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Even those in need tend to shy away from accepting ATAT's help.Several of the people in law enforcement and sex offender assessment we talked to are openly skeptical of Combs and his motives, which is perfectly understandable given what brought him to Arkansas in the first place.Of those listed offenders, 2,067 were not yet assessed (mostly inmates, who are required to register on their way into prison if convicted of a sexual offense, but aren't formally classified until they get out).Another 1,084 were Level 1 "low risk" sex offenders.He admits it isn't easy to be a sex offender advocate."It's like being an advocate for Ebola," he said, without a hint of a smile.At ATAT's January meeting, the group mostly talked about the things that concern all of us at a very basic level: jobs, housing and safety."Jay," a sex offender at the meeting who didn't want to use his real name, said that the group has helped him overcome a feeling of being isolated.
For example: Because Arkansas is required to enforce the sex offender restrictions placed by other states on offenders who relocate here, there were a number of female prostitutes from Louisiana — where prostitution is a registry-level offense — on the Arkansas registry a few years back, evacuees from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.The group was started by Little Rock's Robert Combs, who understands what it is to live as a sex offender because he is one.It's impossible to sugar-coat what Combs did to earn his spot on the registry.Still, Combs insists that the group wasn't created to try and weaken the sex offender laws or somehow make it easier for offenders to commit sex crimes.Arkansas Time After Time wants, Combs said, many of the same things people in law enforcement want: for sex offenders to get the support they need to help them reintegrate into society and never re-offend.