Texas Newspaper Reports Some FACTS

Thanks to Lisa Sample, Ph.D., Criminal Justice Professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, for pointing out to us a real news story about Halloween. The story is headlined

Experts say Halloween laws against sex offenders are a scare tactic

An excerpt from the Dallas (Texas) Morning News story:

Jill Levenson, an associate professor at Lynn University, said that the greatest risk to trick-or-treaters is getting hit by a car. Researchers at the Florida school determined that there was no change in sexual assaults during Halloween, or even in the weeks that followed, in comparison to the rest of the year. 

“The laws restricting sex offenders make parents and communities feel safer, but there’s no proof that they reduce the risk of sexual abuse,” Levenson said. “Law enforcement should be directing their efforts towards crimes that are more commonly seen on Halloween, like vandalism.”

Click here to read the full story.

Wildly Inaccurate Lies and Deceptions (WILD) Citation Goes to Erin Murray of WOWT-Channel 6 in Omaha

TV copy-reader Erin Murray of WOWT-Channel 6 in Omaha, Nebraska, is the winner of the first Nebraskans Unafraid Wildly Inaccurate Lies and Deceptions (WILD) Citation.

The WILD Citation recognizes the promulgation of wrong, strange and outdated ideas regarding former sex offenders while ignoring research data and all of the truthful information that is available on the subject.

Murray is selected for the WILD Citation because she reported the Halloween Hoax as “news.” The Halloween Hoax is the notion that registrants pose a danger to kids on Halloween. This is quite a feat because Nebraskans Unafraid/FACTS provided local media outlets including WOWT with factual information and a request to report accurate information about recent UNO research that shows former sex offenders are extremely unlikely to reoffend.

In addition to her suitable-for-framing WILD Certificate, Murray also will receive:

  • A copy of an actual real news article about the Halloween Hoax by Emily Horowitz, Associate Professor of Sociology, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N.Y., which will educate as well as serve as a good example to Murray.
  • A copy of the UNO research study that disproves the assumptions underlying the Halloween Hoax.
  • A complimentary one-year subscription to the NU newsletter Ninety-Five%.
  • Contact information for individuals who can provide her with accurate information about former sex offenders.
Congratulations and Happy Halloween, Erin!

Target is on Target With ‘Ban the Box’ Policy

Second in a series by Eddie Sidgeweck
From the StarTribune in Minneapolis:

Target Corp. will roll out a national program early next year that will eliminate the box on employment applications that asks job seekers whether they have a criminal record.

The initiative, part of a budding “Ban the Box” movement across the country, calls for employers to wait until a prospective employee is being interviewed or has a provisional job offer before inquiring whether he or she has a criminal past. The idea is that ex-offenders will have a better chance at getting a job if they’re not eliminated at the very beginning of their job search. 

“It’s a big deal in the sense that people with criminal records are going to be given a better chance at employment,” said Dan Oberdorfer, an employment lawyer with the Minneapolis law firm Leonard Street and Deinard. “So earlier in the process employers will have a completely open mind.”
Read the complete story here.

Kudos to Target! I’m going to do all my shopping there in the future. The “ban the box” policy makes sense for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it could make Target popular among the friends and family members of the millions of people this nation sends to prison. Families victimized by a twisted criminal justice system are growing in number. They represent a large and growing group of consumers. I hope they all take notice of this enlightened move by Target.

Speaking of Target: It was in Target’s online store where I first saw the “Come Back With a Warrant” “welcome” mat for your front door. I was going to promote it here in hopes that you might spend some money at Target, but Target is sold out or something. They don’t have any left.

It is the perfect addition to the residence of a former sex-offender in places where law enforcement conducts those extra-legal home invasive verification visits. Fortunately, you can get one online at Amazon. Remember, there is no law that requires you to answer a knock at your door, and this doormat is the appropriate message for some people who might knock at your door.
Nebraska law already gives law enforcement all of the tools it needs and more to make sure that they have information on where you live. There is no justification in law or in good public policy for this extraordinary waste of taxpayer dollars.