Ohio poised to remove thousands from registry

By Katie Wedell . . . Two decades after Ohio began labeling sex offenders on a public database and setting restrictions on where they can live, a major overhaul to the law is being proposed that could drop thousands of lower-level offenders off the list.

Some critics are even calling for doing away with the registry entirely, saying it’s been an expensive effort with little benefit to the public.

The Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee — tasked with overhauling Ohio’s criminal code — delivered recommendations to the state Senate last month that they say will save local sheriffs’ departments money on administration while ensuring the most serious offenders are still monitored.

The committee, in its notes on the changes, says the goal was to give judges more discretion on whether to put low-level offenders on the registry and, “to prioritize registration for those who remain a danger to the community and not to dilute the registry with offenders who no longer remain a danger to reoffend.”

Ohio currently has more than 17,000 individuals on the sex offender registry. Less than a third are labeled Tier III, the highest tier, meaning they committed crimes like rape of children, sexual battery or murder with sexual motivation.

Opponents of registration have long argued that it does more harm than good to keep those who have served their time from re-integrating into society, and they say the registry unfairly labels people who commit low-level, non-violent crimes.

“It’s the greatest reform we’ve seen in Ohio since registration originally came to be,” Barb Wright, founder of Families and Individuals for Reform, said of the committee’s report.

Residency restrictions, which currently bar sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day care, have been a particularly hot button issue and the committee recommends getting rid of them.

“Empirical data shows there is no evidence to support that residency restrictions impact public safety,” the committee’s notes say.

Read the rest at the Dayton Daily News


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36 Thoughts to “Ohio poised to remove thousands from registry”

  1. AvatarTod Siegel

    This is encouraging, but most importantly, it is POLITICIANS who are working on ‘reducing or eliminating’ parts of the registry, not judges making the decisions on ex post facto, etc. In someways, this might be more important, maybe, than a lot of the cases happening around the country – it is the first I have ever seen of any politician opening their eyes and doing the right thing, I hope this starts another good path of the registry going away for most ppl. I also like how they are tweaking the tiers and only putting the ‘highest’ risk as a priority. Another positive step, thank you RSOL for posting this

    1. AvatarJeremy Heady

      I have to agree with you Tod. The implications of having politicians take a brave move to change the law says a lot about the feelings of the intelligent people in this country on this matter. Most of the court decisions in our favor have been by justices that are appointed rather than elected, so they have no incentive to pander to certain groups. The politician approach is also happening out in California too with proposals to remove the lifetime requirement to match the majority of the states’ tier systems. Ohio’s proposal is much better, but it shows that the politicians are starting to pay attention.

  2. AvatarNena

    This is so exciting. Hopefully this becomes a reality and other States follow suit.

    1. AvatarRegistry Rage

      Don’t hold your breath. Especially on SC, FLA and ALA…

  3. AvatarFLCitzen

    My only problem with the tier system is it doesn’t take risk into factor but by criminal charge. I was 19 when i committed my crime and have been in so treatment since my release from incarceration. I am a level one offender and according to my risk assessment i have very low chance of recidivism. Under the tier system based on my charge i would not get any relief yet i am being discharged from treatment this month. The registry needs to be based on professionals and all the money we pay for treatment and counseling. Not what a prosecutor can chump as a charge to get you the maximum time.

    1. AvatarMaestro

      I’ve been through the sex offender “treatment” group as a condition of probation. If you refuse the group, you get violated. The people who lead these groups call themselves “treatment providers”. These idiots couldn’t treat a headache.
      They CLAIM they want to get to know us and figure out what caused us to offend. But when you explain to them exactly what happened, they tell you you’re “minimizing the offense and the status of the victim”.

      Oh pardon me, Mr/Miss Treatment Provider, but it was not a figment of my imagination that this young “innocent” girl literally jumped my bones like a pro. Either they want to hear all the details or they should perhaps stop asking for all the details.

      Also, a one time offense of a statutory age of consent issue should NOT require this idiotic “treatment” program they force us into. It’s nothing but a money making scheme. Also, most treatment groups are lead by females who are obvious man-hating liberal feminists which is very unfair as they already have their minds made up about us.

    2. AvatarB

      Your entire post word for word couldn’t be more true. All we did when I was in treatment was pretty much nothing. They collected the money first of course, and we talked about our cases and in many instances you had to alter your case details so they can hear what they want to hear in order to be passing therapy. My treatment provider was the poster woman for all soccer moms and to no surprise, her husband was a cop. I had to quickly analyze how that system worked so I can prepare and come up with a scheme to beat their scheme in order to get out of there, because it felt like a divised trap to keep you there. I was successful. Sadly, you can’t pass with the truth and I swear to you, that I wanted to be honest. I also learned how to beat the polygraph by looking at YouTube videos from a retired police leutenant that showed you how to beat it. Passed them with flying colors by believing my own lies. Ridiculous and pathetic. The best treatment I got was the support of my family and of remaining friends who stuck by me through it all and still do. Also by coming into comment boards of NARSOL and its nation wide affiliates (and all of these mentioned are for free).

    3. AvatarJeremy Heady

      Maestro, not all treatment providers are the same. They are especially different when comparing treatment programs during incarceration and treatment programs during probation/parole. The latter treatment programs force the offender to pay for the treatment and have an incentive to “fail” you and have your supervision violated.

      I say this because, although I’m not sure how unique my situation was in this regard, I experienced both types of treatment and they were night and day. While incarcerated in the brig, I attended a very productive treatment program for 2 years and then went to maintenance meetings until my release. Once released, I was directed by parole to attend treatment AGAIN (no reason for this other than money and power) until the end of my parole. This “treatment” program was a joke and I even considered taking it to court on a few fronts (such as forcing us to watch a religious movie that lasted three sessions at $40 a session… I paid $120 to watch a f-ing movie!).

      This could be because there is a difference between civilian treatment programs and military treatment programs since there are stark differences in incarceration standards as well. My belief is that no two treatment programs are the same, but when money, power, and politics gets involved, it corrupts the program and the providers.

      I am still in contact with my therapist from the brig (and she responds and still gives advice for free) to this day because I consider it to be the only “effective” treatment I received.

    4. AvatarMaestro

      P.S. The end result of “graduating” (if you want to call it that) from the treatment group is absolutely ZERO.
      Nothing about your probation changes. Same restrictions as from the start. So what’s the point of the passing of group “therapy” if there’s no leniency afterwards? Oh yeah….cuz it’s just about $$$

  4. AvatarJeremy Heady

    While I do agree any lessening of registry restrictions are a good thing, I am a little concerned about what will be left in Ohio. Do they use individualized assessments for tier categories? It’s probably still offense based which is flawed. Also, there still seems to be a consensus with these politicians that registering the supposed high risk does any good at all. It is well documented that the registry enhances risk factors. Now, with this change, those registrants will face even more oppression as they attempt to find housing and jobs because the law will now say they are the worst of the worst. I’ve said this before many times in many forums, but when a person is released into society after serving their sentence, they should be given the tools to succeed and change their life around. Anything else is a recipe for disaster.

  5. AvatarMaestro

    What I want to know is what exactly do they consider a “threatening to the public” type of offense? Even the description they gave of “rape of a child”, etc, doesn’t tell us what they see as “low level”.
    For example, my case/story goes like this;

    I had just come out of a divorce from my ex wife who was 7 years OLDER than me. I’ve dated/chased after older women since my teens.
    After the divorce and feeling depression from it, I holed myself up at home and the only time I went out and “socialized” was work. I went to work, I came home. I did nothing.
    Then I started to spend time online on a website/messaging board which pertained to the gothic subculture(something I happen to like), and soon found myself in a dialogue with a teenager who was a year under my state’s legal age of consent. We chatted back and forth for over a month with no sexual discussion at all. But then I felt attracted to her. She agreed to meet with me. We met 3 times. Engaged in sex 2 times.

    With a case like this, do I qualify for being a major threat to the public after considering the circumstances I was in at the time and my mind set after a divorce?
    Does a fling with a minor teen make me the big bad wolf?
    And what about all the teachers across the country who (for reasons only they know in their own minds) “fell for” a student and had an illegal relationship with that student?

    About a month ago, in CT, there was a case of a teacher being arrested for having an affair with a GRADUATING 18 year old. Look at that again… the male student is/was EIGHTEEN. Over the legal age of consent and considered BY FEDERAL LAW an adult.
    But the teacher was still arrested and will face sex offender registration when she gets out of prison (this is CT, she WILL go to prison).
    Is she a threat to the public? A Teir III offender for a one on one relationship?

    Unless there are cases where you have a man or a woman having multiple “victims” , how would a one time, one person encounter qualify as a constant threat?
    I think many cases of a statutory nature where the relationship was consensual yet illegal, should be withdrawn from the SOR. I’m sure those are the majority of the people listed on the registry that are just wasting space on it.

    1. AvatarStill a student regardless

      He was still was a student in the school system regardless of age. There is the rub. A 19 year old senior year student would fall under the same most likely. Not saying it is right, but if you are in the school system, they are responsible for the student.

      Frankly, students who turn 18 during the school year should graduate at the semester break or end of the year, which ever is closest to their turning 18 during their senior year. I don’t care if they do play spring or winter sports. Get them off of campus since they are legally considered adults.

    2. AvatarMaestro

      Even though still a student to the teacher, I feel that once a person hits legal age of consent and especially age 18, an affair between a teacher and legal age student should be handled by the school board, NOT law enforcement.
      What I’m sick of in regards to laws is that we have human beings telling other human beings how they can or cannot feel about each other.
      That’s mankind trying to control nature. Not cool. So not cool.

    3. AvatarB

      Agreed. It’s a matter of principles and/or professional ethics, not a criminal matter. These things have always happened in high schools all over and even in my time during the early 90’s. The teacher would just be dealt with by the school board by being suspended or fired and that’s it.

    4. AvatarChris

      I can understand your point of view on victims, but I disagree with it. In the instance of a teacher/student relationship, a student cannot give authentic consent. The teacher is in a position of authority, and the student knows it. What if the student says “no”? Will the teacher fail him? Would anyone believe him if he told? And what would his friends say?

      The same can be said for priest/altar boy; doctor/patient; police/citizen; corrections officer/inmate.

      The other issue with children and consent is that children, even physiologically mature teenagers, do not have the emotional experience to handle a sexual relationship, especially with an adult. For example (and this is just one of many, many scenarios), they may feel like if they do not “give it up” then the adult will not want them. That’s not consent. That’s peer pressure. (I’m not saying you put pressure on your victim; the victim may have put that pressure on herself.)

      The relationship may very well have been consensual in the sense that both parties wanted it to happen. But from a slightly different point of view, one shared by psychologists that treat both offenders and victims, one person had all of the power in the relationship. That alone precludes any true consent.

      **And just for the record, I was 34 and my victim was 14. I’ve been through treatment and see things a lot differently than I did before. If you don’t believe there were long-term effects to the victim, you’re lying to yourself. I say all of this as a friend, not in judgement. We all lie to ourselves to be able to live with our poor choices. Once you expose the lie and accept the truth, healing begins.

    5. AvatarJeremy Heady

      Chris, you are helping to confirm my response to Maestro on the differences in treatment as no two treatments are the same. Some are really good, some are really terrible, and there are many in between.

      From your post here, it sounds like you got dealt a decent hand in the treatment department as your new beliefs seem to coincide with many of the things I learned in my effective treatment program.

      I admit, I still have struggles with some of the things directly taught, but in my treatment program, we were taught more than one way to practice abstinence. If one is hard to follow, use another.

      It seems like you have the right mindset going forward and will likely join the 94.7% of us who never re-offend.

    6. AvatarInternal demarcation

      @Chris – person in position of authority is the demarcation line as you noted, which can be in various positions in life throughout life, not just the education system.

      @Maestro – agree it should be school board handled w/no law enforcement involvement just as many other things should be handled internally and outside of the LE area (uniformed and DAs). LE doesn’t have much latitude anymore to handle things or won’t give much latitude in handling of things. However, it becomes when things are not handled the way they could be handled internally (or ways people believe they should be handled internally thanks to external second guessing), then go people outside of the matter to the public law area with unknown results and politicians willing to carry the banner for the cause celebre.

  6. FredFred

    Considering how Ohio is in the 6th Circuit, could they be preparing for the eventual?

    1. rwvnralrwvnral

      I’m hoping that there are attorneys in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee (the rest of the Sixth Circuit) who realize the importance of the Snyder case within their jurisdictions and are gearing up to challenge the registration schemes in those states.

  7. AvatarRajendra

    Hopefully the Sex Offender Registry will be challenged statewide and then federally. The truth shall set us free.

  8. AvatarTim L

    Databases have been created; public and private. Registrants are required to maintain the Public property known as SOR. While it is nice to read some maybe ” dropped, the fact is the file will remain on the database- maintenance data.

    Mr. Kennedy’s mia culpa recently does not erase neglect to recognize plain indenture meant convicted citizens to a property owned and operated by the people’s interest. The impact upon liberty has been profound as with all forms of servitude.. So u spend a day in jail or too? At least you get a day in court, opt for trial.

  9. AvatarMaestro

    I see one of my response comments still didn’t pass the approval of the moderator after 3 days.
    I guess reality is frowned upon in favor of sugar coating.

    If those of you who operate this site and those who partake in the comments/conversations herein do not wish to see what I have to say, just say so and I’ll no longer participate, and you can all live in sugarcoated “La-La land”.

    1. sandysandy

      In looking at the comment you reference, sir, it is extremely long. It is that factor rather than the content that is hindering its posting. You may either edit the length significantly or turn it into something you can post on Tales from the Registry.

    2. AvatarTrish

      It always happens to me! They don’t like to be fair and do what is right! Sensoring is a violation of free speech!

    3. FredFred

      The 1st Amendment and all of the Articles in the U.S. Constitution apply to the Government in regards to what they can or cannot do to you and other U.S. Citizens. Even then, all NARSOL asks of you in the comments is to be respectful, stay on topics related to our cause and try to keep your comments brief. It seems pretty lax to me.

    4. AvatarLovecraft

      It might be a good idea sometime in the future for narsol to create a private forum for general topics or for longer phrased comments. I know it will require more work vetting each person who signs up, but maybe there is an easier way to do it.

    5. FredFred

      There is a private forum for members. I have used it before.

    6. AvatarJim

      I agree Fred,
      This forum has certainly been helpful for me, and I have learned from it. I have found the moderators to be more than fair. We ought, I believe, to refrain from using it as a “bully pulpit,” although I do recognize that sometimes folks need to just vent. For those of us languishing under the heavy hand of registry laws this forum offers us a wonderful venue to share ideas, and to find some measure of encouragement among ourselves. Lord knows there is hardly any place else to find it.

  10. AvatarOhio et al can learn from PA

    Ohio and the rest of the 6th Circuit area can take PA’s lead here through this:

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court finds state sex offender registration law punitive and thus unconstitutional to apply retroactively


  11. AvatarOhio et al can learn from PA

    Ohio and the rest of the 6th Circuit area can take PA’s lead here through this:

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court finds state sex offender registration law punitive and thus unconstitutional to apply retroactively


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