Sexual Offenders: A Meta-Analysis of Recidivism Studies. This meta-analysis covers 82 recidivism studies that tracked 29,450 sex offenders. Per their findings, 13.7% sex offenders were arrested for a new sex offense and 36.2% recidivated with another type of offense. They conclude that sex offenders with antisocial inclinations are more likely to recidivate, just like any other type of convicted felon

The reality is, sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates of any category of felon. Perpetuation of the high recidivism rate myth by the media is irresponsible and its utilization by those in power to pass punitive policies is reprehensible.

Emily Horowitz

Edmonton judge rules national sex offender registry is unconstitutional (Canada)

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Edmonton judge rules national sex offender registry is unconstitutional for sex offenders

Tony Blais October 26, 2016 | Last Updated: October 26, 2016 7:12 PM MDT

An Edmonton judge has ruled that the national sex offender registry is unconstitutional as it is “over broad and grossly disproportionate” and violates people of their charter rights.

In a recently released decision involving the case of an Edmonton man convicted of two sexual assaults, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Andrea Moen found the Sex Offender Information Registration Act removed judicial discretion to refuse to place offenders who present no risk of reoffending on the registry.

“In my view, the mandatory registration for all sex offenders upon conviction of two or more offences, without regard to the seriousness of the offences or the offender’s propensity to reoffend is over broad,” said Moen, noting the goal of the legislation is to help police investigate past crimes and prevent new ones.”

“In my view, including offenders on the registry who have little to no chance of reoffending bears no relation to protecting the public. Subjecting all offenders, regardless of their future risk, to onerous reporting requirements, random compliance checks by the police and internal stigma, goes further than what is necessary to accomplish the goal of protecting the public, and is therefore over broad,” said Moen.

The judge’s decision, which would not be binding on courts across the country, but could be persuasive, is not final yet. She has given the Crown, which opposed the sex offender’s application, until Nov. 30 to return to court with further charter arguments or a possible legal remedy in the case.

On June 26, 2015, Eugen Ndhlovu, 25, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to six months in jail followed by three-years probation. He would also have been placed on the national sex offender registry for life; however, he challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory lifetime registration.

Court heard that on March 12, 2011, Ndhlovu was invited by a woman, who can’t be identified under a court-ordered publication ban, to attend a party billed on Facebook as a highly sexualized Jersey Shore event that was to have a stripper pole available.

Ndhlovu, who was born and raised in Zimbabwe, had declined because he was working the next day, but the woman insisted on his attendance, arranged a ride for him, and told him he could stay overnight and get a ride to work the next morning.

The pair and a mutual friend, who also can’t be identified, began drinking at the home that evening and, as the night progressed, the two women each reported instances where Ndhlovu sexually touched them without their consent.

Court heard Ndhlovu touched each woman’s buttocks while the three were posing for a picture. He also placed his hands on the friend’s thighs and buttocks during a conversation in the kitchen.

In the early morning, the first woman woke up to find Ndhlovu’s fingers inside her and told him to stop. He tried again, telling her it would “feel good.” She pushed him away and he left the home.

Ndhlovu later told police he did not remember the whole night, but pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting both women.

At sentencing, Moen ruled Ndhlovu posed a “very low” risk to reoffend as he had taken responsibility for his actions, showed great remorse and had no prior criminal record.

Ndhlovu returned to court to argue that a lifetime Sex Offender Information Registration Act order was “coercive” and “grossly disproportionate,” Moen agreed and ruled it would deprive him of his liberty for the rest of his life.

“The law as it stands will now place Mr. Ndhlovu on police radar for the rest of his life any time a sexual offence is committed by a black man of average height in his neighbourhood,” said Moen, adding that requiring him to be on the registry “bears no connection to the object of assisting police officers in the investigation or prevention of future sex crimes.”

Judge Critical of Sex-Offender Registry Confirmed to Massachusetts High Court

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Judge Critical of Sex-Offender Registry Confirmed to Massachusetts High Court 

Judge Critical of Sex-Offender Registry Confirmed to Massachusetts High Court

Critics had argued that Kimberly Budd’s criticism of sex-offender registries “render her unfit to serve as a justice.”


Making a mild criticism of sex offender registries looked like it could have hurt a Massachusetts judge in her bid to serve on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. But on Wednesday the Governor’s Council, an eight-member elected body responsible for approving judicial nominees, voted unanimously in favorof Superior Court Judge Kimberly Budd’s nomination to serve as an associate justice.

During a grilling by the Governor’s Council last week, Budd had said the state Sex Offender Registry is too expansive, ensnaring people who are far from a threat to anyone. She added that this opinion stemmed not from her “professional experience, but just hearing about people who wind up on the registry that don’t necessarily need to be there and aren’t really sex offenders.”

As anyone who reads Reason editor Jacob Sullum or “Free Range Kids” empress Lenore Skenazy on this topic knows, Budd’s is an entirely accurate statement. While registry rules vary from state to state, a growing array of offenses can land someone on the registry, leaving all sorts of non-predators on a list that people think of and lawmakers treat like a compendium of rapists and child molesters. 

Budd stopped short of criticizing the registry more broadly, although the logical foundations of the registry as a whole are shaky, as there’s scant evidence that perpetrators of sex crimes are more likely to re-offend than other types of offenders. Still, even the judge’s suggestion that we should purge people who “aren’t really sex offenders” from the list drew loud objections from some.

Rowlett Couple Harassed After Mistaken Sex Offender Notice

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Rowlett Couple Harassed After Mistaken Sex Offender Notice

July 21, 2016 12:32 AM

ROWLETT (CBSDFW.COM) – A Rowlett couple fear for their safety after police mistakenly listed their address as belonging to a sex offender.


The Texas Department of Public Safety sent postcards to neighbors within four blocks of the house on Kirby Road, alerting them a “high risk” offender, Garon Hedric, lives there.


“It’s been a nightmare, and I want it to be over,” said Michelle Swindle.



Rowlett Couple Harassed After Mistaken Sex Offender Notice

Small cities want sex offenders to keep their distance

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Small cities want sex offenders to keep their distance

  • By JOHN AUSTIN CNHI State Reporter
  • Updated

 AUSTIN – Forty-six small cities were threatened with lawsuits last fall for restricting places where sex offenders may live.

Half repealed their rules for fear of big legal fees. The leaders of many others are lobbying to shore up their authority to keep registered sex offenders away from schools, playgrounds and other places where children gather.

“We’re working on getting the law changed,” said Elicia Sanders, mayor of Eustace, population 1,260, in Henderson County. “I haven’t encountered a single person who says it’s a bad idea.”

However, Richard Gladden, a Denton attorney who represents Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, an advocacy group representing sex offenders, said he’ll continue to sue cities that are “trying to create hysteria” with unconstitutional ordinances.

(Click on the link above to read full story)

HOA bans homeowners renting to sex offenders, but is it legal?

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HOA bans homeowners renting to sex offenders, but is it legal?

 By Andy Cerota – Anchor/Reporter

HOA bans homeowners renting to sex offenders, but is it legal? 

HOUSTON – A Fort Bend County neighborhood’s homeowners association has put a ban on any homeowner renting to a registered sex offender.

Lots of families with young children live in the Kingdom Heights neighborhood. The deed restrictions established by the HOA for the quiet suburban Houston community are crystal clear — no homeowner may lease to a residence to a registered sex offender.