Monday, February 07, 2011

Deregistration for first-time, low-level sex offenders may become reality in 2011

James Cannon at the Midland Reporter-Telegram has a nice little scoop on proposed protocols to be considered later this month by the state Council on Sex Offender Treatment to facilitate deregistration of low-risk offenders from the list ("Texas in final stages to allow some sex offenders to deregister from list," Feb. 6):
Texas is in the final stages of implementing a new program that will allow some sex offenders to deregister from the lifetime list, after an, as of yet, unspecified amount of time and counseling.

The Council on Sex Offender Treatment will meet Feb. 26 to discuss the final stages of establishing guidelines and protocol to evaluate low-level sex offenders. Once the training for the counselors are in place, a spokesperson said, within months, evaluation specialists will begin seeing potential candidates.

"This is a more common sense approach, we have to balance public safety with a limited amount of funds to ensure the maximum amount of public safety," said Allison Taylor, executive director for the Council on Sex Offender Treatment.

She said about 100 new names a week are added to the sex offenders list and database, and the cost of monitoring and managing the system are becoming untenable.

Taylor said the new program will allow deregistration evaluation specialists to categorize those convicted into risk-levels. By placing offenders in risk levels, she said, the government will be able to monitor those that need it the most, rather than spreading out the limited amount of resources on all offenders equally.

"Do we really need to monitor the 19-year-old convicted of having sex with his underage girlfriend the same way we would monitor a 40-year-old serial rapist, pedophile or murder, for instance," she asked. "We need to target predators and not kids caught in the criminal justice system because of the age of consent."
Here's a little more background on the legislation authorizing the new rules from the agency's website:
During the 79th Regular session of the Texas Legislature, two companion bills became law which potentially impact deregistration of some sex offenders in Texas. First, H.B. 867 amended Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, by adding Subchapter I, Art. 62.401 et seq., thereby creating a potential deregistration exemption for certain non-aggravated first-time sex offenders, after those offenders have been registered for a minimum of ten (10) years. This delayed exemption is limited to those sex offenders which currently require lifetime registration under Texas law, but who are only subjected to a ten (10) year registration requirement under Federal law.

The five specific penal code offenses which are subject to deregistration under Art. 62.404 are: Indecency with a Child (Section 21.11(a)(1); Promotion and Distribution of Child Pornography (Section 43.26); Burglary with Intent (Section 30.02); Sexual Performance of a Child (Section 43.25); and Compelling Prostitution of a Child under 17 (Section 43.05(a)(2).
Here's an official summary (pdf) about the process. According to that document, the agency:
has developed a protocol for the deregistration process that utilizes research supported risk assessment instruments. The Council will soon begin training qualified Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Providers who want to become Deregistration Evaluation Specialists. These Specialists will be the professionals who are qualified to conduct the deregistration evaluations that could potentially provide a Registered Sex Offender with an opportunity to seek relief from the court regarding his or her obligation to register. The training for the Deregistration Evaluation Specialists will be conducted in the upcoming months.
The deregistration option will apply to the following offenses:
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Compelling prostitution (victim under 17 years old)
  • Indecent exposure (two or more convictions)
  • Unlawful restraint (victim under 17 years old)
  • Indecency with a child by exposure
  • Possession or promotion of child pornography
  • Online solicitation of a minor
  • Sexual performance of a child
  • Indecency with a child (victim 13 to 17 years old)
  • Any attempts, conspiracies, and solicitations of any of the above listed.
However, applicants must also meet these additional criteria:
  • The sex offender must not being convicted of any offense for which imprisonment for more than 1 year may be imposed during the required registration period;
  • The sex offender must not have been convicted of any sex offense including misdemeanors during the required registration period;
  • The sex offender must have successfully completed sex offender treatment as defined in 22 Texas Administrative Code, Section 810.2(b)(29); and
  • The sex offender must have successfully completed any periods of supervised release, probation, and parole. Any revocation disqualifies the offender.
Given that the legislation authorizing deregistration passed in 2007, the Council on Sex Offender Treatment has taken their own sweet time about implementing it, but I'm glad they're doing so now.


Anonymous said...

Makes sense. Really no point in saddling a 19 year old man for consensual sex with a 16 year old girl who is emotionally and psychologically as mature as he. I hope some version of this happens.

Rev. Charles in Tulia

Unknown said...

One hundred new names a week!
That number pretty much speaks for itself. Texas is either throwing the term “sex offender” around loosely or else we’re the biggest bunch of perverts around.

My only issue, really is that the proposed changes appear to involve ONLY deregistration of registered sex offenders and not the elimination of certain crimes from the sex offender registry in the first place.

Some of the offenses on the deregistration list seem like they never should have been on it at all. Yet deregistration would create another administrative process while leaving in place the “registration” part of the process.

Anonymous said...

We need to take a close look at the crime of Compelling Prostitution.

Obama on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
President urges global community to protect victims, prosecute traffickers

Office of the Press Secretary
January 4, 2010




The United States was founded on the principle that all people are born with an unalienable right to freedom — an ideal that has driven the engine of American progress throughout our history. As a Nation, we have known moments of great darkness and greater light; and dim years of chattel slavery illuminated and brought to an end by President Lincoln's actions and a painful Civil War. Yet even today, the darkness and inhumanity of enslavement exists. Millions of people worldwide are held in compelled service, as well as thousands within the United States. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we acknowledge that forms of slavery still exist in the modern era, and we recommit ourselves to stopping the human traffickers who ply this horrific trade.

As we continue our fight to deliver on the promise of freedom, we commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation, which became effective on January 1, 1863, and the 13th Amendment, which was sent to the States for ratification on February 1, 1865. Throughout the month of January, we highlight the many fronts in the ongoing battle for civil rights — including the efforts of our Federal agencies; State, local, and tribal law enforcement partners; international partners; nonprofit social service providers; private industry and nongovernmental organizations around the world who are working to end human trafficking.

The victims of modern slavery have many faces. They are men and women, adults and children. Yet, all are denied basic human dignity and freedom. Victims can be abused in their own countries, or find themselves far from home and vulnerable. Whether they are trapped in forced sexual or labor exploitation, human trafficking victims cannot walk away, but are held in service through force, threats, and fear. All too often suffering from horrible physical and sexual abuse, it is hard for them to imagine that there might be a place of refuge.

We must join together as a Nation and global community to provide that safe haven by protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers. With improved victim identification, medical and social services, training for first responders, and increased public awareness, the men, women, and children who have suffered this scourge can overcome the bonds of modern slavery, receive protection and justice, and successfully reclaim their rightful independence.

Fighting modern slavery and human trafficking is a shared responsibility. This month, I urge all Americans to educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking. Together, we can and must end this most serious, ongoing criminal civil rights violation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2010 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the vital role we can play in ending modern slavery, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

Anonymous said...

America Loves the Pimp (Modern Day Slavery)

There are specific actions that men and boys can take to end these atrocities:

1. Challenge the glamorization of pimps in our culture

Mainstream culture has popularized the image of a pimp to the point that some men and boys look up to them as if they represent legitimate male role models, and they view “pimping” as a normal expression of masculinity. As Carrie Baker reflects in “Jailing Girls for Men’s Crimes” in the Summer Ms. issue, the glorification of prostitution is often rewarded, not punished, in pop culture:

Reebok awarded a multi-million-dollar contract for two shoe lines to rapper 50 Cent, whose album “Get Rich or Die Tryin” (with the hit single “P.I.M.P.”) went platinum. Rapper Snoop Dogg, who showed up at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards with two women on dog leashes and who was described in the December 2006 cover of Rolling Stone as “America’s Most Lovable Pimp,” has received endorsement deals from Orbit gum and Chrysler.

In reality, pimps play a central role in human trafficking and routinely rape, beat and terrorize women and girls to keep them locked in prostitution. Men can take a stand against pimps and pimping by renouncing the pimp culture and the music that glorifies it.

2. Confront the belief that prostitution is a “victimless crime”

Many men view prostitution as a “victimless crime.” But it is not. For example, American women who are involved in prostitution are at a greater risk to be murdered than women in the general population. Research also shows that women involved in prostitution suffer tremendous physical and mental trauma associated with their work. Viewing prostitution as a victimless crime or something that women “choose” allows men to ignore the fact that the average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 12 to 14 and that the vast majority of women engaged in prostitution would like to get out but feel trapped. Men should stop viewing prostitution as a victimless crime and acknowledge the tremendous harm and suffering their participation in prostitution causes.

Anonymous said...

The 19 year old with a 15 year old girlfriend offense is NOT on that list to be deregistered

Hook Em Horns said...

As soon as the legislature can figure out how to make money off of this, it will become reality.

Anonymous said...

the 19 yr old with the 15 yr old when it is consensual and not assault....why do we do this? what do other, more progressive states do? this is another example of over zealous prosecution.

Its always been about the money said...

I don't see "sexual assault of a child" on this list. The majority of teenage boys having consensual sex with a teenage girl more than 3 years younger than him will plea to this charge. And most teenagers caught up in these type cases are listed as "high" risk offenders.

And, I bet “unspecified time & counseling” means for the period of probation; some counties will bleed ‘em for every penny.

Allison Taylor is also well aware that the majority of these types of teenage offenders are sitting in treatment with the 40 year old pedophiles, rapist, etc. and are being told by the state licensed treatment provider there is no difference in the Romeo/Juliet offender versus the rapist/molester.

I bet there will be a few unhappy LSOTP's since there are quite a few Romeo's sitting in the undifferentiated treatment on a weekly basis at about $40 a pop, with annual (or more) polygraphs $200 a pop, plus one on one monthly counseling sessions about $60 a pop.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where the council meeting will be and what time it will start?

Anonymous said...

Where is THE BILL to sentence the accusers who are found to lie, twist the truth, make up stories...this will stop a lot of wrong accusations once there is a law that becomes a felony/prejury for lieing and making up stories...this happens a lot, time to put pressure to stop this

Anonymous said...

"It's always been" makes a good point. most crimes in the late 90's were classified as sexual assault of a child and not indecency. That trend did not begin until the mid 2000's when people started taking note of the 19 years getting put in prison for 16 year old girlfriends.

This law is short of the mark. Until all but the truly heinous have the ability to de-register, then no law is good in this regard.

One other thing that should be pointed out. This very same bill ushers in the Adam Walsh Act as its criteria. It as well mandates the retro-active re-classification of all registrants even when the law originally did not allow for it. This is a violation of the US constitution that they love to poo on when they can. When have they ever gone back and re-classed a drunk driver after their crimes and incarceration was completed? have they ever gone back to look at manslaughter cases and re-classed those guy to full blown murder convictions? See, another way to continue punishment on those that have paid the price for mostly ignorance and ego. The Sex Offender Counsel is also being renamed to something else, as they give control of the classification and treatment of RSO over to the police state.

All this is just another dog and pony show to make everyone life time registration. Very few will be affected by this bill, but oh they are trying to 'help' ... right?

Makes you wonder why the majority of us every gave a shit enough to change our deviant thought patterns to begin with.

Anonymous said...

What I thought was interesting; The state appears to only be concerned about the financial implications when de-registering folks. They make it very clear they will not de-register sex offenders whom crimes will cause them to lose federal grant money. My understanding is the sex offender registry is based on a public safety need, not a financial one. If someone is no public safety risk, then they should be de-registered. Not keep them on the list to fill the states budget woes.

Anonymous said...

Look no further to so many women in prison right now. Sure they are wrong for for having sex with a minor maybe a 16 year old male. But it was the 16 year old that went around bragging about his conquest with an older women then mommy hears about it and all hell breaks lose. We are satisfied with only revenge and imprison this women. But common sense tells me sex at any age for a male with a female has never caused the male PSTD. I just can not believe this male has been harm. Now I am talking about those high school boys here and not a small child. But our legal system or our society is not satisfied with just the women being sent to prison but being having a life long brand with the sex offender registry. Why don't we put the Scarlet Letter on her forhead again.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:02: The registry IS supposed to be about public safety. However in its now bloated form it actually allows the public to be less safe.

When you saturate any item beyond the information that the public can digest it becomes useless. The current registry has thousands of first time offenders, no criminal history before nor after their conviction. Lots of young males on there for not stopping their liaisons with their high school sweeties after the male turned 18. There are also alot of guys/gals on it for public exposure, picking up underaged people at bars, etc etc etc.

When the registry only has those on it that are truly showing violent behaviors, grabbing kids from the streets and such, THEN it will be about public safety. But as long as it continues to allow THOSE offenders to hide between Johnny the 19 year old and Mary the non-ID checking bar fly we will never get any safety out of it. Special Interest MONEY is king with politicians, it helps them pay their bills.

Anon 4:18: If the women did what they did with the underaged boy, then they SHOULD do prison/supervision time depending on what they did. I do not think that anyone is advocating for NOT punishing anyone that sexually offends. Now, with treatment, it has been proven that the offender is far less likely to reoffend again and this is a good reason to de-list 90% of the people on it currently. I do not however hold your line of thought regarding giving the women a free ride, especially when they already get a far easier sentence than a man in the same situation.

Men that sexually offend against teen females are 'monsters', but women are 'misunderstood', in a 'fragile' time of their life, or are emotionally 'distraught' due to divorce/child dying/ etc... The double standard is pathetic. male or female we have to get it right on both sides. All people make mistakes, and all should pay with sentencing. However a lifetime of shame or shunning does noone any good because you push the ex-offender further out on the fringes. That makes them MORE dangerous in the long run.

Anonymous said...

What about the underaged girl on Facebook, with a profile saying she is 20, divorced and has a child? Then solicits and adult male for a hookup. The mother finds out and files charges on the man who had no idea the girl was 16. Now he faces 20 years in prison and registration as a 'Sex Offender' for life. Texas law does not allow any evidence to be presented showing the girl lied about her age and everything else to this man. And what happens to her??? nothing!!!! said...

Quite useful piece of writing, thank you for this article.

Anonymous said...

I am one that over 20 yrs ago got caught up in this very thing. Now Tx has me on the list as low and the state I was incarcerated in stated I had a ten yr registry. Tx has witch hunted in leu of Federal funding, bank robbers, hubitual criminals aren't on lists, why not. Deregistration is a must.

Anonymous said...

When a sate issues an offender a limited time period for registration, all states need to warrant said time period. Texas has long "witch hunted" offenders in leu of funding. Now Tx is no longer accepting Adam Walsh Act funding, they need to generate lost funds, the counseling will provide a cash flow, not as much as the A.W.A provided, but it is money to state agencies. I'm fighting hard to get funding to have my case reopened due to new evidence of my so called victom has lied yet again putting another man in the barbed wire hotel. Deregistration is a must and needs to happen fast. We need jobs and not all offenders can find work. I worked in high end IT/telcomm and after my profile went public (2 yrs ago) , I can't get a paper route.
The witch hunt is over!!!

Anonymous said...

Everyone convicted of a sex offense in FL has to be on the fl website - but in states like MA and NV, low-level offenders are excluded from the website......

"Funniest" thing is that people convicted of murder, non-sexual violent assaults, etc aren't on any list - but a 19 year old who has consentual sexual relations with a 16 year old has their life in shambles forever.

Unknown said...

I agree with what a lot of you guys are saying and I'm so lost and don't know how we could ever get it changes but it sure does need to be changed. What I find interesting is there was a 17 year old teenager or was asked by the "victim" to be friends with her on the social media website so he did and talked to the girl who told him she was 16 her mother found out called the Texas Rangers to get involved and they set him up. This guy did not touch the "victim" at all not even one kiss. On top of all of that he was just one guy out of 3 but since he was the oldest and and they said he was 2 months to old) he was the one that got convicted of attempted sexual assault times 2 and online solicitation of a minor. Along with having to register but the "victim" who is now 22 was caught sending nude pictures of herself to a 16 year old ( the "victim's mother is the county attorney in the town this happened in) and when the girl's mother found out about all of the pictures instead of doing what the law says to do instead she just kicked her daughter out and made her move out of town. I really don't understand the way this law is and I sure so know that it's all about money but the offender is not the only ones that hurt when they get convicted of these crimes with teenagers like that or any first time offenders who made a mistake their families hurt, their kids hurt, their friends hurt and I wish they would see how hard they are making it for everyone else. Until the day it happens to them or one of their loved ones without try to cover it up they will not see the pain it causes nor will they care.

Anonymous said...

Unless you have gone through a situation yourself on either end, you have no right to comment. Back in the 70's I was molested as a child and raped, things like that were not talked about back in those days. I now have a very close friend who was entrapped by the FBI and pursued and baited via the internet to meet, he was arrested for enticement of a minor when no minor was involved. Therefore this person is going to Prison for absolutely no reason at all other than he agreed to meet with the undercover agent.
The problem is the crimes that are listed under Sex Offender are not looked at on case by case they are just under the umbrella of Sex Offender. If you actually harmed a child, had child porn on your laptop you get less time than a person did not have or do any of what I just listed. There was no victim in this case, the wife was the victim and after the smoke cleared, she is standing behind him all the way.
Believe me if my friend had gone one step farther I would not be standing behind him, but he was baited and pursued by the FBI and they did not give up until he agreed. Because of this he has been in jail awaiting his sentencing date for 174 days. There is no way to fight it and if you do you will get twice the time you would have if you plead guilty.
They are put into Prison for at lease 10 years, so that is on their record, then they put a life sentence label on them to register as a SEX OFFENDER. What is Prison actually doing but putting money into the government's pocket. If you are going to have them register as a Sex Offender for life then what is Prison actually doing. I don't see where there is any reason for Prison for this type of charge where there is no victim involved. I see probation, mental health treatment and medication, but I don't see how Prison helps.

Anonymous said...

I just received my own letter stating I can move forward to de-registration. I have a non-contact (juvenile pornography) crime, and in fact the circumstances of my case actually left open the opportunity to plead an affirmative defense that, naturally, my attorney overlooked. I spent seven years in prison, losing both of my parents while inside, and was not even allowed to go to their funerals. My sons lost the opportunities I could and should have been able to afford them. Yes, I let this toxic material into my life and I shouldn't have, to be sure, but when an arrest report actually states "victim: none" and no sex was had nor solicited, no contact with another human being for the purpose of sexual contact or even seduction was attempted. A sex crime, with no sex. Alright...

This hampers your life forever. My job possibilities are exceptionally limited, as they honestly are for any ex-offender who has to look at that box that says "have you ever been convicted of a felony" and realize he'll never have the chance to prove his worth should he be honest. I have a decent, not great, job I've managed to keep for 4 years now. I am married but separated, largely because the registration requirements of the state I live in now mean that every 5 years or every time you move to a new location, you have to have post cards sent to everyone within a few miles, plus you have to pay for it, around $500, and pleading indigence is very difficult unless you have NO income, are completely on assistance. Just being the "working poor" living paycheck to paycheck and/or supporting your children doesn't buy you any sympathy. Having gone through it once before, my wife just couldn't stomach the notion of the new house her mother bought her, her neighbors, getting those post cards. I can't say I blame her. But it still is just another in a long line of extensions to the "debt to society" I paid so dearly already. Again, for a crime that the legal system is forced to categorize as "victim: none."

Yes, the entire legal system has found a popular meme in increasing the pressure on "sex" offenders, and sure, violent criminals are a danger, but these crimes are being used as the old "the enemy of your enemy is your friend" strategy to enhance political cachet. Sex offenders, and indeed most anyone who has a felony conviction, are the last frontier of socially acceptable and legally supported prejudice. You're allowed to make one-dimensional characters of the people who have these convictions. No discernment need be done. The humanity of the individual, to say nothing of the real details of the conviction, need be considered. A serial rapist is the same person as the 19 year old who had a relationship with a 16 year old that he subsequently marries once he's out of prison, or the person who views the wrong kind of crime scene photos (juvenile pornography) regardless of why this happened. So there you are.

Now de-registration. This comes with a hefty price tag. Once you have cleared the first step, and you are qualified to move forward, you have to have a meeting with a certified deregistration evaluator. This meeting costs, at the lowest I've found, $2500. Again for people who are qualified but by and large have a very difficult time finding gainful employment. I'm saving slowly, hopefully I can have this put together within a year. And every month the amount I need to save will eat into every aspect of my living. I never go to a restaurant, don't even do the drive through. Peanut butter sandwiches are my most common lunch. I don't have cable. There are virtually no creature comforts for my life other than shelter, water, electric, internet which I have to have for my work, and what groceries I can afford. All while doing all I can to help my two younger sons. But this will change my life. So I have to push forward.