Illinois Voices for Reform

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Illinois Voices for Reform is a non-profit advocacy and support organization for Illinois sex offenders and their families. It is dedicated to providing education on issues affecting sex offenders to the public and to legislators.[1] Illinois Voices for Reform is an affiliate organization of Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc., and is one of the more than 50 organizations nationwide movement to reform sex offender laws in the United States. The group holds that current sex offender registry laws have gone far beyond their original intent of protecting children,[2] and therefore aims to promote and supports laws that are sensible and make society safer while protecting the constitutional rights of everyone involved.[3]

Advocacy

Illinois Voices for Reform aims to inform lawmakers and the public that sex offenders are a diverse group of individuals, and that contrary to popular belief, the recidivism rate of 5% over 5 years[4] is the second lowest of all offender groups.[5] The onerous restrictions and stigmatizing effect of public sex offender lists are unfair and unfounded when applied to all offenders indiscriminately, without considering the individual risk and underlying facts of individual cases.

Illinois Voices for Reform advocates for reforming state and federal laws that promote a "one-size-fits-all" policy, and for returning sex offender registries to their original purpose of monitoring violent sexual predators. Furthermore, they support reforming public registries and residency restrictions that have been proven to be ineffective at best,[6][7][8] and, according to research, may be counter-productive, undermining rather rhan enhancing public safety.[9] The group seeks to educate and correct inaccurate views held by lawmakers and the general populace about sex offenders, such as their alleged high risk of re-offending, which is the core rationale behind sex offender laws.[10]

Illinois Voices for Reform says that current laws unfairly stigmatize young and low-risk offenders, such as those engaging in consensual teenage sex or sexting.[11] They believe that laws should be based on research and empirical evidence of what works, and that "feel good" laws based on public hysteria surrounding high-profile, but rare[12] cases waste taxpayer dollars, violate the rights of individuals, and can actually undermine public safety.[13] The group has voiced its concern over laws that do not differentiate between violent and non-violent offenders to Illinois General Assembly.[1] Accordingly the group heavily objected to Illinois adopting the federal Adam Walsh Act.[14][15] Recently, Illinois Voices for Justice has opposed a sex offender workplace registry bill that was introduced in the Illinois Senate in March 2015.[16]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Group tries to educate on sex offenders' rights". Chicago Daily Law Bulletin 156 (65). 5 April 2010. http://ilvoices.com/uploads/2/8/6/6/2866695/_6180171.jpg. 
  2. "High School Sweethearts -- Or Sex Offenders?", The Huffington Post, 25 July 2011. 
  3. Mission Statement. Illinois Voices for Reform.
  4. A Multi - State Recidivism Study Using Static - 99R and Static - 2002 Risk Scores and Tier Guidelines from the Adam Walsh Act. National Institute of Justice.
  5. Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994. U.S. Department of Justice (2003).
  6. Zgoba, Kristen; Veysey, Bonita; Dalessandro, Melissa (2010). "An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Community Notification and Registration: Do the Best Intentions Predict the Best Practices?". Justice Quarterly 27 (5): 667–691. doi:10.1080/07418820903357673. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07418820903357673. 
  7. Sandler, Jeffrey; Freeman, Naomi; Socia, Kelly (2008). "Does a watched pot boil? A time-series analysis of New York State's sex offender registration and notification law.". Psychology, Public Policy, and Law (American Psychological Association) 14 (4): 284–302. doi:10.1037/a0013881. http://ilvoices.com/media/ea99d28960ec776bffff84aeffffe415.pdf. 
  8. About us. Illinois Voices for Reform.
  9. Sex Offender Registration and Notification. Office of Justice Programs.
  10. "Illinois revisits sex offender list", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 16 April 2012. 
  11. "Advocates: ‘Don’t prosecute teens for consensual sex’", Illinois Times, 24 February 2011. 
  12. Highlights From the NISMART Bulletins. U. S. Department of Justice.
  13. [Journals: Studies question effectiveness of sex offender laws]. The University of Chicago Press.
  14. "Reformers: sex offender mandate would hurt Illinois", Illinois Times, 19 April 2011. 
  15. "Reformers blast sex offender legislation Bill increases restrictions, requirements for sex offenders", Illinois Times, 5 May 2011. 
  16. "Sex offender workplace registry bill sparks debate", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 24 March 2015. 


External links