Families Affirming Community Safety (FACTS)

December 16, 2009

Families Affirming Community Safety (FACTS)

Families Affirming Community Safety (FACTS) exists to ensure that our communities are safe and that Nebraskans are not lulled into a false sense of security by laws like LB 285.  The law is supposed to keep children safe. However, if implemented, LB 285 will allow truly dangerous ‘sex offenders’ like Phillip Garrido (kidnapper of Jaycee Lee Dugard) to “hide in plain sight” on a public web registry that lists all registrants regardless of their level of risk. California has some of the most stringent registry laws in the nation, and all sources agree that Garrido escaped law enforcement attention because the system was distracted and overly burdened by tracking registrants who posed little or no risk.

LB 285 does away with Nebraska’s system of using psychological and law enforcement expertise to assess a registrant’s risk of reoffending. Instead, all registrants — some of whom did not even have victims — will be on the registry, rendering it useless in protecting community safety.

With this website, FACTS intends to share accurate information and alert the public to the dangers posed by LB 285. If the law is implemented, we would not want any Nebraska registrant to inadvertently fail to comply for lack of information. Under LB 285, the proposed conditions are so burdensome for both the registrant and the registrant’s family that compliance is difficult at best, even for those who intend to comply.

The law also could place burdens on employers because it criminalizes commonly used communication means such as text messaging. A professional who is an registrant would be committing a felony simply by receiving a work-related text message, or a text message from his wife asking him to buy a loaf of bread on the way home from work.

By using a misguided “one-size-fits-all” approach and ignoring expert and law enforcement judgment as to the risk posed by a particular registrant, LB 285 represents a clear and present threat to public safety. It also is a threat to the families of thousands of registrants who long ago completed their sentences, succeeded in therapy and have become productive, respected, taxpaying members of our communities.


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