Texas Voices for Reason and Justice held their annual state-wide conference on October 12-13, 2018 in Dallas, Texas and I was there to hear some great speakers, get informed, make some connections, and to report back to you!
The event was held in a very nice and spacious facility just minutes from downtown Dallas. It was easy to find, and had plenty of free parking. The front desk was manned by TVRJ volunteers who were both cheerful and very informative. Registration hour was a time for networking, browsing the donated silent auction items, and taking advantage of the vast array of food choices in the main hall.
The speakers were all very good. I was unable to attend every session, as some ran concurrently, but of the ones I attended, I was very impressed with:
Guy Hamilton-Smith, the Sex Offender Litigation and Policy Fellow at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, and a great advocate for registry reform. His presentations on “Turning Adversity into Advantage” and his National Litigation Update were impactful and enlightening.
Pault Rigney (MBA, PMP, AAMS), the Executive Director of the Registrant Travel Action Group, gave an extremely informative talk on International Megan’s Law and how it will affect any travel that you might want to do outside the United States.
Dr. Jennifer Klein (Ph.D.), Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at U.T. Tyler, spoke on her ongoing project to accurately assess the Economic Effects of Sex Offense Registration, and had a table set up with computer tablets in the lobby to conduct surveys on-site.
There were also informative workshops on civil commitment, re-entry, registry impacts on family members, sentencing, supervision, and de-registration. Every presentation seemed to be near-full of attendees, and yet no one was denied a seat or got turned away. Conference planners did a super job of executing their plan in this regard.
In summary, the Texas Voices annual conference seemed, at least to this attendee, a great success. The conference voluteers did a masterful job, the attendees were friendly and enthusiastic, and most (if not all) of the material presented throughout the two-day event was timely, useful, and fascinating. Kudos to Mary Sue Molnar, the Executive Director of TVRJ and her earnest cadre of volunteers for putting on a great event that I would highly recommend to anyone, whether you’re a Texas registrant or not.