Thursday, August 20, 2009

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Employment Discrimination against People with Criminal Records

Have You Experienced Discrimination?

People with criminal records face widespread employment discrimination. Many employers now do routine background checks. Firing or refusing to hire someone because of his or her criminal record can violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under some circumstances, particularly where an employer fires or refuses to hire someone based on an OLD conviction that is UNRELATED to the job sought. An employer's blanket ban on hiring ALL people with convictions runs a substantial risk of violating Title VII.

The ACLU Women’s Rights Project, in conjunction with ACLU affiliates in Oregon, Alaska, Michigan, Georgia, Hawaii, and other states, is launching an initiative to tackle the ways in which people with criminal records are barred from rebuilding their lives through employment. We seek to challenge barriers to employment by enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and by engaging in advocacy and public education to take down barriers to employment for people with criminal records.

For more information about employment discrimination against people with criminal convictions, please click here.

Please contact us if you recently have been fired or denied a job because of an old or minor conviction that is not related to the job that was lost.

The information you provide in this questionnaire will be kept confidential unless we contact you and obtain your permission to share it with others. Please provide detailed responses where necessary. Thank you.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


MI - Michigan Attorney General is running for Governor in 2010, so he busts out the fear-mongering about online predators to get votes!!

See here and here.

Out of all the online stings he says he has done, not a single person was a convicted sex offender, so the laws he is proposing will do nothing to prevent further crime, nor protect anybody, but, it will get him votes...

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"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


FL - Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and the Julia Tuttle Causeway

This is more typical fear-mongering. It's not against the law for offenders to have their husbands/wives and kids under the bridge with them! Not all offenders are banned from being around other kids, especially their own, but, the media loves to scare the hell out of people, and report on bogus crap, as in the videos below.

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"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


SD - Where is sex-offender committee headed?

View the article here

The highlighted text below, is why all ex-sex offenders and their families, need to attend any and all meetings about sex offenders laws. They will listen, if you speak out. So, attend the meetings and let your voice be heard!

08/20/2009

The Legislature’s interim committee studying South Dakota’s sex-offender registry has informally decided to meet four times rather than the original plan for three. The panel, chaired by Sen. Gene Abdallah, R-Sioux Falls, needs the additional meeting so that the members can attempt to determine what they want to recommend to the full Legislature. Right now, the committee’s direction remains murky, with more ideas than an octopus could hold.

One key point, as Rep. Rich Engels, D-Hartford, reminded the panel is that South Dakota’s sex-offender registry law isn’t synchronized with federal law. South Dakota requires enrollment for offenses committed at age 15 and older, but the federal Adam Walsh Act sets the minimum age at 14. There are other differences which South Dakota also likely needs to rectify by July 26, 2010, or face a 10 percent loss of some federal anti-crime funding known as Byrne grants.

But much of the committee’s second meeting, which was held Tuesday, focused on the stories of offenders and their relatives who testified that being listed on the sex-crimes registry is an injustice that continues to damage them and their families years later. Many of the stories involved sexual acts between teens younger than 16 and older teen-aged or adult males.

I think this committee is at a fork in the road,” is how Reuben Bezpaletz, the Legislative Research Council staff member assigned to assist the panel, tactfully described the situation when the public testimony wrapped up Tuesday. Bezpaletz suggested that the next meeting, now set for Monday, Sept. 21, be used by the committee to review approximately nine possible pieces of legislation, still to be drafted. After the Sept. 21 discussions, he said, a fourth meeting could then be used to reach consensus on what the committee will formally recommend to the full Legislature for consideration in the 2010 session.

One group whose voices haven’t been heard yet is victims and their families. Another group is the citizens who use the South Dakota registry to keep track of who’s living in their communities and neighborhoods.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


NJ - Sex offender rules being repealed

View the article here

08/20/2009

By Siobhan A. Counihan

A handful of Gloucester County municipalities attempting to restrict where sex offenders may live are slowly repealing residency ordinances, since they were invalidated by a May ruling from the state Supreme Court.

Logan and Woolwich townships have repealed their respective residency restriction ordinances, and Westville has begun to take steps in that direction. Monroe Township will begin to repeal its own ordinance later this month, according to officials.

Franklin Township, however, is holding out in the hopes that a state Assembly bill would allow the restrictions to stay in place and be enforced.

"It's a non-enforceable local ordinance," Mayor Joseph Petsch said. "We have no intentions of enforcing it at this particular time. We're still waiting for the state to do something. They should be able to give the municipalities the ability to protect the kids and I think that's what it's all about. Give us some guidelines."

The state Supreme Court ruling invalidated more than 100 municipal ordinances creating "pedophile-free" zones, ruling that the state already manages where sex offenders can live with Megan's Law which mandates that offenders have their housing approved by parole officers, among other requirements.

The court, however, left it open for legislators to amend the law if they saw fit.

Lawmakers have since pitched a bill that would create a standard for municipalities that want to enact their own laws allowing them to restrict the most serious offenders from living up to 500 feet from playgrounds, elementary and secondary schools, and day care centers.

Petsch said that such a law is exactly what the state needs.

"Rather than each municipality having its own individual ordinances, the legislation is the way to go," Petsch said. "It would give municipalities the ability to protect the kids, which is what our original ordinance did."

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (Contact), D-6, of Cherry Hill Township, a sponsor of the legislation, said that the bill would allow municipalities to enact such restrictions if they so choose, but it would also create guidelines "that are really necessary for it to be possibly upheld in the courts." 

"It didn't make a whole lot of sense for each one of the municipalities to start creating their own ordinances that were not going to be upheld," Lampitt said.

The bill would not zone sex offenders completely out of a municipality as opposed to a Cherry Hill ordinance stricken by the Supreme Court that prohibited offenders from living in virtually the entire township and allows for towns to decide how much of a buffer to put in place up to 500 feet.

Additionally, only the most serious offenders under Tier 2 and Tier 3 would be included. And the ordinance would only apply to those over age 21.

Westville Councilman James Pennington Jr., a major proponent of the borough's residency restriction ordinance when it was first enacted, said he'd be very interested in such a bill if it were to be signed into law.

The borough is repealing its own sex offender residency restriction ordinance to avoid legal action.

"That may be the answer to this big question," Pennington said. "If the fact is that we're superseding the state law, then if the state law changes, we could meet that. I really would like to see all the protection that we can afford our children, and the Constitution means a lot to me, too I don't want to violate anyone's constitutional rights."
- Well, making someone live by ex post facto laws, and being on the registry for life, is a direct violation of their rights.  So it sounds to me like you are just saying that to "sound good!"

The Supreme Court ruled only that municipalities did not have the authority to supersede state law, holding that legislators are meant to be the exclusive voice on the issue.

The justices stopped short of considering possible constitutional issues, which opponents have cited as a problem. Critics of residency restrictions have said that they unconstitutionally punish offenders, who have already served their sentences, twice.

Lampitt said that such issues have been thoroughly considered, and the bill is more likely to hold up since the Assembly has been working hand-in-hand with the state Attorney General's office.

"What we did is we really flushed out some of the issues that were problematic in each one of these smaller municipal ordinances," Lampitt said. "For example, some municipalities included bus stops as places sex offenders couldn't live near. There's a bus stop on almost every corner, so there would be no place for a sex offender to live."

Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor also expressed interest in such a measure, provided there's a way to enact such restrictions without violating the Supreme Court ruling.

"We passed the law the first time, so we would reenact it, absolutely," Minor said. "It's an important issue. It speaks for itself."

Kevin Hydel, Monroe Township administrator, also said the council there would likely be interested in such a measure.

"It's something that the council would look at, I'm sure, only based on the fact that they implemented the original ordinance," Hydel said. "I'm sure they'd maintain some interest in doing something."

The bill was unanimously approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, but it has not gone to the full Assembly. The Senate has yet to hear an identical measure. The legislature is on recess until November.

Lampitt said it's her goal to get the bill passed this year, although time may be running out.

"It's a priority for me," Lampitt said. "And if it doesn't get done at the end of this legislative session, it would be something I'd take back up again. Since we've been able to flush out the details, we're starting off at a better point where we'd be able to probably move this along."

Petsch said he's "extremely disappointed" that the issue wasn't pushed harder this year.

"To me, this piece of legislation should've been a priority item to our state legislators and they should have moved on it in an expedited manner," Petsch said. "That's what I'm looking for the state legislature to do, is do the right thing step up and do their job of making a law that would allow it to be enforceable in every municipality in the state."
- Also, don't forget to uphold your oath of office, to uphold the US and state constitutions!


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved


FL - Creators of Tuttle problem can fix it -- now

View the article here

08/20/2009

By FRED GRIMM

Plenty of talk out there lately. Speeches. Promises. Threats. Sound bites on the evening news. Lots of stuff about solving the Julia Tuttle Causeway conundrum.

The Tuttle conundrum, you might have noticed, has not gone away.

Talk hasn't done a damn thing about putting sex offenders into actual housing. They're still forced to live like vagabonds in the middle of Biscayne Bay. "I'm still here," _____ observed from beneath the causeway Wednesday afternoon.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement classifies _____ as "transient," an odd designation for someone who, at the state's insistence, has resided at the same wretched address for more than two years. "I can't go anywhere else. It's those residency restrictions."

Of course, you'd expect that from _____, 55, who has been barred from the Miami housing market since he finished his 13-year prison stretch. But Attorney General Bill McCollum (Contact) has joined the chorus, calling local residency ordinances that force sex offenders into homelessness "very wrong." And Gov. Charlie Crist has finally offered up a tepid acknowledgement that something has gone amiss.

JUST BAD POLICY

Ron Book , the very lobbyist who originally pushed city and county commissioners to adopt the overreaching ordinances that chased sex offenders under the causeway (some have dubbed the homeless colony "Bookville,") now talks about ratcheting back the 2,500-foot restricted radiuses around schools, playgrounds, parks, etc.

Even Miami-Dade County commissioners have been uttering the unhappy sounds of politicians who realize their ill-conceived ordinance has created a stinking monument to bad public policy smack in the middle of Biscayne Bay.

All that, yet _____ still sleeps there every night in his battered van, away from his wife and her apartment. And despite the talk, threats, promises and Ron Book's assertion that he can find legal housing for the sex offenders, there was no sign Wednesday that the Tuttle situation has improved.
- It's been months now, and Ron has not found them any homes yet, so you can imagine what it would be like for a homeless offender, without the resources Ron has, to find a place.  And this is also proof that the county residency restrictions need to be repealed and stick with the states 1,000 foot law, which is still absurd, unconstitutional and does nothing to protect anyone.

Compared with six months ago, more homeless men reside there in ever worsening conditions. Trash now overwhelms the place. They still live without toilets or running water, and now the heat of a Miami summer cooks up a fetor of rotting garbage, human waste, dead fish and unwashed bodies. Tents and parked cars now line the berm on either side of the bridge -- putting the inanity of residency restrictions in plain sight for passing motorists.

WHY NO ACTION?

For two years now, this unsanitary affront to a civilized society has festered on Biscayne Bay. The Miami-Dade Commission (Contact) could make it vanish instantly with a countywide ordinance pulling back the restrictions. But all we get is talk.

And lawsuits. The city of Miami has sued the state. The ACLU (Contact, Email) has sued the county. Sen. Dave Aronberg (Email), who tried, futilely, the last two years to shepherd through legislation cutting residency restrictions to 1,500 feet while adding very tough sex-offender loitering laws, thinks certain "cowardly" political leaders ducked the issue and hoped, instead, that some judge will take the political heat.

So now we can wait for a judge to undo the Tuttle conundrum. Or wait until 2010, when Sen. Aronberg thinks his legislation -- and good sense -- will finally prevail.

Until then, expect a lot of talk.


"The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of a civilization. We must have a desire to rehabilitate into the world of industry, all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment." - Winston Churchill (United States Constitution)

© 2006-2009 Sex Offender Issues , All Rights Reserved