After Harvey, Texas Inmates Were Left in Flooded Prisons Without Adequate Water or Food The treatment allegedly follows a pattern of neglect set during previous years’ hurricanes.
For those of us “in the know”, this is no surprise. Another tale of human suffering, neglect and abuse of inmates, … and cover-up … because there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY! I have omitted some gory details, but you will see if you read the Whole Story. 🙁
A flooded prison.
Excerpts from the Story:
During and after Hurricane Harvey’s slow and catastrophic crawl over the Gulf states at the end of August, inmates in multiple prisons in Texas were left to suffer in horrifying, inhumane conditions in ravaged facilities across the state, according to nearly 100 inmate accounts obtained by the National Lawyers Guild.
The accounts collected by the NLG report power outages and insufficient access to food, water, and medicine. Inmates described cells flooded knee-high with water contaminated by urine and feces, as well as the inability to flush toilets, take showers, or change clothes for two weeks. The United States Penitentiary, Beaumont, operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was inaccessible to visitors for up to a month after the hurricane. In the Texas prisons affected by the storm, officials have either declined to comment on conditions or denied all inmate claims about the conditions.
As the wettest storm on record in US history bore down in the last days of August—dropping five feet of rain in some areas—completely inundating Houston, killing more than 70 people, and damaging almost 200,000 homes, at least five prisons on the east coast of Texas were evacuated. The logistically intricate process involved moving around 6,000 inmates, including transferring approximately 600 inmates into beds in the Wallace Pack Unit—a facility that had been emptied only weeks earlier after a judge called the conditions at the unit unconstitutionally hot. The Texas prison population, one of the largest of any state, counting inmates in both state and federal custody (not including Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees), is around 160,000 inmates. But while five prisons were evacuated, Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) decided not to evacuate the Gist, Leblanc, and Stiles units, and the BOP opted not to evacuate their Beaumont facility. There are over 8,000 combined inmates in those four prisons.
After news of inmates stranded inside the prisons began to leak out, the Prison Legal Advocacy Network of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), filed notices to both TDCJ and the BOP, noting the “persistently unconstitutional conditions of confinement.” The notice to the BOP claims the agency had “adequate foreknowledge of the flood risk” and “ample notice of the widespread concerns” about constitutional rights violations during previous hurricanes, and yet, according to allegations, the BOP did not sufficiently warn the inmates about the coming hurricane, evacuate them, or provide them with needed food, water, or access to medical care or bathrooms.
“There are a sufficiently large number of discrepancies and inconsistencies to raise credible concerns about the veracity of TDCJ claims that these photos and video were, in fact, shot on a single day in hurricane-affected units post-Harvey.”
Attorney Pam Starsia, working with the NLG, pointed out the gross inconsistencies between TDCJ and BOP’s public statements and the almost 100 testimonies they received from inmates and inmate family members. The “complete refusal [by prison officials] to acknowledge that something needs to be changed is really, really scary,” Starsia said. “We know these storms are going to become more and more frequent. If the plan is that every time there is a severe weather event people just don’t get food and water for a few weeks, and live in cages with their own excrement, that’s not an okay plan.”
I do get sick of people who think “Oh, I can’t make a difference”! Look what this dude is doing – saving lives – and I have no doubt it will be duplicated in many cities. Track him down and start it where YOU live!
Excerpts from the Article:
– A video shows Shanduke McPhatter as a young man in the Bloods gang waving a gun with his young sons in the same room. He was in and out of prison for 14 years with a long rap sheet, including burglary, armed robbery. and assault. Today at 39, Shanduke, with his twin sons, now 17, by his side, is a changed man. Shanduke feels blessed to be alive with a mission to help others by lifting their minds and spirits.
Shanduke started a nonprofit organization in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, that is working with the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence. The organization is called Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes Inc., also known as G-MACC.
He chose the name because it is attention-grabbing and relatable. It draws in the youth he is trying to help by showing them there Is an alternative to gangs, guns, violence, and crime. He tells the youth that he has been through it all and knows that change is possible.
Like so many troubled teenagers and young men surrounded by crime, Shanduke says he never felt as though he had a future and there was no fear of going to prison. It was a rite of passage. His turning point happened in a prison yard. He was standing next to his mentor, a hardened career criminal, as the man watched his own son enter prison. He said his mentor had tears in his eyes. He says that powerful moment changed his life.
G-MACC offers mental-health counseling and job options.
Social media, like Facebook, is also a catalyst for violence. So G-MACC closely monitors social media pages. If G-MACC sees something escalating on Facebook, it will try to reach out and mediate a resolution to the conflict before it makes it to the streets, Shanduke says.
The mayor’s office credits Shanduke’s organization, combined with the work of the NYPD and the religious community, with reducing gun violence in East Flatbush, which historically has been one of the worst areas of the city for gun violence.
Word is spreading about Shanduke’s successful work. Members of a similar group from Baltimore recently visited to pick his brain about methods they can use to help in their city.
This could be huge! Huge, huge, huge! 🙂
I am thrilled to say that a new law firm is being formed to represent people who cannot afford an attorney. Pro Bono/Pro Se Law Group is the tentative name, and it will be headquartered in Chicago. Dick Posner will begin working on it in earnest tomorrow. Hundreds of “primo” attorneys (I expect thousands) all across America will work part-time for the new firm, representing those who cannot afford counsel, in a broad array of areas of the law.
Ever since I tracked down retired Judge Richard Posner,*we have been emailing each other and we talk at least every other day, exchanging ideas about the new firm. Finally, after 5 years of “doing what I do”, I have stumbled into the right person! Richard Posner is known, respected, and admired by all familiar with the law.
I am delighted to say that they will be hiring me as a consultant, and that I have gotten Dick interested in Prison Abuse and the outrages committed by CPS workers, and these are just two of the issues to be tackled by the firm.
We make a pretty good team: He, a lifelong intellectual, scholar, law professor, economist and judge, and yours truly, who has “been in the trenches”, worked with, lived with, played with, committed crimes with (when on drugs), mentored, and otherwise associated with a wide variety of folks, from homeless addicts to Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Delaware. I bring some new perspectives to the issues.
He will be emailing me any time now the new book he is just finishing, in which he graciously has mentioned me and referred people to me and to this website.
Below is one of my most recent emails to Mr. Posner, written in response to one he sent me:
I suggest “Pro Bono/Pro Se Law Group”, simply to make it clear at a glance for the uneducated that it is a law firm.
I don’t think I have the time nor the expertise to travel and teach as much as you indicate here. I am, however, a phone call away. My hope and expectation is that you will attract lawyers with some experience in prison related cases, and the caliber of attorneys who readily can learn what they need to know, if they are new to these issues, with some guidance from me. It’s not “rocket science”. I suggest you suggest that my article Culture of Cover Up be required reading for any attorney new to prison issues!
You might say I do hope to educate other lawyers on a very valuable tool, and often the ONLY likelihood, of getting out of prison those who should not be there: Clemency/Commutation Applications for cases with merit … the actually innocent and many who have been hammered with “this makes no sense” unfairly long sentences! And Pardons for those who need one to progress in life. I certainly am willing to travel to do that once or twice a year. I am thinking perhaps free for members of the firm, and charge a fee – to go to Pro Bono/Pro Se Law Group – for other participants!
Please DO take out “and can travel anywhere”. And instead of the line about symposiums just say that I will consult by phone and email as needed.
Call any time to discuss.
I’ll keep you posted.
If Iesha Sekoou was one of those people who thought, “oh, I can’t make a difference”, many more would be DEAD! Get off your ass and make a difference!
Just read this! From 346 shootings to about 211 in just two years, and NONE in their engagement area!
And yes, I’ll say it: Our dumb ass politicians should get all over this and make it happen NATIONWIDE!
When Iesha Sekou can’t remember the last time someone got shot in the neighborhood, she simply yells out of her office door, “How many days we got?” to no one in particular. “Three hundred and thirty four,” someone recently yelled back. That number, which has since gone up to 346, shows the level of effectiveness of Sekou’s nonprofit, Street Corner Resources, in reducing gun violence. Two years ago, when Street Corner Resources signed a city contract as part of a $12.8 million citywide program called Cure Violence, their job was to tackle gun violence in an eight-block area known for shootings, from 137th to 145th streets between Lenox and Seventh avenues.
Things got off to a rocky start. “We walked into maybe seven or eight shootings when we got the contract,” she said. “That first year was a little rough. A lot rough.”
Street Corner Resources tries to prevent shootings before they happen by addressing everything that leads up to one. The nonprofit offers young men in the neighborhood free job-placement programs, adult-education classes, and connects their families with legal aid and affordable housing services.
Street Corner Resources hires a small crew of men who grew up in Harlem, many of whom experienced violence themselves, to establish credibility while connecting with the youth. Still, it took them over a year to win over skeptical Harlemites.
Now, people who once sold drugs for $50 or $60 a day are interested in getting a job that pays $100 a day, said Rob Moore, a social worker for Street Corner Resources. “They ask, ‘What’s going on, is there a chance to get money?’” Moore said. “It’s an opportunity to get paid and get paid a decent amount that competes with their drug sales.”
There’s a growing sense that people have more options available now, Moore added.
Once a handful of people joined, they told their friends, and Street Corner Resources grew. They now have a sound studio and host a monthly open-mic, called “Peace Café,” where anyone can perform.
Data shows that shootings are down 39 percent in the 32nd Precinct. All of the shootings have happened outside Street Corner Resources’ engagement area.
Part of the decreased is linked to more gun arrests in the Drew Hamilton Houses and Polo Ground Towers, according to Steve Davis, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Information. Officers made 75 gun arrests in the 32nd Precinct between January and October, compared to 42 arrests during the same period last year, the spokesman said. “The 32 Precinct Commander continues to work with Street Corner Resources as a community partner,” Davis added in an email.
Citywide, the Cure Violence program is getting more attention. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito praised its success during a town hall in East Harlem last month. On Oct. 2, the Research & Evaluation Center at John Jay Criminal Justice, published a report saying the program helped gun violence rates decline in two neighborhoods they studied. Last week, State Senator Marisol Alcantara, gave $35,000 to Street Corner Resources.
While she’s proud of 346 days without a shooting, Sekou is aware of the fact that the streak could end any time.
Over the last year, she’s experienced some close calls including a couple of calls reporting shots fired and one shooting just one block across the street from her area.
“There’s a focus on the number of days with no one shot but I try not to obsess on that because if you just focus on that, you don’t focus on taking care of the problem,” she said.
Louisiana sheriff blasts legal system for releasing ‘good behavior’ prisoners because they need them ‘to cook in the kitchen’ – Many Morons Oppose Needed Changes -kra
There are powerful forces opposing changes we need. This clown is one. For every 1 person arrested, 29 benefit financially. For many who oppose change, it is “job preservation”. To which I say, train them for new jobs because they are doing more harm than good where they are now! “Forrealforreal”! We must never forget that this is a very uphill fight, but it IS winnable! 🙂
A Louisiana sheriff went on an epic rant against the new criminal justice reforms complaining that it will release many ‘good behavior’ prisoners who are needed for everyday work in jail. Steve Prator, the Sheriff of Caddo Parish in Louisiana, is upset with the new laws that will see many inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses released earlier than expected.
Prator argued how keeping ‘good’ prisoners in jail is fundamental for a smooth operating jail system.
He said these particular prisoners were capable of labor work that more violent and dangerous prisoners were less competent at. In the conference earlier this week he said: ‘The [prisoners] that you can work, the ones that can pick up trash, the work release programs – but guess what? Those are the ones that they’re releasing!’
Prator continued to blast the new reforms: ‘In addition to the bad ones… they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change the oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen… well, they’re going to let them out!’
The state’s criminal justice reforms are aiming to reduce its total prison population by 10 percent, according to The Advocate.
‘Many of those scheduled to be released have not been properly vetted and are a danger to our safety and property. Seasoned multiple offenders are getting a break at our expense,’ he concluded. The legislation was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in June as he wants to change Louisiana’s reputation as being the most imprisoned state in the country.
How To Stop The Endemic Problem of Prisoner Abuse in Federal Prisons Federal prison guards are brutalizing inmates, and too many are turning a blind eye.
This author echos what I have said for years. How many stories of callous cruelty like this do YOU need to see until you speak out about it!
Am I trying to shame you into doing something? Darn right!
Excerpts from the Article:
Two federal prison guards in Florida recently agreed to plead guilty for beating a prisoner and then covering it up. One officer faces up to three years in a federal prison, while the other is looking at a year.
The Justice Department issued a press release that cast the news as a great victory over official malfeasance. “The Justice Department is committed to holding officers who engage in such criminal acts accountable,” insisted Vanita Gupta, who heads the department’s civil rights division. Good for the Justice Department, right? Well, there’s a lot more to this issue.
The federal prison system certainly hasn’t seen the levels of inmate abuse that state and local prisons have become infamous for. New York’s Ryker’s Island, for example, is notorious for violent crimes committed by guards against prisoners — including juveniles— who are sometimes chained or handcuffed while they’re assaulted.
But the federal system’s record isn’t anything to be proud of, either. The two Florida officers are no anomaly. About a year ago, I finished a 23-month stay in a federal prison for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. I couldn’t believe some of the things I saw there. A few months after I checked in at the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania, a new prisoner arrived. He was a former prison guard who’d used his steel-toed boots to stomp another prisoner unconscious. The Loretto guards were clear about the rules: “This is his house,” they told us. “If anybody even looks at him cross-eyed, they’re going to solitary.”
It didn’t really matter. After only a couple of months, the former guard was transferred to the minimum-security work camp across the street, despite the fact that he’d committed a violent crime. The fix was in. I wish I could say that was the worst of it. One of my cellmates at Loretto, whom I’ll call “James,” was a mentally ill homeless man from Pittsburgh. He’d purposefully violated the terms of his federal probation so he could spend the winter months indoors. James was clear with both the medical staff and his cellmates that he was mentally ill and needed to be medicated. We appreciated his candor.
But the medical staff’s primary mission is to keep costs low, and drugs for serious mental illness are expensive. Since James was supposed to go home in a few months anyway, they didn’t give him his meds. You can guess what happened: James began to spiral into insanity, and he was sent to solitary confinement.
James’s struggles angered the staff. After one incident in solitary, he was stripped naked, beaten, and thrown outside. It was January, and the temperature in the central Pennsylvania mountains was 10 degrees. An eyewitness told me that James apologized and asked to be let back in. He started crying after a couple of hours in the cold. Then he curled up into a ball and fainted.
No guards were punished for what they did to James. Even if he’d reported it to the federal Bureau of Prisons headquarters, who would have listened to him? Would you believe a uniformed law enforcement officer or a mentally ill homeless man? The guards got away with it. Across the country, prison guards get away with things like this every day. The solution isn’t to prosecute two isolated abusers and then issue a press release crowing about it. The solution is to put cameras absolutely everywhere in prisons, and to vet and train guards much more thoroughly. Moreover, inspector general offices should investigate more official crimes, and the Justice Department should be willing to prosecute more guards who abuse inmates.
No one should celebrate the outcome of the Florida case until the abuse of prisoners by their guards becomes a thing of the past.
You KNOW what I think of bad prosecutors! Pray that they burn in hell!
Look at this. In Brooklyn alone, 22 convictions overturned due to bad prosecutors! It’s F’ing OUTRAGEOUS!
The all-but-certain election of Eric Gonzalez to a full term as Kings County district attorney places a wakeup call to other New York leaders, especially the lawmakers in Albany, to hold prosecutors accountable for the serious problems — not honest errors, but deliberate malfeasance — that land innocent people in prison. Current laws in New York allow a prosecutor to withhold evidence and even lie about it with few consequences. When our lawmakers reconvene in January, they should pass a law punishing prosecutors who use deception and shady tactics to slant the scales of justice.
Four years ago, Kenneth Thompson ousted longtime DA Charles Hynes on the promise of making convictions in Brooklyn fairer. Thompson’s office then went to work correcting past injustices: Over the last three years, courts overturned 22 convictions.
One of the most striking was the case of Jabbar Collins, who served 16 years in prison after being sentenced to 34-to-life for the murder of a rabbi in 1994. For years, prosecutors suppressed the fact that they had threatened, jailed and badgered witnesses into testifying against Collins.
It turned out that one witness had been threatened with prison time if he didn’t testify. Another was offered a break on an unrelated robbery charge — and when he balked at testifying against Collins, prosecutors locked him up for a week as a “material witness” to apply more pressure. The judge and jury were never told about these deals that were offered or the threats of prosecution that lay behind them. Hynes’ prosecutors presented coerced witnesses and their tainted evidence as trustworthy and reliable. Collins performed miracles of evidence retrieval from behind bars with the help of attorney Joel Rudin, and eventually got the conviction reversed. But his case is part of a much bigger crisis.
“One of the most stunning things when I began to work on my own case was just how common this misconduct was,” Collins told me. “These were institutional policies regarding withholding particular documents, not making a record of all of the incentives given to witnesses . All of the catalog of misconduct that took place in my case wasn’t confined to my prosecution.”
Collins helped a man named Tasker Spruill finally walk free this year after he spent 20 years in prison. Spruill was serving a 25-to-life sentence for the 1993 murder of a drug dealer.
Spruill’s legal team argued the DA’s office improperly withheld evidence that would’ve benefited his case. And the prosecutor involved, Stan Irvin, later admitted to having a witness already in jail shuffled back and forth between facilities 26 times in a six-month period — a punishment to force him into testifying against Spruill. The harassment grew so bad that the witness attempted suicide. The jury was never told about the coercion.
“That’s how things were done,” Irvin said on the witness stand in August 2016.
Judge Evelyn LaPorte ordered a new trial for Spruill after determining there was prosecutorial misconduct by Hynes’ office. He’s not fully cleared, but at least he’s out of prison.
But there have been no penalties for Irvin, who is now a minister. And there’s an excellent chance that New York taxpayers will eventually have to pay a settlement to Spruill to atone for the misconduct.
The main recourse for bad prosecutors is to vote them out of office, which is what happened in Brooklyn and about a dozen other jurisdictions nationwide in recent years, according to the criminal-justice-reform website the Marshall Project. Prosecutors in Chicago, Cleveland, Tampa and Houston all lost their jobs amid charges of misconduct.
But that’s the exception. Prosecutorial misconduct usually results — at best — in a retrial, exoneration or a monetary settlement. That’s not good enough.
“I think the prosecutors should be held responsible. I think their law license should be on the line. I think that there should be charges that could be brought against them,” says Rita Dave, an attorney who works with wrongfully convicted defendants. “Some people will say I’m being extreme, but there has to be repercussions to your actions. Because if there are not, you get to walk away.”
All of which brings us to Albany.
Lawmakers should consider creating a permanent independent panel to review individual cases and internal procedures in DAs’ offices that have a pattern of wrongful convictions.
And there should be stiff sanctions, including disbarment, for prosecutors who suppress evidence or lie about it in court. It will bring us closer to the ideal of justice for all.
I see several horror stories like this about prison abuse every week; and I will until many more of those responsible are prosecuted! While these settlements cost YOU a fortune, they do NOT solve the problem. READ Why only PROSECUTION and IMPRISONMENT Will Stop Prison Abuse and Police Abuse! Demand It!! How to Avoid the Deaths of More Prison Guards!
Read too Culture of Cover Up
A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit over the 2013 death of a diabetic inmate who was denied medical care at the McClain County jail.
County commissioners agreed to pay $750,000 to the estate of Kory Dane Wilson, court records show. “Hopefully, this serves as a deterrent for jails around the state and the country not to do this. … It’s just a tragedy,” said John Branum, an Oklahoma City attorney involved in the lawsuit.
“There was not only a horrible, horrible thing that happened, there was a huge cover-up,” the attorney said.
Commissioners agreed to the settlement in May after a former jail administrator pleaded guilty to violating the inmate’s right.
The former jail administrator, Wayne Evans Barnes, admitted he failed to obtain medical assistance for the inmate after being alerted to the inmate’s medical condition. A federal judge in August sentenced Barnes to 51 months in federal prison.
Wilson was arrested on June 16, 2013, at Newcastle Casino, for allegedly having a gun. He then was taken to jail. As he was being booked in, Wilson told jailers he had Type 1 diabetes and needed insulin, records show. The federal investigation found he was never given any medication at the jail and was never seen by a doctor.
He was hospitalized on June 19, 2013, after being found unresponsive on the floor of his cell. He never regained consciousness and died two days later. Wilson was 27 and had lived in Oklahoma City. An autopsy determined Wilson died of diabetic ketoacidosis.
He was charged in McClain County District Court on the day he died with knowingly concealing stolen property and carrying a weapon where alcohol is served. The felony case was dismissed a week later.
Attorneys for Wilson’s family said in court papers he suffered “a torturous death.”
“If we treated … people … suspected of terrorism down in Guantanamo Bay the way that we treat our own citizens in county jails in Oklahoma, everybody would be up in arms about it,” Branum said in an interview with The Oklahoman. “It would be on the nightly news.”
Read the Whole Story
More assistance for those in reentry would prevent soooooo much crime, misery, expense … it just makes sense!
Excerpts from the Article:
Safe and affordable housing for formerly incarcerated individuals is essential to breaking the “cycle” of homelessness and recidivism that prevents them from rebuilding their lives as productive citizens, according to a report issued Tuesday. “People who have paid their debt to society should have the chance to reunify with their families and have a home where children can visit or live,” said the report, released by the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
“Providing a true home for people with criminal justice histories helps families get back together, stay together, and provide support to each other.”
But too often, the report noted, housing discrimination in the private market and regulations that prevent them from living in public housing drive returning inmates to the streets, or to unsafe and overcrowded shelters.
“People living in such (shelters) often have no refrigerator where they can store fresh food,” said the report, entitled A Place to Call Home. “They can’t hang their clothes in closets in preparation for job interviews or work. They have no secure space to keep their valuables, photographs, or family keepsakes. They have no permanent address for job or school applications.
“Rather than providing the basis for success, these types of shelter more often lead to a cycle of homelessness and repeated jail or prison stays.”
The report was based in part on a day-long conference held last year at John Jay College, co-hosted by the Prisoner Reentry Institute, The Fortune Society, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, and the Supportive Housing Network of New York.
Dukes said finding housing through New York’s Fortune Society offered him a “safe place to readjust to life in the community.”
According to the report, the lack of housing is one of the critical barriers to successful reentry for the millions of individuals who leave jail or prison in the U.S. every year.
Recommendations to policymakers included:
Eliminating landlord discrimination;
Reforming policies that exclude public housing tenants after an arrest or conviction;
Establishing “creative partnerships” that would enable the development of a wide spectrum of housing that meets the different needs of returning inmates;
Strengthening “in-reach” programs at correctional facilities to identify and assess the housing needs of inmates before they are released.
“People with past involvement in the justice system find the doors to housing closed at every turn.”
The report also called for more support for “ban the box” initiatives that eliminate questions on previous criminal history from employment applications forms.
Most folks do not realize that the overwhelming majority of those labeled as S Os are not sex offenders at all. They never molested anyone. Yet many are quick to play fast and loose with the “facts”.
This article was sent to me by my colleagues at NARSOL – https://narsol.org/
Excerpts from the Article:
Statistics about the likelihood of sex offenders to re-offend took center stage during U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments Feb. 27 ( Packingham v. North Carolina , U.S., No. 15-1194, argued 2/27/17 ). The case concerned a North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from visiting social media and other websites like Facebook, YouTube and NYTimes.com. But much of the debate focused on a hotly contested statistic highlighted in two Supreme Court opinions, Carissa Hessick—a law professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., whose research focuses on criminal sentencing, criminal law and child pornography—told Bloomberg BNA.
Multiple studies from legal and psychology scholars undermined the “conventional wisdom” that sex offender re-offense rates are high, Hessick said Feb. 27. In fact, many studies have found sex offender re-offense rates are lower than those of offenders who commit non-sexual crimes, she said.
But a Justice Department report cited by North Carolina’s brief suggests those studies may fail to take into account under-reporting by victims of sex crimes and other factors, and that the actual re-offense rate is higher. But it has little reliable data to support that suggestion.
North Carolina Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert C. Montgomery repeatedly stated at oral argument that sex offenders have higher rates of recidivism than other offenders. Montgomery specifically referenced statistics cited in the 2003 Supreme Court case Smith v. Doe, which upheld the constitutionality of sex offender registries. The statistic mentioned in Smith v. Doe—that 80 percent of convicted sex offenders will offend again—is off by an average of 65 percent, depending on offenders’ risk levels, according to research from Arizona State University law professor Ira Ellman.
That makes the First Amendment claim much more powerful than it might appear, because the people affected by the law pose “no clear and present danger,” Ellman said. “They’re no more likely to offend than most of us.”accounts on social media websites like Facebook, YouTube or newspaper websites that allow minors to become members or create
Ellman told Bloomberg BNA that his research has found re-offense figures are closer to 5 percent for low-risk offenders, 10 percent for medium-risk offenders, and 30 percent for high-risk offenders. Risk factors vary according to different evaluations, but seek to analyze propensity for re-offense based on behavior and psychology, rather than just on the offense itself.
For example, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers cited in its amicus brief to a study on sex offender re-offense after prison, which found that about 5.3 percent of convicted sex offenders committed another sex offense. ATSA is an organization of people who work with sex offenders, including parole officers, psychologists, victims’ advocates and academics.