Panel Discussion of the Michigan Sex Offender Registry

Date & time

Jan 16, 2012, 1:00-3:00 pm EST

Free and open to the public.

Over 45,000 people are listed on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. In 2010 Michigan ranked third in the nation for the highest number of registered sex offenders per population. The Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) presents a panel of experts who will speak and then lead a discussion on this difficult, painful, and very complicated subject.

Jessica Ashmore is a Michigan Probation Officer who works in the juvenile courts with sex offenders, and will provide a perspective on the effects the sex offender registry has on juvenile offenders and their communities.

Miriam Aukerman joined the ACLU of Michigan in December 2010 as the staff attorney for the newly-opened West Michigan Regional Office. Miriam has litigated numerous high impact cases challenging the legal barriers preventing individuals with criminal records from obtaining housing, employment and education. She also spearheaded a multifaceted statewide campaign to achieve systemic reform on reentry issues.

Sharon Brett is a third-year law student at the University of Michigan Law School. She previously served as a student attorney in the Michigan General Clinical Law Program, working to challenge overly restrictive parole conditions for sex offenders in Michigan. Her recently published law journal article focused on the constitutionality these conditions and how some of them may increase, rather than decrease, recidivism.

JJ Prescott is a professor of law here at the University of Michigan. His research interests include criminal law, sentencing law and reform, and employment law. Current projects include an examination of the effects of sex offender registration and notification laws on the frequency and incidence of sex crimes, and an empirical evaluation of the effects of prosecutor race and sex on charging and sentencing outcomes.

Martin Whitkin is an attorney from Massachusetts and was the legal advisor for the creation of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry in the 1990s.Early in his career he worked within Massachusetts prisons, and presents a complex view about the creation of sex offender registries, and the decisions involved in creating the registry.

The panel will also feature a formerly incarcerated individual who is listed on the sex offender registry. He will share his experiences and perspective and the challenges he perceives in creating an effective registry.

Two survivors of sexual offense will also speak on the panel, each sharing her experiences and attitudes towards the registry.

Sponsored by: Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Hillel University of Michigan, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, School of Social Work, and Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives.