Why Reentry Programs Should Be Open to Sex Offenders

Why Reentry Programs Should Be Open to Sex Offenders By Debron B. – Criminal Justice Intern Reentry resources are pivotal to every returning citizen's reintegration into society, especially sex offenders.  Despite that, sex offenders have to deal with additional barriers that obstruct their reentry process.  It is believed that by giving offenders an opportunity to impact their communities positively, they will be less likely to recidivate back into the prison system.  Contradictory to this belief, sex offenders are often denied the chance to reintegrate into their local community and even get harassed for attempting to find work and employment.  It is beneficial for both the sex offenders and the general public that this subset of returning citizens is given the ability to use the same reentry resources as others. Sex offenders are in dire need of more reentry programs that cater to their specific residential and employment needs.  Numerous states still have employment …
Read more
  • 0

Why Sex Offender Residence Distance Restrictions Are Problematic

Why Sex Offender Residence Distance Restrictions Are Problematic By Emma V. – Criminal Justice Intern Individuals who have been mandated to register for their state’s sex offender registry must not only encounter hardships of societal re-entry after incarceration, but also navigate laws set forth by the state pertaining to sex offender registration requirements.  One of the most restrictive of these requirements dramatically complicates registrants’ integration back into society after incarceration.  Residence distance restrictions forbid sex offenders from living within a fixed number of feet or blocks from certain locations.  Many states restrict offenders from residing near playgrounds, schools, and churches.  Realistically, finding a residential area without at least one of these institutions proves to be near impossible.  This hinders a sex offender’s chance at a smooth transition back into society and causes even more strain on an individual who is unable to find hous…
Read more
  • 0

Happy Anniversary, PIN!

Probation Information Network Marks its 3rd Anniversary on May 1   In the past 3 years we've: • Had 23 interns from 6 universities participate in our research projects • Appeared in 1.56 million Google searches • Amassed a database of over 1,100 Reentry Resources • Provided the Supervised Release Conditions and Travel Restrictions for all 94 federal districts • Researched and published Sex Offender Registry Requirements for all 50 states and 5 U.S. territories   We are proud to celebrate 3 years of providing resources to help those navigating the federal criminal justice system, and look forward to many more.
Read more
  • 0

Sex Offender Registry Requirements Across the United States

What is the Sex Offender Registry? Every state and U.S. territory requires those convicted of sex offenses to be added to a registry to be monitored and tracked after their release back into the community.  Information about the offender is collected and shared with local and federal authorities, as well as the general public.  Requirements and restrictions are often placed on registered sex offenders.  That registration process is unique in each state and U.S. territory.   What is SORNA? The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) was passed in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act to provide federal standards for jurisdictions to follow.  SORNA calls for states and U.S. territories to meet minimum requirements for sex offender registration and notification.   Why Are the Requirements for Sex Offender Registration Different Everywhere? …
Read more
  • 0

DNA Databases and Law Enforcement

DNA Databases and Law Enforcement By Asia H. - Criminal Justice Intern Genetic Genealogy has become a popular subject in recent times thanks to DNA testing kits. Users can send in saliva samples and receive a detailed report on their ethnic ancestry or genetic predisposition to certain diseases. While hundreds of thousands of people have taken interest in companies such as 23andme, AncestryDNA and African Ancestry to connect with family and their heritage, others have been drawn to them for different reasons. The large databases created by DNA testing companies have been a source of interest for law enforcement officials who desire to utilize them for investigations. In recent years, law enforcement has used DNA databases to solve cold cases and apprehend criminals. A slew of cases have been solved and criminals apprehended thanks to sites such as GEDMatch that allow law enforcement (and other users) to upload genetic information and locate matches of other customers. Th…
Read more
  • 0

Combating Recidivism Through Pre-release Programs

Combating Recidivism Through Pre-release Programs By Erika E. - Criminal Justice Intern According to the United States Department of Justice, more than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison each year. Of those 650,000 individuals, the struggles they face within the criminal justice system as well as out of the system play a significant role in their success in society. With barriers to reintegration such as finding and maintaining jobs, education, and social bonds, it is evident that decreasing recidivism is dependent on breaking these barriers. Through implementation of pre-release programs during incarceration, barriers will diminish, and the recidivism rate will begin to decline. Thus, released prisoners are more likely to overcome the barriers of societal reintegration, resulting in a lower recidivism rate, upon completion of pre- release programs. The challenge of finding a job with a criminal record is one of the biggest barriers an inmate must face when re…
Read more
  • 0

The Problem with Juveniles Getting Life Without Parole

The Problem with Juveniles Getting Life Without Parole By Danielle A. - Criminal Justice Intern While juveniles being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole may seem uncommon, it’s not. There are currently people in prison who have been sentenced to life in prison without parole for crimes they committed before the age of 18. The United States is the only country in the world that sentences juveniles to life without parole. Currently, 25 states and the District of Columbia have banned life without parole for people under 18. An additional nine states allow it but don’t currently have any juveniles sentenced to life without parole. While its great juveniles can’t be sentenced to the death penalty, life in prison without the possibly of parole isn’t much better. This is why life sentences for anyone under the age of 18 needs to be banned altogether. We were all young once before so we know what it’s like to make irrational decisions. Some make decisi…
Read more
  • 0

The Burden of Pretrial Detention

The Burden of Pretrial Detention By Asia H. - Criminal Justice Intern The criminal justice system has become overcrowded, overloaded, and inefficient in dealing with criminal cases. Though many tend to think of prisons when it comes to overcrowding, jails are also experiencing unprecedented overfilling. Pretrial defendants, in particular, are a population contributing to jail overcrowding. In 2015, one study of jails in Georgia found that pretrial defendants constituted 56% of the jail population. Another study found that 75% of New York's jail population were pretrial detainees. The 6th amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial, right to counsel, right to an impartial jury as well as the right to be informed of the charges against you. As it concerns pretrial detention, many detainees are extensively incarcerated due to financial issues and/or the heavy caseload of the justice system. Detainees lose out on a speedy trial when they are extensively incarcerated whi…
Read more
  • 0

California’s Broken 3 Strike Rule

California's Broken 3 Strike Rule By Edwin B. - Criminal Justice Intern Starting in the late 1980’s, there was a dramatic increase in crime. Most notably, a large percentage of the crime was caused by repeat offenders. To find a solution for the rising crime rates, many states decided to deter crime by enacting strict laws. In 1994, California enacted the three strikes sentencing law. The three strikes law would require any defendant convicted of any new felony, having already suffered one prior conviction felony, to be sentenced to prison for twice the term provided for the crime. After a defendant has had two prior strikes, the law mandates a prison sentencing of at least 25 years to life. Despite growing debate on the effectiveness of the three strikes law in California, there is overwhelming evidence of the negative impact it has had on society. The law has provided California’s criminal justice system with more problems. Due to the three strikes law, California’s priso…
Read more
  • 0

Should Minors Be Waived to Adult Court?

Should Minors Be Waived to Adult Court? By Asia H. - Criminal Justice Intern In virtually all areas of life, children are treated differently than adults. Society recognizes that children are biologically immature and thus held to a different standard. The criminal justice system is no different. Though it was not always the case, juvenile offenders are adjudicated differently than adult offenders. The first juvenile court opened in 1899 in Cook County, Illinois. Designed to adjudicate juvenile offenders, this court prioritized rehabilitation for minors instead of the punitive approach geared towards adults. However, why do juvenile courts treat minors differently from adult offenders? The answer is mainly biological. The prefrontal cortex, the decision making part of our brains, doesn't mature until we are 25 years old. Adolescents have underdeveloped brains with their frontal lobes being unbalanced and prone to poor and risky decision making. Socially, adolescents lack…
Read more
  • 0

Felon Disenfranchisement: Barring People from the Polls Because of Criminal Convictions

Felon Disenfranchisement: Barring People from the Polls Because of Criminal Convictions By Edwin B. – Criminal Justice Intern The right to vote is one of the fundamental rights of every American entrenched in the United States constitution. However, millions of Americans are being denied this protected right because of different regulations each US state implements. The millions of Americans I am referring to are the convicted ex-felons in America. A felony is defined as any criminal offense that results in a prison sentence of one year or longer, or even punishable by death. When an individual is charged with a felony, a severe consequence of felony disenfranchisement, or the denial of the right to vote, is also given. The length of time felons lose the right to vote and how they regain the right to vote is determined state by state. Felon disenfranchisement is an outdated practice that is in need of revision due to the negative impact it has had on society. The reasons ag…
Read more
  • 0

Helping Formerly Incarcerated Veterans with the Veterans Treatment Court

Helping Formerly Incarcerated Veterans with the Veterans’ Treatment Court By Danielle A. - Criminal Justice Intern Being a veteran is something to be very proud of in America. To know you served your country with dignity and respect is a great honor. One’s family and friends take pride in saying they know a veteran. But what happens when it’s time to return to civilian life? Everything isn’t as easy as it may seem. Many veterans come back home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, numerous mental diseases, traumatic brain injuries, and other physical injuries as a result of their deployment. While dealing with these post war traumas, veterans have found themselves entering the criminal justice system due to domestic violence, substance abuse, and other criminal activities. This is an issue many don’t think about. Sadly, 8% of all individuals incarcerated in jail or prison are veterans and out of that 8%, 60% have mental health and substance abuse issues. While t…
Read more
  • 0