Plenary Presentations

Advocacy in Action: Mock Legislative Committee Hearing

Advocacy in Action will present a bipartisan look behind the scenes of the state legislature, concluding in a mock judiciary committee hearing in front of two esteemed Ohio senators. Barb Wright will offer testimony in favor of legislation to establish a petition for youthful offenders for removal from the register, and Wendy Tarr will offer testimony in opposition to the violent offender registry as originally introduced in Ohio. Although both bills are real, the mock hearing will focus on the process, not the substance, of advocating for reform. A Q&A period will follow the mock hearing, allowing the audience to ask the senators and panelists questions about the process.
The hearing will be conducted by Senator Eklund, sitting as the Chairman of the Mock Committee. Senator Eklund is a well-respected and influential legislator in the area of criminal justice reform. Senator Eklund was a member of the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee and is the primary sponsor of bills to modify criminal sentencing and corrections law.

Recent Landmark Decisions and Their Implications for Rational Sexual Offense Laws
Jeff Gamso and Lea Bickerton, Attorneys

The basis for litigation reform and the results of civil rights litigation vary widely from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. By examining a number of challenges from the past couple of years, we will seek to understand the key constitutional arguments that have been made, what has been successful, and the reason why there are such disparate results between states and circuits.

The Politics Behind the Adam Walsh Act
Honorable Marc Dann, Attorney/ Former AG

Dann brings to NARSOL his unique knowledge of the forces leading to adoption of the Adam Walsh Act in Ohio. Ohio was the first of eighteen states to adopt the Adam Walsh Act. Dann now regrets his role in the adoption of the AWA, and will discuss ways in which other states can avoid the politics behind the Adam Walsh Act and other sex offender registration laws.

Framing Sex Offenders: The Complexities and Challenges of Talking About Registrants
David Feige, Documentarian

Talking about registrants and framing questions concerning sex offender policy are complex and divisive. This talk will aim to address the challenges involved with driving change, without fracturing coalitions, through media including journalism and films. The presentation will also include the showing of two of Feige’s short films dispelling the myths of sex offender recidivism and showing the devastating effects of life on the registry.

Pressure Points: What's Likely to Work and Why?
Paul Dubbeling, Attorney

Recently, there have been some very good judicial decisions affirming the rights of registered citizens. But while optimism for the future is appropriate, we must also temper it with caution. Bad cases make bad law. And this is certainly true when we consider the general political animosity toward registered sex offenders. It is vital to the future of reform that advocates seek out and bring challenges that are likely to build upon these successes and avoid those that, while just, are likely to harm rather than help.
In this presentation, Paul will discuss what legal and legislative challenges are the most likely to succeed so that we can establish winning strategies to pursue effectual change. By evaluating the relationship between legislative and legal action for reform, and strategies for effectively pursuing both, it’s possible to set concrete, achievable goals that will advance the cause of this advocacy today, and in the critical years to come.

Workshop Presentations

The Nuts and Bolts of Lobbying for Legislative Reform - Connie Nolder and Gina Wilt

Nolder and Wilt will present a seasoned lobbyist’s view of the discussion started during the Advocacy in Action session, with a basic discussion of How a Bill Becomes Law, coalition building, building a relationships with lawmakers, and strategies for advocacy.

Lessons Learned - "Sex is Different" - Mark DeVan

As with capital crimes where “Death is Different,” those defending sex charges must recognize that “Sex is Different.” The defense of people investigated or charged with sexual offenses requires a level of understanding and advocacy not found in the defense of other cases. Those specific concerns and skills in advocacy are best learned through careful study of the statutes and rules that apply in sexual offense prosecutions and anecdotal stories that explain and exemplify what to do and not do to ensure the best possible result for a sexual offense client.

Employment Strategies for Registrants - John Rush

John came from a challenging background, but has risen above to become a leading figure in second chance employment, including employment for registrants. John will discuss Thinking Outside the Box, including such topics as Dispelling the Myths, Dismantling the Fears, Discerning the Talent, Disseminating the Message, and Deploying the Community.
Having an effective message is one of the most difficult tasks in any type of social reform, and having the wrong message can be disastrous for any movement. An effective message can change the conversation from one of "us vs them" and instead focus the conversation on common values.

Clearing Digital Pitfalls: Ethics in the New World of Social Media - Ian Friedman

It is virtually impossible today to escape the power and reach of social media. It is no longer just a means to keep up with friends and colleagues. It is changing every facet of daily life. With such growth, it has become very easy to run afoul of ethical restrictions and criminal laws. Online users need to understand the pitfalls of social media in order to avoid them. We will learn about normal everyday online activity that can violate the law and learn how to always navigate within legal bounds.

Keeping It Personal: Knowing and Swaying Your Lawmakers - Niki Clum

Asking for criminal justice reform that assists individuals convicted of a crime is not apolitically popular position. In order to achieve change, advocates must earn the trust of lawmakers and provide them with convincing arguments. Learn how to establish productive relationships with lawmakers, and present arguments that they will find compelling.

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Church - Larry Anderson

Finding a connection within a local church is a great and rewarding accomplishment. For a registered citizen it is very important to build a team of spiritual and emotional support that helps with accountability and personal growth. Everybody needs a foundation, and the church is a great starting point. Many registered citizens feel disenfranchised and disconnected from the church. Isolation is one of the greatest schemes the enemy uses to keep individuals trapped in a non-productive cycle. Although most churches address the issue of registered citizens in the church from a secular view, there are still many congregations that will welcome with open arms and unconditional love. This workshop is designed to help you identify what’s healthy and what’s not as it pertains to registered citizens choosing a local church.

CSA Prevention Training for Adults - Anne Nurse

Increasingly, child-serving organizations like sports leagues, schools, and churches are requiring sexual abuse prevention training for employees and volunteers. In this workshop we will discuss the purpose of these trainings and the kinds of material they cover. The facilitator will discuss results from an evaluation research project she conducted on one national program. Data will be presented about the accuracy of the public’s knowledge of CSA and the impact of training on that knowledge. Emphasis will be given to the implications these programs have for shaping public opinion toward sex offender laws.

Bodyke and Beyond: A Decade of Un-Change - Jeffrey Gamso

The landmark decisions in State v. Bodyke and State v. Williams returned thousands of Megan’s law registrants to the classification that existed prior to the enactment of the Adam Walsh Act. But in the years that followed, inconsistencies and uncertainties flourished, making registration duties confusing for all registrants, regardless when they were convicted. This workshop will provide answers to that question NARSOL has been asking all year: Can They Do That?

After Muniz and Butler: Sex Offender Registration Issues in Pennsylvania - Lea Bickerton

We will review the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Commonwealth v. Muniz decision, Commonwealth v. Butler and observe the most important legal conclusions made, and Pennsylvania’s Act 10 law. Then we will discuss the ramifications of Act 10 and the constitutional issues that remain after its implementation.

Messaging and Strategic Alliances – Laurie Jo Reynolds and Will Mingus

Having an effective message is one of the most difficult tasks in any type of social reform, and having the wrong message can be disastrous for any movement. An effective message can change the conversation from one of "us vs them" and instead focus the conversation on common values. Working with other organizations is an invaluable part of changing hearts and minds. Illinois Voices will share its strategy on messaging and strategic alliances.

Fearless Demo Groups

These sessions led by experienced group leaders give participants a taste of how a Fearless support/advocacy group works. There will be a brief introduction describing meetings and protocols, then time to “practice” sharing, Fearless-style!

Own it! Starting Your Own Business - Will Mingus

Starting your own business has lots of benefits. Being your own boss means no one can fire you except for YOU. But starting a business can seem daunting at first. Learn how make that business a reality. We will discuss the process - from cultivating an idea, to coming up with financing, to developing a business model, to filing the legal paperwork. This overview presentation will take some of the mystery out of starting your own business.

Regional Meet and Greets

Attendees will break into groups based on their NARSOL region for an opportunity to meet their “neighbors” in the Cause and build new connections.

Beyond Treatment: Creating a Community of Accountability and Support - Tim Buckley

Reentry from prison is fraught with hardship. To increase public safety and lower recidivism, communities are adding layers of support and accountability to the reentry process. It is important for social workers and counselors working with registrants to be invited into the larger community of accountability and support. And when the community understands and fulfills its mission for accountability and support, even those accused of offenses but not convicted, can find that same community structure and even reconciliation within the community. Learn how one treatment provider became a catalyst for change with clients, as well as in the state legislature and in county government. Going beyond your job description takes courage, time, and risk. But the rewards pay off in terms of client success and community growth.

Bodyke & Beyond: A Decade of Un-Change - Jeffrey Gamso

The landmark decisions in State v. Bodyke and State v. Williams returned thousands of Megan’s law registrants to the classification that existed prior to the enactment of the Adam Walsh Act. But in the years that followed, inconsistencies and uncertainties flourished, making registration duties confusing for all registrants, regardless when they were convicted. This workshop will provide answers to that question NARSOL has been asking all year: Can They Do That?

The Adam Walsh Act: What It IS, and What It Is NOT - Larry Neely

Possibly no other legislation is more consistently feared – or misunderstood – as the Adam Walsh Act, which brought registries online and established a “floor” for states to achieve with their own registration schemes. Larry and Brenda will cover how this act came to be, the basics of what it requires from states, and the most common myths related to AWA compliance.

Telling a Good Story - David Feige

Feige will follow up “Framing Sex Offenders: The Complexities and Challenges of Talking About Registrants” with a more personal approach involving audience members with a story to tell. The workshop is designed to talk about participant stories and initiatives and brainstorm framing and messaging solutions and talking points.

History of Registration: A Lawyer's Perspective - Paul Dubbeling

Once there’s a list, the Government will use it. The history of registration laws demonstrates this truism, but what does that mean from a legal perspective? How do prior cases affect upcoming ones in light of the rapid increase in both the extent and severity of registration laws?