PA Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws

New Freedom, PA |
Joined in January 2020

About Us

MISSION: PARSOL advocates for public safety measures that work for all Pennsylvanians: policy based on prevention, laws that respect our Constitution, and the dignity of all people.

PARSOL is a grassroots, all volunteer, non-profit organization committed to educating the public, our state legislators, attorneys, and judges about the ineffectiveness of Pennsylvania’s public registry system. We seek to promote policy that has been demonstrated through robust empirical evidence to be effective in promoting public safety and that is grounded in both the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions.

Studies show that public registration policies are failing in their stated goal of keeping people safe from sexual victimization. Pubic registries create a false sense of security that something is being done about the threat of sexual harm, but the evidence does not support this belief. Rates of sexual crimes have not decreased as registries have ballooned, and the isolation and stigmatization of those on the registry may actually increase their likelihood of reoffending. Further, this isolation and stigmatization negatively impaces families, including children, of those on the public registry.

It is the position of both PARSOL and the Supreme Court of PA that public registries are punitive in nature. They bear close resemblance to historical shaming practices and thereby violate the United States constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Importantly, Pennsylvania’s public registry also infringes upon the Right to Reputation as guaranteed in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

It is further the position of PARSOL that the laws passed by our state legislature have largely been aimed at punishing and isolating the individuals who have served their sentences and are trying to reintegrate into society. The problem with this approach is that these measures are reactive. The public health crisis of sexual abuse needs to have proactive answers that will help prevent harm from ever occurring in the first place.

The limited resources of the Commonwealth should be redirected away from the maintenance of ineffective policies such as public registration. Our efforts must instead focus on collaborative public health prevention measures that address individual, interpersonal, and environmental factors which impact the prevalence of sexual abuse.  

By supporting measures that have been demonstrated to prevent sexual harm, leaders in our community will exhibit that they are informed by facts, fiscally responsible, and prioritize public safety. When we can find this balance and enact rational sexual offense laws, we will achieve our common goal: A PA safe and just for all.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about PARSOL. We are a state affiliate of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL).

PARSOL wishes to change the conversation around sexual offense and abuse from REACTIVE to PROACTIVE. We can all agree that prevention of sexual abuse is a worthy goal.

A side effect of the misguided efforts of many states to protect the vulnerable are public sex offender registries. In PA, over 20,000 people are subject to the invasive and punitive requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). All of these people have family and friends, which multiplies the number of Pennsylvanians who are impacted by irrational sexual offense laws. The financial costs associated with public registries are enormous, and there is no evidence that they are effective.

As PA's version of SORNA undergoes Judicial review by the PA Supreme Court, we see an opportunity to start fresh with policy that is based on research. This "reset" will allow for stronger protections for vulnerable populations in PA and will restore the rights of those who are still being punished long after their sentences have been served.

Please note that PARSOL does not condone any form of non-consensual sex. People who commit sexual crimes should be prosecuted, and that procedure should be Constitutional, fair, and consistent with the legitimate best interests of all Pennsylvanians.

MISSION: PARSOL advocates for public safety measures that work for all Pennsylvanians: policy based on prevention, laws that respect our Constitution, and the dignity of all people.

PARSOL is a grassroots, all volunteer, non-profit…

Issue Areas Include

  • Crime & Safety
  • Human Rights & Civil Liberties
  • Policy
  • Sexual Abuse & Human Trafficking

Location & Contact

Join Idealist

Sign up today to save your favorite organizations and get email alerts when new ones are posted.