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Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Highly Recommended Book. Shaming the Constitution: The Detrimental Results of Sexual Violent Predator Legislation by Michael L. Perlin and Heather Ellis Cucolo


Yesterday I received a new book that I had pre-ordered back in January and I hope read it tomorrow.

But in the meantime I realized I never posted about a book I finished a few months back and it was really great. Shaming the Constitution: The Detrimental Results of Sexual Violent Predator Legislation by Michael L. Perlin and Heather Ellis Cucolo.  

It was not just about Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators and the Constitution but also about Sex Offender Laws, Restrictions and Registries and the Constitution. 

With zero data, zero evidence and NOT one peer-review study “Sex Offenders” in the United States have been stripped of:
·         Due Process
·         Ex post facto
·         Double Jeopardy
·         The Privilege of Self Incrimination
·         Patient-Therapist Confidentiality
·         In some States the right to a jury trial when being tried for SVP Commitment
·         In some States the right not to take the stand to testify in a SVP Commitment trial 

……AND what would be considered inadmissible hearsay in any U.S. criminal trial is admissible during an SVP Commitment trial if it can be claimed as pointing towards future dangerousness. 

I was so pleased with the contents of this book I have placed it in the #5 spot of my Top 19 Books on Sex Offender issues, I highly recommend it. 

Mary Devoy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why Doesn’t the VA-DOC Track the Recidivism Rate for Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders Under Probation Anymore?


I skipped last year’s update of this VA-DOC chart (separated into 2 charts for easy viewing, below) and only realized it today. 

Then newest data (June 30, 2017) won’t be available until late-summer or early autumn and I’ll need to add a 9th column at that point. 

These VA-DOC reports have a lot of data (Recidivism Rates, # of Residential Programs, and Sex Offenders with GPS Units) but I only chart the information I find useful as an advocate for a Smarter Sex Offender laws. 

But one point that I’ve raised before and I’m going to raise it again is this……….. 

From 2009 to 2012 the VA-DOC tracked the recidivism (re-offense) rate for VA’s Registered Sex Offenders (RSO). 

Not only was the VA RSO rate of re-offense very low, but the sexual re-offense was extremely low and overall the RSO rates were dropping each year. 

After it disappeared from the annual report I filed a FOIA in 2015 looking for the RSO re-offense rate for 2013 and 2014 and I was advised by VA-DOC they did not track that information.
 
WHY? They had tracked it.

 

VDBHDS November 2016 Report -Study of Alternatives to Secure Confinement for Sexually Violent Predator: An Analysis of Cost-Effective Alternative Methods of Treatment and Monitoring





Update: 
I’ve realized that I never posted this 2012 report http://leg2.state.va.us/dls/h&sdocs.nsf/fc86c2b17a1cf388852570f9006f1299/e2621da391e75a03852579f4006f046b/$FILE/HD16.pdf on Virginia SVP Protocols for Initial Screening (for civil commitment) and I think it tells an interesting story leading up to the below November 2016 report. 
 
Mary 
 
Original Post: 
For the last 2 weeks I’ve been checking for the 2016 Virginia Crime Report, but it has not been released yet. 
 
So I decided to look for some past Virginia Reports that I may have missed and one that I came across was from November 2016. 
 
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Study of Alternatives to Secure Confinement for Sexually Violent Predator:
An Analysis of Cost-Effective Alternative Methods of Treatment and Monitoring
It’s only 22 pages so won’t take long for those who are interested. 
 
I’m posting the link today because some of the blogs followers are treatment providers and some specialize in the Sexually Violent Predator category. 
 
Mary Devoy

 
 

 
 
 

Monday, June 19, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Sex Offender Social Media Ban - Packingham v. North Carolina


The 2nd US Supreme Court ruling that I’ve been waiting on for 2017 has been decided and it’s a great decision and the RIGHT decision!
 
But keep in mind, Face book is a private provider and they currently have a policy that bans ALL RSO’s. It doesn’t matter if the conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony or if it was 2 months ago or 20 years ago.

Facebook is legally allowed to prohibit service to who they select, just like Six Flags or YMCA’s ban ALL RSO’s.
 
So even with this U.S. Supreme Court decision remember in Virginia all nicknames and aliases plus all email addresses of RSO’s must be registered with the Virginia  State Police (or face a felony) and then the VSP-IT Department sends those names and addresses to Facebook and if Facebook finds a match they close the account. If that Facebook account was owned by a VA RSO who is under VA-DOC Probation supervision that RSO will face a Probation violation (a felony) if social media or Internet access was prohibited.
 
So while this is a real win for arbitrary crimes against RSO’s it does not mean Facebook is going to allow RSO’s to join or not close their account.
 
Mary Devoy
 
 

Supreme Court Says Sex Offenders Can't Be Banned From Social Media, June 20, 2017

Supreme Court Strikes Down Social Media Ban for Sex Offenders, June 20, 2017

Supreme Court Strikes Down Sex Offender Social Media Ban, June 19, 2017
Writing for the court on Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy said:
Ø      Even if one were to concede the importance of the state’s declare goal — to protect minors from sexual predators online — “the statute here enacts a prohibition unprecedented in the scope of First Amendment speech it burdens.”
Ø      “A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen, and then, after reflection, speak and listen once more,”
Ø      “By prohibiting sex offenders from using those websites, North Carolina with one broad stroke bars access to what for many are the principal sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment, speaking and listening in the modern public square, and otherwise exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge,”
Ø      “These websites can provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard. They allow a person with an Internet connection to ‘become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox.’”

Supreme Court rules NC law banning sex offenders from social networking sites unconstitutional, June 19, 2017
Justice Samuel Alito  wrote:
Ø      He agreed with Kennedy's opinion for the high court because of the North Carolina law's "extraordinary breadth," but Alito refused to join Kennedy's opinion because of its "undisciplined dicta."
Ø      "The Court is unable to resist musings that seem to equate the entirety of the internet with public streets and parks," Alito wrote in the concurring opinion. "And this language is bound to be interpreted by some to mean that the States are largely powerless to restrict even the most dangerous sexual predators from visiting any internet sites, including, for example, teenage dating sites and sites designed to permit minors to discuss personal problems with their peers. I am troubled by the implications of the Court's unnecessary rhetoric."
Ø      Alito's concurring opinion continues to blast Kennedy's decision for its "loose rhetoric" and wrote the Supreme Court ought to be "more attentive" to how its language regarding the differences between cybserpace and the physical world.
Ø      "The Court is correct that we should be cautious in applying our free speech precedents to the internet,"
Ø       "It is regrettable that the Court has not heeded its own admonition of caution."

Supreme Court says sex offenders can access social media, June 19, 2017

Supreme Court gives Internet broad new protections, June 19, 2017

Opinion analysis: Court invalidates ban on social media for sex offenders, June 19, 2017

SCOTUS Unanimously Rejects Law Banning Sex Offenders From Social Media, June 19, 2017
The justices say the law's "unprecedented" and "staggering" scope violates the First Amendment.

Supreme Court strikes down law banning use of Facebook by registered sex offenders, June 19, 2017

Supreme Court says even sex offenders get to use Facebook, June 19, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry Quietly Adds New Search Criteria in 2017 After July 2016 FOIA Inquiry


Almost 3 weeks ago my husbands new VSP Trooper stopped by for one of the two (per VA law) unannounced VSP Residency checks. His original VSP Trooper was promoted and we were assigned another Trooper instead of a VSP Compliance Officer. I personally believe he’s assigned Troopers instead of CO’s because of my public advocacy, but maybe not.

Anyway, I could tell the Trooper was holding back on asking me or rather telling me something so I invited him inside our house instead of the typical 2-minute simple chit-chat on the front porch. 

During the 10 maybe 15 minute conversation about my advocacy, legislative proposals and yearly battles/barriers with VSP Legislative Liaisons/Representatives at the VA GA sessions the Trooper made some key comments that I’ve decided he was instructed to say to me. He also seemed to have established a belief that nothing I’ve asked for over the years is reasonable or will ever be accomplished.  

This post is about one of the points I discussed with the Trooper.
 

Action Item! An Unexpected $1.9 Million for Clean up of Virginia State Police Malware Attack Should be Wake Call to Modernize VSP SO Registry and Registration Processes


This article is from Thursday and I hadn’t planned on posting it since I had twice tweeted it.


 

FYI, since publishing the article title has been changed to Tough choices for DMV - raise fees, shift money, or make cuts? 

So in summary because of the malware attack on the Virginia State Police website back in April, an unexpected $1.9 Million has been spent AND the VSP “network will have to be completely rebuilt”. 

I’ve made proposals over the last few years to both VSP Leadership and Virginia Legislators to not only modernize the VSP registration process for Virginia’s 22,000+ Registered Sex Offenders but how to cut half-a-million-dollars per year from the annual $8.2 Million cost of VSP Registry operation, registration, monitoring and management. 

Here are the proposals I’ve made to improve/streamline the VSP Registry:
Ø       Legislative Goal #2 - VA Code v. Hours of Operation for RSO’s to Comply are at Odds goo.gl/64BAk6
Ø       Legislative Goal #3 - Implement a 4 Tier/Level Risk-Based Classification System goo.gl/qYqGRv
Ø       Legislative Goal #8 - Eliminate the USPS Certified letters for VSP Re-Registration and Implement a Repeating/Rotating Schedule goo.gl/kCJhI2
Ø       Legislative Goal #9 - Modernize the Virginia State Police Registration Process and Track/Share the Data that the VSP gathers every year goo.gl/M6oM98 

Please contact your one Virginia Delegate and you one Senator THIS week and ask them to sponsor one or more of these proposals as legislation (a Bill) for the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session.

Thank you. 

Mary Davye Devoy

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Virginia June 13th Primary Results + Filed List of Candidates for Governor, Attorney General and 100 House Seats for November 7 2017 Election


It’s an election year in Virginia, for:
·        Governor
·        Lieutenant Governor
·        Attorney General
·        All 100 VA House seats
·        Many (but not all) Counties/Cities (see county/city charter for election years)
Ø      Commonwealth’s Attorney (Prosecutor)
Ø      City Council
Ø      Board of Supervisors
Ø      Sherriff
Ø      Commissioner of the Revenue
Ø      Treasurer 

But not for:
·        All 40 VA Senate seats
·        All 13 Federal U.S. Congressional seats
·        Both Federal U.S. Senate seats 

The legislation that Virginia’s 100 Delegates propose and vote on and that the Governor signs, amends or vetos plays a much larger part in your life than what is going on in Washington, D.C. 

Virginia’s House (every 2 years), Senate (every 4 years) and Governor (every 4 years) races are extremely important! 

Plus Commonwealth Attorney’s (every 4 years) many who run unopposed every election cycle. 

Per the VA Board of Elections website http://www.elections.virginia.gov/voter-outreach/upcoming-elections.html the deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration for this November’s election is Monday, October 16, 2017. Deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you for November’s election is 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Your request must be received by your Registrar by 5:00 p.m.  

Two days ago was Primary Day so now we know who most (if not all) of the candidates for this year’s election will be on November 7, 2017. Except the Virginia Board of Elections website doesn’t post the full list of candidates until late-summer.  And VPAP.org’s list doesn’t easily link to the candidates websites you have to leave the page and many times they don’t have the candidate’s website. Plus if a Legislator is retiring and there are 2 new candidates you have no idea who previously held that seat. 

So I have compiled a list of all the current candidates and their websites. 

There are 2 parts to this post. 

Part 1 is Virginia Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. 

Part 2 is all 100 Virginia House seats.
 

I 

2017 Virginia Governor Candidates:
1. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam       D         http://ralphnortham.com
2. Ed Gillespie                             R         https://edforvirginia.com
3. Cliff Hyra                                 L          http://cliffhyra.com

2017 Virginia Lieutenant Governor Candidates:
1. Justin Fairfax                           D         http://www.fairfaxforlg.com
2. Senator Jill Vogel                    R         https://www.vogelforvirginia.com  In 9 years Senator Vogel has never sat down w/ Mary Davye Devoy to discuss VA Sex Offender issues even though requests have been made.
3. Bobby Junes                            I          no website as 06/15/17
 

2017 Virginia Attorney General Candidates:
1. Att. Gen. Mark Herring                       D         https://herringforag.com  VA OAG under Herring has declined two AG Opinion submissions that would have clarified a question most RSO’s in VA have, April 22, 2016 http://goo.gl/Zu1p9e , May 25, 2016 http://goo.gl/LfbSEU and June 7, 2016 http://goo.gl/y7tfbq
2. John Adams                            R         http://www.johnadamsforva.com
 
II

Every two years Virginias 100 Delegates /House seats run for re-election. 

Do you know what District  you reside in? 

To find our what District you live in just enter your home address at this link, http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/  it will tell you your House District #, who is your current State Delegate, plus you Senate District #, your current State Senator (not up for re-reelection until 2019) as well as your one Congress member (re-election in 2018). 

For 2017:
Ø      7 of the 100 VA House seats have NO incumbent.
Ø      34 out of the 100 VA House seats have Incumbent Candidates running unopposed (compared to 2015 when it was 56 out of the 100). So 34% of the Virginia House is already decided for the next 2 years.
Ø      7 of the 100 VA House seats have no Major Party opponent for the Incumbent, just a Third Party Candidate.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

May 2017, 50 States Per Capita for Registered Sex Offenders. Oregon Remains at #1, Illinois Jumped Up 14 Spots to #26, Ohio Plummeted 21 Spots to #47 and Virginia Sits at #23, Tied with Idaho.


As I posted yesterday the NCMEC May 2017 Map is online. 

I have now updated my Per Capita Chart that I originally created during the 2016 Virginia General Assembly session per the request of a Virginia Delegate. 

NCMEC gives the 100,000 per capita numbers but that really doesn’t mean much to most folks, they need something a bit more tangible. So I took the idea from my Virginia State Police Registry Growth chart where I calculate 1 out of every Adult Male in the State. 

Now, not every Registered Sex Offender is a Male, in Virginia approximately 5% of the VSP Registry is female. 

Also not every Registered Sex Offender is an adult; there are juveniles in many States who are Registered Sex Offenders. Plus there are States with Private Registries and NCMEC doesn’t note anywhere on their map if their RSO count includes juveniles or private registries. Also NCMEC claims their Registered Sex Offender count does NOT include incarcerated Registered Sex Offenders, but when you compare their count for Virginia and the Virginia State Polices count they are very close which means NCMEC”s count for VA IS including incarcerated RSO’s.  

So this Per Capita Chart (see below) for May 2017 is as good as the NCMEC data. 

Here are the most notable changes and similarities within the newest versus last Decembers per capita chart:
 

Monday, June 5, 2017

May 2017 U.S. Sex Offender Map from National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is Now Online. They Say There are 861,837 Registered Sex Offenders in the 50 States and 5 U.S. Territories.


Note- I can email my full spreadsheet (May 2005 to May 2017) to anyone who is interested, it’s just too wide to post on this blog as an image and attachments can not be loaded onto a blog. 

06/06/17- The original spreadsheet/chart below was missing the column of State names, I have corrected that error. -Mary

 
Every May/June and then again in December I begin checking the NCMEC website for their latest "Sex Offender" count because the number they claim is the ONLY source for a total number of Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S.. The NCMEC RSO count is THE go-to for media, Politicians, Researchers and Victim’s Groups.  

Today I found their latest map for May 24, 2017: http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/Sex_Offenders_Map.pdf 

Once NCMEC posts the newest map their previous count disappears from the Internet and since they don’t archive their counts for the public I started a chart years back to chart their numbers from May 2005 to the present. 

So today I took their latest counts and I updated my spreadsheet (see below). 

Next I’ll update my per capita chart based on NCMEC’s counts and do a second post tomorrow.

There will always be an ebb-and-flow to the U.S. RSO population growth, those who move to another state, those who die, new crimes being implemented in States, Court rulings that add or remove people, Court petitions for removal being granted, etc.   

But as followers have noted over the years (here, here, here, here, here, here) I have serious doubts about NCMEC’s data being accurate. 

Why should we even care? 

Because NCMEC is the ONLY source of this data for reporters, researchers, politicians and victims groups and until the U.S. Department of Justice requires every States Attorney General to be the reporter of this information we are dependent on a non-profit. 

Here are a few examples of the issues I’ve noticed with NCMEC’s latest Map: 

  • Arizona did NOT add one additional RSO since December 2016.
  • California claims more than 12% of Americas RSO population but yet only 6 additional RSO’s were added from December 2016 to May 2017.
  • Illinois count was 23,921 last December but as of May 2017 NCMEC claims 32,546 bumping Illinois from 2.78% of Americas RSO population to 3.78% in just 5 months.
  • In contrast we have Ohio. Ohio’s count was 29,860 last December but as of May 2017 NCMEC claims 18,424, dropping Ohio from 3.47% of Americas RSO population to 2.14% in just 5 months. Where did 11,436 Ohio RSO’s go?
  • And Massachusetts has NOT added ONE additional RSO in 3 years according to NCMEC. In June 2014, December 2014, June 2015, December 2015, June 2016, December 2016 and now May 2017 NCMEC claims Massachusetts’s has exactly 11,399 RSO’s. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Downloading a Nightmare: When Autism, Child Pornography and the Courts Collide - By Anat Rubin


Downloading a Nightmare
When autism, child pornography and the courts collide.

 

The Raid 

Just two hours before the SWAT team surrounded their home on a quiet Midwestern suburban street, Joseph’s parents were sitting together at church, saying thanks for the immense progress their autistic son had recently made. After decades of struggling with a debilitating developmental disability, Joseph—we’re using his middle name to protect his privacy—was beginning to find his place in the world. At 25, he had a full-time job and was getting ready to move out on his own. 

The details of that Tuesday evening in 2012—where they sat in the empty church, the light through the stained glass windows—might have been lost in the usual blur of memories if not for the fact that they represent, for Joseph’s parents, the last moments of their life before. And everything for the family is now divided into before and after—two distinct worlds separated by armed men banging on the front door. 

“They showed up at about 8 o’clock and by 8:10 we were all in handcuffs,” said Joseph’s dad. “Camouflage, bulletproof vests, helmets, assaults pistols. It was a military operation—there’s no other way to describe it.” 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

HR1761: Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017 - Passed thru Congress 368 to 51 Last Week. It subjects Teen Sexters to 15-Years in Federal Prison and was requested by the US Department of Justice

Rep. Johnson is so proud of this Bill, this is what he has on his Home page

I have been tracking this Bill, it’s been listed on the right side of the Home page for weeks now. And I’ve Tweeted to the Sponsor and about it both before and after it passed Congress last week. 

Now today Elizabeth Nolan over at Reason.com has written an article about it which I’m posting at the very bottom. 

HR1761: Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017 

Sponsor: Mike Johnson [R-LA], who per the below article quoted scripture to push this poorly written Bill through the U.S. House.  

Something I've learned over the last 9 years of advocacy. Anytime a Legislator claims a Bill is "common sense", or "if it saves one child it's worth it" OR they quote scripture when selling the proposal, it's time to look for and then point out the collateral consequences because I guarantee there are some doozy's buried in it.

Co-Sponsors:
·                       Poe, Ted [R-TX2] (joined Apr 12, 2017)
·                       Biggs, Andy [R-AZ5] (joined Apr 26, 2017)
·                       Scalise, Steve [R-LA1] (joined Apr 26, 2017)
·                       Sessions, Pete [R-TX32] (joined May 19, 2017)
·                       Roe, David “Phil” [R-TN1] (joined May 22, 2017)
·                       Tenney, Claudia [R-NY22] (joined May 22, 2017)  

On May 25th Congress voted on HR1761 and it passed 368 to 51. 

Of Virginia’s 11 House Representatives, only three voted against it. That took courage.
·                       Donald McEachin
·                       Bobby Scott
·                       Donald Beyer 

To see how your Representative voted go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/115-2017/h284. And if you are on Twitter or Facebook, take a minute this week and let your one Representative know that you are either pleased with their ‘nay’ vote OR deeply disappointed with their ‘yea’ vote. 

U.S. Congress members from Virginia:
1-   Donald Beyer                     D         8th District               202-225-4376       1119 Longworth House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/RepDonBeyer/
·              https://twitter.com/RepDonBeyer
2-   Dave Brat                            R         7th District        202-225-2815       1628 Longworth House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/davebratforcongress
·              https://twitter.com/DaveBratVA7th
3-   Barbara Comstock           R         10th District 202-225-5136       229 Cannon House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/RepBarbaraComstock
·              https://twitter.com/BarbaraComstock
4-   Gerry Connolly      D         11 th District 202-225-1492   2238 Rayburn House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://twitter.com/GerryConnolly
5-   Bob Goodlatte                   R         6th District   202-225-5431 2309 Rayburn House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/BobGoodlatte
·              https://twitter.com/RepGoodlatte
6-   Morgan Griffith     R         9th District   202-225-3861    2202 Rayburn House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/RepMorganGriffith
·              https://twitter.com/RepMGriffith
7-   Tom Garrett                       R         5th District   202-225-4711  415 Cannon House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
8-   Donald McEachin             D         4th District   202-225-6365            314 Cannon House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/donaldmceachinva/
·              https://twitter.com/RepMcEachin
9-   Bobby Scott                        D         3rd District   202-225-8351 1201 Longworth House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/RepBobbyScott
·              https://twitter.com/bobbyscott
10- Scott Taylor                        R         2nd District   202-225-4215 412 Cannon House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/scotttaylorvirginia
·              https://twitter.com/Scotttaylorva   
11- Robert Wittman                R         1st District    202-225-4261     2055 Rayburn House Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515
·              https://www.facebook.com/RepRobWittman/
·              https://twitter.com/robwittman?lang=en

HR1761 now heads to the U.S. Senate. 

Please contact both of Virginia’s Senators this week. Either through their website form or via phone call and ask them to vote ‘nay’ on HR1761 when it comes up for a vote in the Senate. 

U.S. Senators from Virginia:
1- Mark Warner          D         202-224-2023     475 Russell Senate Bldg Washington, D.C. 20510
·              https://www.facebook.com/MarkRWarner
·              https://twitter.com/MarkWarner

2- Tim Kaine                D         202-224-4024     231 Russell Senate Bldg Washington, D.C. 20510
·              https://www.facebook.com/SenatorKaine
·              https://twitter.com/timkaine

 
Thank you. 

Mary Davye Devoy



House Overwhelmingly Supports Bill Subjecting Teen Sexters to 15-Years in Federal Prison
The bill was requested by the Department of Justice after federal prosecutors bungled a child exploitation case
 

Teens who text each other explicit images could be subject to 15 years in federal prison under a new bill that just passed the House of Representatives. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, has called the measure "deadly and counterproductive." 

"While the bill is well intended, it is overbroad in scope and will punish the very people it indicates it is designed to protect: our children," Lee said during a House floor debate over the bill. The bill would also raise "new constitutional concerns" and "exacerbate overwhelming concerns with the unfair and unjust mandatory minimum sentencing that contributes to the overcriminalization of juveniles and mass incarceration generally." 

Introduced by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) in March, the "Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017" passed the House by an overwhelming majority last week. Only two Republicans—Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky—voted against the bill, along with 53 Democrats. Most of the opposition centered on the bill's effective expansion of mandatory-minimum prison sentences. 

One vocal opponent was Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), who called the legislation "particularly appalling" because it would "apply to people who I think we should all agree should not be subject" to long mandatory minimums. "Under this law, teenagers who engage in consensual conduct and send photos of a sexual nature to their friends or even to each other may be prosecuted and the judge must sentence them to at least 15 years in prison," said Scott on the House floor.
 

What's more, "the law explicitly states that the mandatory minimums will apply equally to an attempt or a conspiracy," Scott noted: