Low-risk offenders' wives stand by their men

Wyoming legislation would do away with distinctions between low-risk and high-risk to list all offenders on Web site.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

In the rush to be tough on sex offenders, the Wyoming legislature has passed a bill to make sure that every offender is listed on the state's website - even those deemed low-risk, reports the Associated Press.

Under the current law, people convicted of aggravated sex offenses must participate in risk assessment hearings to determine whether they pose a low, medium or high risk of reoffense. Only those who are deemed "high risk" are listed on the Internet. Now the state House and Senate have passed legislation to do away with the risk distinctions.

"They've passed some good legislation this year banning open containers from vehicles, but they're also passing some real stinkers," Faith Wicks, wife of convicted sex offender Mike Wicks, said Wednesday.

Wicks' husband was deemed not a high-risk to reoffend and is currently not on the Internet database.

"I emailed every senator and representative and I didn't get a lot of responses," Wicks said. "I understand they need to listen to people in their constituencies, but maybe not all these people have as much of a stake in it."

Many legislators have been pushing for stricter registration measures as the current law that includes risk assessment is perceived as being inefficient.

"I think they're making a really big mistake," Gina Smith, wife of low-risk offender Gary Smith said. "If they categorize and publicize my husband, who is extremely low-risk, I think they're putting our children in danger and they're putting me in danger."

"Only time will tell. If anything does happen to any of us, the state is going to be hit with a huge lawsuit from me," Smith said. "I bet this bill will cause more offenders to be noncompliant with registration. I hope the governor thinks this through before he signs this."

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