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News Scan

School: Transgender Student's Rights Trump Privacy:  Female students at a Colorado high school have been threatened with disciplinary action if they continue to voice their concerns over being harassed by a male student who is allowed to use female restrooms on campus based on the claim that he is transgendered.  The Daily Mail reports that school administrators told concerned parents that the girls' right to privacy is not as important as the boy's right to be transgendered, and that if the girls continue to complain they may be removed from athletic teams or punished with hate crime charges.  School officials have suggested that female students possibly give up some of their restrooms on campus in order to accommodate their transgendered classmate and alleviate tensions.   

OK to Execute Child Rapists?:  The Ohio legislator, John Becker, has introduced House Bill 244 which would permit the death penalty for repeat sexual offenders found guilty of aggravated rape, aggravated sexual battery, or aggravated unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.  The Youngstown News reports that while such a bill would receive the moral support of many Ohioans, it would likely be held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Other states which have adopted similar laws  have not utilized them or had them tested in court. 

Prisons Using Computer Algorithms for Parole Eligibility:  In an effort to cut costs at correctional facilities, prison parole boards in at least 15 states are turning to computerized risk assessments to weigh various factors and determine which inmates are most likely to commit new crimes while free on parole.  Jacob Kastrenakes of The Verge reports that the automated systems are showing signs of success - findings from 2011 point out a 3 percent decrease of re-incarcerated parolees since 2006.  The algorithms assess factors such as an inmate's age during their first arrest, fairness of their conviction, and level of education.

Legislation Targets Sex Offenders who Remove Tracking Devices: California's Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will prevent paroled sex offenders who remove their court-ordered tracking device from being eligible for early release from county jail.  The LA Times reports that offenders arrested for removing their GPS device will be sentenced to a mandatory 180-day sentence in county jail.  The legislation is aimed at deterring sex offenders from violating their terms of release.  Under the Governor's Realignment law, offenders were often released from jail less than 24 hours after removing their tracking-device. 

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