REPORT ~ September 1, 2011
by Christine Louise Beems, aka:
The Great Gozarkian and author of
MEET THE PRESS: Essentials of Effective Communication with Media
Arkansas Delegation Attends National Sex Offender Law Reform
Above: the Arkansas Time
After Time info-table at the 2011 RSOL National conference held August
12-14 in St. Louis, Missouri. Pictured, left to right, are the
Arkansas group: Lynn Gilmore, SOSEN CEO and ATAT Lobbying Director,
Christine Beems, ATAT Communications Director, Marjorie LeClair,
Registered Nurse and Lt. Col. with the U.S. Army (retired), Robert
Kimball 'Kim' Combs, Executive Director ATAT, Richard Swanson and
Carla Swanson, who serves ATAT as Correspondence Director.
It's a task as thankless as the work
of Mother Teresa, and as scorned as the lepers she in humility served.
Advocating for 'sex offenders' can get you branded with the same
scarlet letter borne by those who commit the most heinous crimes. Yet
the facts, according to the wealth of experts in attendance at the
3rd Annual Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) National Conference, held August
12-14 in St. Louis. Missouri, are more shocking than Mr. & Mrs. John
Q. Public may realize.
of the strongest advocates for the reform of a criminal justice system
which, some say, has become completely out of touch with reality, Amy
Borror (pictured at right), Legislative & Media Liaison, Office
of the Ohio Public Defender, gave a detailed overview of the
ramifications and status of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety
Act, signed into law by President Bush on July 27, 2006.
Borror explained the far-reaching and
unintended ramifications of this legislation which had, she
summarized, turned the Ohio sex-offender interdiction system “on its
Resulting in legal challenges and
confusion nationwide, Borror strongly asserted that it is time for the
laws pertaining to
sex-offenders to be closely reviewed and substantively changed.
issue at the heart of the 'legalized injustice', according to Lloyd
Swartz, head of the New Mexico affiliate of the national RSOL
organization, is that former sex offenders who have paid their debt to
society, regained health and stability through therapeutic treatments
and are determined to be productive citizens, are prohibited from
doing so because of regulations that mandate segregation and
discrimination in housing and the workplace.
Brenda Jones and Paul Shannon, two of the organizers of
the national conference.
Still, Swartz emphasized, the overarching purpose and mission of his
organization and all those he is affiliated with is to “improve public
“Most lawmakers are well-intentioned and think they are promoting
community safety while in reality their bills are filled with
unintended consequences and based on faulty assumptions,” said Robert
'Kim' Combs, Executive Director of
Time After Time. As a member of the conference's opening panel
discussion, Combs addressed what have been described as 'draconian'
consequences for 96% of the people now mandated by law to be
classified as a sex-offender but who, according to statistics
published by the U. S. Department of Justice, are unlikely to ever
Director Robert 'Kim' Combs appeared with Tonia Maloney of the
Illnoise RSOL and other organizers on the opening panel discussion.
“If we can get factual information to our lawmakers, the press and the
general public, our communities will become safer since our law
enforcement resources can then concentrate on the truly dangerous
predators,” Combs, who was one of six Arkansans attending the
Gilmore (seated, center, at left), CEO of
Sex Offender Solutions and Education Network and author of “Consensual
Consequences: A true story of life with a registered sex offender,“
also serves as ATAT Lobbying Director and reflected on how remarkable
it felt to be immersed in such a large group of people who 'get it' (ie:
comprehend the complexity of the social and legal conundrum called
Gilmore said that seeing so many
people, from so many different walks of life, backgrounds and careers,
all together in one place discussing important legal and human-rights
issues “strengthened her hopes” for a just outcome for everyone.
Carla Swanson (seated, far right, above),
who serves ATAT as Correspondence Director, credited the conference
with delivering much excellent information and gave special kudos to
Missouri State Representative David Day who, according to Swanson,
“told it like it is” about how advocates should and must approach
legislators in order to get their concerns about this public policy
(standing, at right,
participating in a conference workshop) also announced that
Arkansas Time After Time will host a Meet & Greet 'open house' during
the group's October 16 meeting, scheduled for 2pm to 4pm in the West
Room on the first floor of the Little Rock Public Library. Swanson
encouraged all who have questions to attend, and to visit the group's
www.ArkansasTimeAfterTime.org to learn more about this complex
~ ~ ~
Scroll down for more conference
||Vicki Henry, at left, was
acknowledged by all who attended for her organizational and
conference coordination skill and efficiency.
|The ATAT Delegation at a
breakfast meeting, at right and below, being interviewed by Erin
Comartin, a Wayne (Michigan) University grad-student, pursuing her