Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The train wreck continues in Rhode Island

Byron Deweldon is not the poster boy for one-trial learning. He has several sexual assault convictions behind him and was civilly committed for eight years.

But he was released from civil commitment last year. That means that he was found no longer to be at a dangerous risk of re-offending. He could live in the community, monitored, as a registered offender.

And that is exactly what he did for almost a year. He settled down in a home with his mother in Warwick, Rhode Island. He lived quietly and with no further arrests. He was monitored by the authorities in Warwick and was on his way to becoming a slow learner who finally got it.

Then the Rhode Island Legislature, driven largely by one legislator who was angered when a registrant moved a few blocks from him, passed legislation increasing the residency restriction “buffer zone” around schools from 300 to 1,000 feet for the higher-level registrants. This encompassed the home occupied by Mr. Deweldon and his mother.

According to Deweldon, he was notified of this change and his imperative to find another place to live on September 17.  The next day he left home.

He traveled. He went to California, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine and Pennsylvania. He did not register in any of the states he visited for brief periods although the states required him to do so. Meanwhile, during a routine compliance check at his home in Rhode Island, his mother told the officers that he was traveling.

Deweldon then talked with the Warwick authorities and returned to Warwick where he was immediately arrested and is being held on warrants of failure to register in violation of SORNA.

He will most likely go back to prison—not for committing a sexual re-offense, not for stealing or assaulting or murdering, but for committing a crime that didn’t exist a few years ago, the crime of failure to register. Instead of continuing to live peacefully in his home with his mother, he will now again most likely be back in the Rhode Island prison system for a non-violent crime and because of a retroactively applied law that gave him no choice but to leave his home and go somewhere else.

This is the beginning. Numerous other registrants across Rhode Island, those that have stayed in their homes up to this point, will in a few days face either arrest or homelessness. The ACLU is fighting this. RSOL is fighting this. This cruel and retroactive piece of legislation was passed with no support from anyone except the Rhode Island legislators and the president of a union representing the correction officers who work in the Rhode Island prison system. Much evidence was presented against it, including expert testimony that these restrictions do only harm and do not provide a public safety benefit, but it passed anyway.

Byron Deweldon knows where he will be residing for the immediate—and most likely beyond—future. Sadly, other registered citizens in Rhode Island do not.


  1. Thanks for noting (other reports neglected to mention it) that this legislator didn't give a damn about protecting schools until one of the "unclean" moved into HIS neighborhood. I' m sure he's a hero in the neighborhood now.

  2. Legislation and the correction's union work hand and hand . When state and government jobs are at stake beware of poltical corruption . One can not depend on the constitution that has been shattered from our heads of state and our commandor and chief with complete disreguard of the constitution . Is this something new ? Or the real reason excistance is for the borderline procreation and mas population financed by working americans for our own dimize , and the fall of american values and responsibilities . If so ; why does'nt shiria law belong where it comes from .
    I often wonder with such a low recidivisim rate why all these retro laws -state by state and now global, will this unite the world , or divide it even more ?
    Nonsense . Small talk - small response - real talk - real response . No money no home . No money no food . But the people on the registry are worth more alive than dead, so why did the legal system, the DOCJ and psycological departments lie ? TAXABLE FUNDING ! Retirements with no guilt and moved on . The service's are not funded any more, so what did they learn to protect the children of the future ? Nothing ! just the text book of many years past . Not the unjust pre un-controled technology of computer porn to children that had no protection from day one, along with the ignorance of parenting in the turn of the century and the set up of law inforcment's sting using this as pro-policeing ? The departments and officers should be held responsible - fined , serve time or fired . ALL FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHLIDREN .
    Saw something - said something .

  3. The train wreck in RI has been put on hold till January for further review . Over reaction from legislation is in the lead with possible grounds of prejuduce and bias .
    The american public accross the nation could'nt be more empathetic, but with the rise of deaths with illegal fire arms and gang violence, the legislator should feel more at ease it's only a delayed sex offender distance restriction .

  4. If I understand your last sentence correctly, I gotta ask--what do illegal fire arms deaths and gang violence have to do with former sex offenders?

    1. No life time registry, no distance restrictions of schools . The most upsetting crime's committed at schools were committed by teacher's , and violent attacts with firearms from students not former ex- offenders of time served .
      I can understand the legislators concern, most are paid very well for part time positions, and can only imagine does not live in a low income neighborhood where they direct people for help housing payed by the tax payers and house flipper scams the banks can't even find them. But the gangs take over - shoot out street lamps for dealing and prostitution, and the public is afraid to say or do anything . This is where legislators imagery should focus on the succsess of the programs that the public has paid for . Not the projection of fear for more votes .
      Thanks shelomith, and undrestand if the comment is redacted .
      With justice for all says it all .


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