Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Wal-Smart to start screening all shoppers against the sex offender registry and criminal records, starting May 1st, 2011
THIS IS OF COURSE SATIRE!
By Ben Dover
In the recent mass hysteria over the Match.com fiasco, where a lady hooked up with a person she claims is a sex offender and is on the California sex offender registry, Wal-Smart has decided it will, on May 1st, start screening everyone who visits the store against the online sex offender database, and against FBI criminal records.
to protect you and your children, they will start requiring this from all who want to visit their stores for their low, low prices.
So when you visit the local Wal-Smart, be prepared to hand over your finger prints and a blood sample, to the local greeter. They will not be using drivers licenses, because they can be faked, so everyone must submit to this security precaution, for your own protection.
Please be aware, this is for everyone's safety, and to prevent any lawsuits against us.
The TSA does it, Match.com is doing it, Facebook, MySpace and many other sites are doing it, so we are joining the bandwagon. Sorry, but it's for all of our protection.
Oh yeah, you will also be screened for ugliness. If you look like one of these folks, you will be denied entry!
Thanks for your cooperation and we look forward to seeing you real soon!
It's just the usually expected knee-jerk reaction by Match.com, to put out the fire, and others to give themselves perceived safety. It won't work because not all sex offenders are known, and not all are on the registry, and if a true predator is wanting to harm someone, they will, they will make up some fake name, and sign on. It is nothing more than people freaking out, trampling on peoples rights, for "safety" which is just a placebo. No other criminal, not even serial killers, get this type of discrimination and punishment. Sex offenders are nothing more than the modern day leper/scapegoat. Just wait until one day your wife accuses you of sexual abuse, you will automatically be guilty! So my question is, where are all those who "claim" to support the constitution and civil/human rights? Where are they?
- Woman (Carole Markin) Suing Match.Com Over Alleged Assault Comes Forward
- Match.com bans sex offenders -- feel safe now?
By Benjamin Radford
One of the world's top dating websites, Match.com, announced that it would begin checking its members against a national sex offender registry. The announcement was made about a week after a class-action lawsuit was filed against the company by two women who claim men they met through the service sexually harassed them.
- So why are they not filing lawsuits against the people harassing them? Oh yeah, there is more money to be made in suing Match.com.
Whether an attempt to ward off future lawsuits or merely a publicity stunt, the measure is nearly worthless and in fact may do more harm than good by fostering a false sense of security. There are several obvious flaws with the plan.
The first is that users on social networking and matchmaking websites typically do not have their identities verified. Thus anyone (including convicted sex offenders) can post whatever name they wish to use on the site and easily avoid triggering a match on registries.
Even if Match.com members' names were somehow verified, names are very common. A match with a name on a sex offender registry would also require a matching address to be sure it's the same person. Anyone can rent a post office box (or use a friend's mailing address) to easily avoid triggering an alert. [Predator Panic: Reality Check on Sex Offenders]
Second, even if the information provided to Match.com was completely accurate, it may not match what's on the nation's sex offender registries, which are notoriously unreliable. A 2010 study of Vermont's sex offender registry found that half of the entries sampled contained significant mistakes and wrong information (see here and here), including two people who should not have been listed. Audits in other states, including Georgia and Texas, found that the registry information for offenders was often wrong, incomplete and outdated.
Third, statistics show that relatively few assaults are committed by convicted sex offenders. That is, a given person (adult or child) is far more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone who is not listed on any sex offender registry than a convicted sex offender. The vast majority of physical and sexual assaults are committed by friends, family and other loved ones, not a recently met stranger hiding a sex offense conviction. This is one of the fundamental flaws of Megan's Laws and other offender notification measures: They distract attention and resources away from the greater threat.
Even Match.com's president, Mandy Ginsberg, acknowledged that the new measures"remain highly flawed." The rules of safe dating have not changed in decades: Meet in a public place, tell a friend where you're going, and don't give out personal information too early.
Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of six books. His website is www.RadfordBooks.com.
A young porn star struggles to find her place in LA. A porn producer comes to terms with the effects his job is having on himself and the girls he hires. A youth minister becomes a welcome fixture at porn conventions. And as one man watches his life slip away when his one dark secret is revealed, a young girl wonders what to do when she discovers her boyfriend's secret of his own. These people's stories go both behind and in front of the bright lights of the porn industry, as Footnote goes inside America's biggest, sweatiest, and seediest industry to find out just what it actually does to its employees, its consumers, and to us.
See Also: Why Match.com Effort to Screen Sex Offenders Won't Work
So did she get a rape kit done? If not, why not? If so, what was the outcome of it? Turns out, she has several books out on bad dates. How ironic! See here, here and here.
By ANDREW SPRINGER and ALEX STONE
TV Producer Carole Markin Says She's Tired of Hiding, Happy Dating Site Will Screen Members
The once anonymous woman who filed a lawsuit against the online dating website Match.com because of an alleged sexual assault has come forward to say she's glad her suit got results.
"I'm tired of hiding behind masks and glasses," said Carole Markin this morning on "Good Morning America." "I want to come forward and speak for the other Jane Does and Joe Blows who've been abused by sexual predators and give them courage to do something for themselves."
Last week, Markin, then only publically identified only as Jane Doe, filed the civil lawsuit asking a court to force Match.com to install a sex offender screening system that checks the background of those who register for the site.
The lawsuit had asked for a temporary restraining order that, if granted, would prevent new members from signing up for Match.com until such a program is instituted. It claims Markin and the man went on a date that turned violent.
The lawsuit said the man went to Markin's house after they had dinner last May and he forced her to perform a sexual act. [name withheld] was arrested and charged but no trial date has been set. [name withheld]'s attorney maintains the sexual encounter was consensual and a trail date has not been set in that case.
Match.com officials announced Sunday it will start to screen users against a national sex offenders registry.
- I have checked the California and National registry, which they claim they will be using, and this man is NOT on the registry, so how would FORCING this web site to check the registry, have prevented this?
In a statement issued to the Associated Press, Match.com President Mandy Ginsberg said the website did not implement the screening process for years due to the "unreliability of the database" but after reviewing recent improvements, the company has decided to begin the checks with current and new members.
"I was happy that they listened to us," Markin said. "They're obviously a little afraid of us." She said the company did not talk to her directly and that she has never had a conversation with Match.com officials.
- So what about all the other online dating sites, or hell, all web sites? Are you going to start forcing them to check the sex offender registry so you can have some temporary false security?
Markin, a successful Hollywood executive and one-time investment banker, is now working as creator of new reality show. She said she was traumatized by the event and is in therapy.
By Mark Bell
MURFREESBORO — Murfreesboro Police detectives are investigating a convicted sex offender who they believe may have violated Tennessee law when he had images of children developed at a local shopping center’s photo lab.
The man reportedly bought a digital camera at a local yard sale some time before Monday, according to Murfreesboro Police spokesman Kyle Evans. At the time of the purchase, police believe the camera’s memory card contained photos that depicted children playing.
“The photographs of the minors were not pornographic in nature,” Evans explained. “But because the suspect is a convicted sex offender, he could face charges for trying to have the images developed.”
- So from what they are saying, it would appear a sex offender who has kids, cannot even develop any photos he may take of his own kids?
The identity of the suspect has not been released. Police have said an open criminal investigation is still under way in the case and charges may be pending.
Authorities were initially alerted to the situation by an employee of Sam’s Club on John R. Rice Boulevard, according to a March 18 police report.
The employee told police the man, whom he recognized as being on the state’s sex offender registry, brought a digital camera’s memory card into the store to have prints made.
The employee noticed photos of children and decided to call police.
MPD Detective Wayne Lawson was called to Sam’s Club to collect the photographs, according to a police report. He has been investigating the case ever since.
Evans reminded those who are thinking about selling used photographic equipment or computers to “remove any hard drives or memory cards from the devices before the sale.”
“Erasing is not enough,” he explained, adding someone with technical skill could easily retrieve erased data.
By Ronnie Ellis
Kentucky’s overhaul of its criminal justice system this spring is a textbook example of genuine bipartisanship.
For three decades, Kentucky politicians proved they were tough on crime. At every opportunity, they stiffened sentences and added offenses to the state’s penal code.
They nearly bankrupted the state.
Kentucky’s corrections budget grew from $30 million in 1980 to nearly $470 million in 2010, even as lawmakers cut $1.8 billion from the state’s budget in the grip of a deep recession. The prison population grew 80 percent between 1997 and 2009, the year Kentucky led the nation in the rate of incarceration.
Of 22,000 state felons that year, 8,000 were in county jails that became dependent on state funding.
But the crime rate remained relatively flat, below the national average, and about what it was when the tough on crime movement began.
The state’s justice system seemed ripe for change. But no one expected it to be easy.
When some legislators in the Kentucky General Assembly tried to reduce the strain imposed on the state budget by prison overcrowding in 2009, by inserting parole credit provisions in the budget to release around 1,500 prisoners, prosecutors and law enforcement howled.
A challenge from a local prosecutor and the state attorney general to remove the provisions lost in court.
Nevertheless, few could have predicted what happened in late February this year. After a year of study, Kentucky lawmakers overhauled the state’s drug laws, as well as its sentencing, probation and parole system. Following passage in the Kentucky House (Feb. 17) and Senate (Feb. 28), the bill (DOC) became law upon the signature of Gov. Steve Beshear on March 3.
The law’s provisions include:
- Alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders and strengthening supervision of high risk parolees, while providing incentives for reduced time for lower risk parolees. It also calls for greater supervision of prisoners reentering the community;
- Swift, but measured sanctions for parole violators;
- More information on sentences for crime victims;
- On drug sentencing, it distinguishes between simple drug possession and commercial trafficking, and provides for more drug treatment options for drug offenders.
Half the accrued savings of the reform are required to be ploughed back into the corrections budget and half of that is to be set aside to assist county jail costs. It also requires a certificate-of-need process before any new jail can be constructed.
The reform is expected to lower prison populations, expand drug treatment and save the state more than $420 million over the next decade.
It was a landmark of bipartisanship, accomplished in the face of the kind of polarized political climate that has defeated similar reform attempts elsewhere.
Democrats and Republicans each control one chamber of the legislature, and the leader of the Republican Senate was openly planning to challenge the incumbent Democratic governor in the 2011 election.
The story of how it happened might serve as an object lesson to other states.
“(It happened) because all of the stars came into alignment and because of our ability to build on prior work,” recalls Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown.
Indeed, the tentative steps to reduce costs and prison populations two years earlier by granting inmates parole credits set the template for what happened this year. Two committees had studied the problem. But the discussion became serious when the legislature appropriated $200,000 to help fund a Pew Center of the States study of the problem.
A bi-partisan task force representing all three branches of government, and including a prominent defense attorney, former prosecutor and a county executive, was appointed.
Recognizing Kentucky’s conservative trend and its burgeoning illicit drug problems, the task force decided to involve stakeholders to build as much support as possible for reforms.
According to Brown, the fact that the “early parolees” released under the 2009 cost-cutting measures didn’t go on a crime spree was crucial to easing lawmakers’ fears about the consequences of reducing prison populations.
That may have helped win a joint endorsement from Beshear, Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Republican Senate President David Williams of a task force working with Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center for the States to formulate statutory reforms.
“You sort of had the top lined up,” Brown adds. “So the task became (reaching) the individual stakeholders who had deeply divided interests.”
That still could have meant trouble. Those stakeholders included law enforcement, prosecutors, and county governments whose jails depended on state funding for housing felons whom the prisons couldn’t accommodate.
Jails were bleeding county budgets dry, but counties feared the task force would recommend changing low-level felonies to misdemeanors, thus shifting inmates and additional costs to them.
The task force included a noted defense attorney, Guthrie True, and an equally noted former prosecutor, Tom Handy. They co-authored an op-ed piece arguing that reform reduced costs and increased public safety. The Supreme Court Chief Justice was a member, as was Brown and a county judge/executive.
The co-chairs were the legislature’s Judiciary Committee chairmen: Democratic Rep. John Tilley, a former prosecutor; and Republican Sen. Tom Jensen, a criminal defense attorney.
Pew provided research about what had worked in other states, such as Texas, which reduced costs while lowering the crime rate. Polling showed the public preferred “swift and certain punishment” to long, costly sentences. The polls also indicated the public favored treatment over incarceration for nearly three-quarters of Kentucky inmates who were addicts.
Beginning in June of last year, the task force held public meetings, asking stakeholders for suggestions, hoping to head off public anxiety and political fears of lawmakers.
Sometimes the entire task force met with the groups, often incorporating suggestions. It convened in June of 2010 and met through early January 2011 when the state General Assembly convened in Frankfort. Tilley and Jensen traveled the state, meeting with prosecutors, county officials, and law enforcement.
Describing the process later, Jensen said the task force decided to focus on drug crimes, treatment options and recidivism.
He and Tilley were in constant talks with Chris Cohron, a prosecutor and past president of the Commonwealth Attorneys Association who helped soothe prosecutors’ fears. They softened the financial blow to counties by allowing state inmates to serve their final months in jails at state expense, and mandated a portion of savings produced by reform be set aside to help counties with jail costs.
Cohron said prosecutors understood the budget situation. “It was abundantly clear that they were going to do something,” he said. “If we didn’t participate in the process we’d be stuck with whatever they came up with.”
At the last minute, hospitals got an amendment to the bill, over Tilley’s and Jensen’s objections, to prohibit so-called “prisoner dumping,” or furloughing inmates for treatment without county liability for costs.
Counties weren’t happy with this amendment. Jensen immediately gathered both sides and told them to work out an agreement “by tomorrow morning.”
Tommy Turner, the county Judge/Executive on the task force and Vince Lang, head of the County Judge/Executives Association, jointly determined that counties would live with the provision in exchange for guaranteed Medicaid rates for prisoners.
However reluctantly, stakeholders were now on board. The next and possibly hardest step loomed ahead. Lawmakers―vaguely aware of what the task force had been doing―suddenly faced a public vote on the bill.
The debate at first followed familiar rhetoric.
“You’re not asking us to vote for being soft on crime, are you?” asked a House committee chairman.
Tilley responded that the bill “is not soft on crime; it’s smart on crime."
It didn’t, for example, soften sentences for violent offenders or sexual crimes, he and other defenders noted. For further proof, they could point to Texas, which―though hardly known for a light touch on crime―passed similar legislation which saved millions even as its crime rate went down.
Another lawmaker told skeptics to talk to their local prosecutors, judge/executives and jailers.
“It’ll be all right,” the legislator insisted. “Just ask your people back home.”
They found them ready for change.
In the legislature, meanwhile, Jensen told Senate President Williams he’d resign his Judiciary Committee chairmanship if he were unable to persuade colleagues to pass the bill. He also told a member of the Democratic House leadership.
House Democrats concluded they could comfortably support the bill without having the Republican Senate exploit their votes for political advantage.
And the relaxation of Kentucky’s often-heated partisan climate was mirrored at the top. Jensen and Tilley, who had barely known each other previously, developed a bond and trust. Neither feared being grandstanded or sandbagged by the other.
Together they briefed each party’s caucuses in both chambers. The relationship was critical, said Chief Justice John Minton, who looked on as the bill passed the House with only two nay votes.
“They were from two different parties, from two separate parts of the state, but their perseverance caused all of us to lay down our differences for the greater good,” he recalled.
The key, Tilley said, for any state, especially a conservative one like Kentucky, was the willingness “to meet with anybody who had any interest in these issues and to give lawmakers assurance (that) their local officials’ voices were heard.
After House passage, the more conservative Senate passed the bill unanimously.
Members in both chambers rose to their feet and cheered.
Kentucky’s lawmakers had finally decided to be smart on crime.