Have a FEARLESS July

FEARLESS will continue to meet by phone and online this month.

Lincoln’s FEARLESS group is gathering by conference call at 7:15 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, July 9. If you are interested in sitting in on that call, send us an email at nunafrd@gmail.com, and we will forward your request for the credentials to Lincoln’s FEARLESS leadership.

The Omaha-area FEARLESS meetings are at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday, July 11 and at 7 p.m. Central Time on Monday, July 20.

On Saturday, we will have an update on the new nonprofit corporation Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc., which will raise funds to support FEARLESS, among other initiatives. The July 20 meeting will have a special guest — more about that in a later post.

If you wish to attend either Omaha-area meeting, send an email to nunafrd@gmail.com with the date of the meeting you wish to attend in the body text, your full name and a physical mailing address that we can verify. When we have verified your information, we will send you the sign-in credentials you will need to attend the meeting(s). We apologize but this process is necessary for the safety and security of individuals who attend FEARLESS.

We Don’t Throw People Away Because They Made a Mistake

Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc. Wants Everyone to Be Safe

We don’t throw people away because they made a mistake.

That is a founding principle of Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc., a new non-profit organization based in Omaha, Neb.

Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc. exists to help people who are disadvantaged or whose safety is threatened because of a previous contact with the criminal justice system. These individuals often have difficulty reintegrating into their communities. Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc. works to overcome obstacles to reintegration. Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc., supports safe communities, and believes that the right to feel safe in their homes and persons extends to all — including those who have had a previous contact with the criminal justice system.

People who come through the criminal justice system are parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends. They are for the most part just like anyone else. They made mistakes and they paid for them. 

These individuals can become productive and valuable members of our communities if they can find decent places to live, earn decent incomes and maintain their family and social networks. All too often, however, people who have been through the criminal justice system are persecuted long after they have completed their sentences. 

They have trouble finding housing and jobs, and their families are shunned or targeted for violence.

Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc., will raise funds that will be used to help these people in the areas of housing, employment and personal safety and security. Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc., will use donated funds to support these initiatives:

  • Supporting the operations of Nebraskans Unafraid and FEARLESS;
  • Building a legal war chest to underwrite legal challenges to unjust laws and to fight systemic injustice;
  • Providing microgrants to support people in finding housing and employment;
  • Providing microgrants to people to buy home safety equipment — cameras, monitoring services, legal personal protection items;
  • Delivering public education about how to create public policy that reduces violence in our communities;
  • Raising capital funds to underwrite a short-term housing facility where people coming out of prison can live in a dignified way that will foster their return to their communities as productive tax-paying citizens.

Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc., has applied for tax-exempt status. Until that designation is granted, gifts to Safe and Just Nebraska, Inc., are not tax deductible. However, if you are moved to make a gift to one of the above-listed initiatives, you may do so at this link.

Registries Fuel Mass Incarceration and Don’t Help Survivors

Paul M. Renfro is an assistant professor of history at Florida State University and the author of Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State.

Renfro wrote a recent Jacobin Magazine article that pronounces sex offense registries a failure that should be abolished. Renfro says that registries do not make anyone safer. All they do is fuel mass incarceration while doing nothing to prevent sexual harm.

Here is an excerpt:

Only by dismantling the registry and, in its stead, assembling a more equitable, less punitive society — devoid of the racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and material deprivation that enable sexual violence, immiserate young people, and encourage children to run away from home — can we actually end the phenomena of sexual harm.


Registry Failures

Nebraska’s fear-mongering public-shaming sex offense website fails in ways almost too numerous to count. But we have categorized some of them. This blog will publish periodic reminders of those failures. Here is today’s reminder:

Evidence shows that a stable home life, employment and reintegration into their communities are among factors that reduce the likelihood of reoffense. This means that the Nebraska sex offense website makes Nebraska more dangerous because it causes people to lose their jobs and their homes, and it causes their families to suffer. A Public Safety Brief from the Council of State Governments states that the vast majority of child molestations — well over 90 percent — are first-time offenses committed by someone known to and close to the family.  The registry does not protect children, it puts children at higher risk because it focuses attention on people who are not going to molest a child. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that just 14 percent of all sexual assault cases reported to law enforcement agencies involved offenders who were strangers to their victims. Sexual assault victims under the age of 18 at the time of the crime knew their abusers in nine out of 10 cases: the abusers were family members in 34 percent of cases, and acquaintances in another 59 percent of cases.