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Sex Offender Registry Reform Advocate Objects to New Law

Shana Rowan, executive director of USA FAIR, says such legislation doesn't help.

By Shana Rowan

As a registry reform advocate and fiancee of a registrant whose crime was committed as a minor, I read your piece on Farmingdale's potential sex offender residency restriction with interest.

I am a central New York resident and successfully fought the same restrictions when my city considered them this past August. I believe your readers would benefit from understanding why the various reasons that this type of legislation is not just ineffective but harmful.

Empirical research indicates that residency restrictions do not reduce sex crimes against children, mainly because they are based on the myth of high recidivism, and the false belief that all registrants are dangerous to children. High-profile but extremely rare high-profile cases of serial pedophiles and child molesters obscure the fact that 95 percent of children are abused by a family member or acquaintance behind closed doors, not a stranger on the registry. Sex offender recidivism has also been consistently documented as extremely low - in the single digits - for decades. 

Mayor Erkstrand's NIMBY mentality is another major issue. Because schools and daycares are often centrally located, blanket radial housing bans force sex offenders (and their families and children) into clusters (disproportionate number of former offenders in a small area) and also make it more difficult for them to access employment, treatment and other support systems.

Mayor Erkstrand may not like sex offenders, but making it even more difficult for them to re-integrate healthily into the community makes it more likely they will re-offend. Do we want revenge, that results in more victims, or prevention?

Lastly, residency restrictions have been successfully overturned in dozens of New York counties and towns in the past several years. If the town passes the ordinance, it will be challenged and they will be forced to repeal it; there is simply too much precedent. Municipalities are not legally allowed to impart harsher laws than the state mandates. They will have wasted taxpayers' money and failed to protect anyone.

All statistics may be verified in our study section: www.usafair.org/studies.

Editor's Note: USA FAIR (Families Advocating an Intelligent Registry) is a nonprofit organization representing the family members of former sex offenders.

Valerie Parkhurst December 28, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Your groups whine and moan about the laws, you have umteen forums that complain about the trials and tribulations of offenders, You have RSOL groups who meet once a month (and complain no one shows up) mainly to strategise how to bombard legislators to abolish all the laws against sex offenders, you have parasitic "minutemen" to hit every article on existing or proposed legislation to appear as regular citizens against them..of course you dont bother to "log in" on articles profiling what your precious offenders did the night before. You have websites "stirring the pot" against "anti's" but I have yet to come across a legitmate sponcered "prevention/educational" curriculum that is implemented in any legitimate venue by your groups..Shana screams Education/prevention..but I cant even find one website where your groups even attempt to talk a Guy down from offending??You pat them on the back, tell them to keep their chin up and then all of you wallow in self pity together and "bash" the system. Is that your education plan???
Valerie Parkhurst December 30, 2012 at 02:46 PM
You had a a couple of days Shana to link me to your "prevention" programs..where are they? I see your SO buddies have been busy over the holidays offending everywhere..how this for a program? Give them your phone number when they are about to tear someone's world apart and YOU can Talk them DOWN..
Beverly Johnson-Keller August 13, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Valerie...you are a troll. A troll who should go back under the rock you came from. I agree with Shana. The registry needs to have reform. But unfortunately, there are too many people like yourself who think that they are all the same. Not every offender is cut from the same cloth. The registry is bloated so far, that you cannot tell who is the kid who made a bad choice and had sex with his underage girlfriend vs. the violent offender who needs to be kept track of. I find your inability to have any compassion for fellow human beings, incomprehensible and your hate of Shana uncalled for. You are nothing here, but a black spot. Go bother someone else with your drivel!
Beverly Johnson-Keller August 13, 2013 at 04:22 AM
Valerie...read this...It can happen for good.... http://www.stopitnow.org/community_member
Valerie Parkhurst August 16, 2013 at 02:31 AM
I asked a legitimate question and still cant get an answer from any of you. Your groups hate my guts for no other reason I am the thorn in your side when I run across the never-ending droning of how over prosecuted and harmless registrants are, You go to the trouble of logging in here, eager to put your noses up Shana's backside while she blantantly lies about her finace's conviction and the crap reoffend rates she offers up hoping the average reader will fall for it. But not once does a member of your group log in to the never ending articles profiling what your precious sex offenders did to some innocent last night? You dont want to acknowledge it, or even recognize offenders are Re-Offending at record rates. You whine and cry if offenders are not left alone to "go on with their lives"and that their reoffense rates increase. Got news for ya. Offenders with stable support systems, housing, jobs and cars are offending at record rates over guys living under a bridge or in a tent in the woods. Why? Opportunity, and women like you Beverly are opening the doors for them. Why dont you just put your kids and their friends on menu's for them? The registry does need reform, the correctional/judicial even more. But quit plying the crap of how harmless convicted sex offenders are, the daily headlines show in black and white and hard truths that what your trying to sell is nothing more than a Nigerian Scam to the general public. When the "system" can figure out who to keep in jail, who needs a needle stuck in their arm and who needs the ability to petition off the registry in a more timely manner, CONSIDER them ALL DANGEROUS.

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