Saturday, December 20, 2008
Florida's prison population has topped 100,000 for the first time, making it only the third state in the United States to break into six digits - after California and Texas.
The Department of Corrections said yesterday the population hit 100,000 on Friday morning and by midnight was at 100,108, according to department computer records.
The state's overall population is 18 million.
At 100,000, Florida's prison population roughly equals incarcerating one out of every four residents of Miami, or almost all the citizens of Gainesville, home to the University of Florida.
California has approximately 170,000 prisoners and Texas has 155,000. Federal prisons combined house approximately 200,000 people.
Florida officials had been expecting the record number for some time. Prison numbers have ballooned as a result of strict sentencing for a range of crimes.
Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil told lawmakers that Florida will need to build 19 new prisons in the next five years to house inmates if nothing is done to slow prison growth.
He estimated the cost at US$1.9 billion, nearly equal to the department's current annual budget of approximately US$2 billion ($3.48 billion).
Nationwide 1.5 million people were in US prisons in 2005, according to the most recent statistics from the US Department of Justice.
Anytime information is made public, or saved in a database, their is always those who will abuse the information, as in this case, or all the vigilantes who use the registry to harass and harm sex offenders. Now, if you do not get down on your knees, and kiss people's butts, you could be put into their system for disobeying Big Brother!
By Matt Flener
Parent : Local school denies access on personality
AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Del Valle parent is filing a grievance with her school district, saying the system intended to track sex offenders was also flagging her for being rude to a staff member.
Jessica Rodriguez, a parent in the Del Valle Independent School District , said she went to school for her son's Christmas Party Thursday. To get in, she scanned her driver's license into the school's sex offender tracking system .
"They scanned my I.D. and told me I had a red flag on my I.D.," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the system red-flagged her by saying she was was rude to a staff member. It is a claim she denies.
"The system should be used for child molesters and drug dealers to keep them away from our kids, but not because you're rude," said Rodriguez. "It's not even true. It never happened."
The director of the Texas Civil Rights Project said he will write a letter to Del Valle's School Board next week regarding Rodriguez's case, saying the school violated her right to see her child.
"She's banned, she's on their banned list," said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project. "That's totally arbitrary and it's totally wrong." Harrington said schools should not track parents based on their personality.
"They don't pay any attention to the free speech rights of the parents and in fact they infringe upon them," said Harrington. "[They] make it more difficult for the parents and the children."
Celina Bley, a spokeswoman for Del Valle ISD, said the district will not comment on specific cases.
"Any parent who becomes violent or threatening will be banned due to the safety of the staff and students," said Bley.
- So then it's not a sex offender tracking system, now is it?
Bley said Del Valle ISD does not have a specific board policy that allows school staff to enter information into the system but said the school's RAPTOR system allows a manual override to input various information about parents. She also said there is not a specific time period a parent will remain in the system.
Rodriguez was able to pick her son up at Creedmoor Elementary school Friday but did not get past the office. As other parents left the school with their children for the holiday break, Rodriguez was left to reflect on what will happen when she comes back to school after the holidays are over.
"I shouldn't have to be banned from the school based on something I didn't do," Rodriguez said.
According to the company, Raptor's visitor management and screening technology system is working by helping thousands of schools and community facilities across the nation.
- So how does it protect against those who have not been caught yet?
"Raptor's V-soft is working just as it was designed by effectively and efficiently managing the data and alerts compiled by each individual campus," said Greg Goedeke, Vice President of Raptor Technologies, Inc. "Many schools across the nation use the Raptor system to keep record of any domestic dispute offenders such as custody disputes, restraining orders, and any other identified trespassers who may come in contact with students. Policies of the data management are left to the discretion of individual campuses."
- Of course the creators of the system will defend it, if they do not, they could lose a HUGE amount of money. The system should've been linked into the sex offender registries, and that is all. No other options to manually enter data. That leaves room for huge mistakes, or disgruntled employees to enter someone's name into the database, just to punish them for something.
By Julia M. Dendinger
The final ordinance of the year for Valencia County was unanimously approved Wednesday evening.
The county's new sex offender ordinance stipulates that registered sex offenders shall not newly occupy any real property, acquire any real property by lease or otherwise establish a place of lodging within 1,000 feet of a school.
The ordinance defines a school as a licensed or accredited public, private or religious school that offers instruction to students in preschool up to grade 12.
It will go into effect on Jan. 17. The ordinance is not retroactive and will not compel sex offenders currently living closer than 1,000 feet to a school to move after it takes effect.
It is the hope of the commission that this new ordinance will supplement and support the state's sex offender registration and notification act.
Det. Sgt. John Gordon, with the Valencia County Sheriff's Department, is the officer tasked with tracking and monitoring the registered sex offenders living in Valencia County.
Gordon said he has received several phone calls from people concerned about sex offenders living in close proximity to schools. "Prior to this, there was no ordinance that regulates that," he said. "It might be part of their probation, but once they have completed their sentence, we can't put restrictions on them."
There are some perceptual issues in the public about restrictions on sex offenders, Gordon said. "People will tell me an offender lives in their neighborhood and ask what they can do," he said. "Truth is, not a lot. They have done their time, and they are as free as everyone else."
Sex offenders moving to Valencia County are required to register with the sheriff's department within the state's stipulated 10 days, Gordon said.
"They have to notify us when they change jobs, residences or enroll in school," he said. "That's not to say that some of them don't try to hide. We keep track of them through this honor system or when someone turns them in."
Sex offenders must disclose their status to the county sheriff's department when they begin employment or a vocation, and also to the registrar of any institution of higher education in New Mexico where they enroll.
Offenders must also disclose their status in writing when enrolling as a student in a private or public school in New Mexico to the county sheriff where the school is located and to the principal of the school.
The act also stipulates that an offender must disclose his status as a sex offender in writing to his employer, supervisor or other person similarly situated, when he begins employment, begins a vocation or volunteers his services, regardless of whether the sex offender receives payment or other compensation.
If an offender's employment or educational enrollment status changes, he or she must again notify those same people in writing of the changes.
Other information provided to the state for its online sex offender database is a physical description of an offender including any tattoos or scars.
BY MAURICE POSSLEY
Went to prison after victim identified him in '87
There was a time when Marcus Lyons was so angry that no one would believe he had been wrongly convicted of a rape that he tried to nail himself to a cross on the front lawn of the DuPage County Courthouse.
That was 17 years ago, and Lyons has plenty of believers in his innocence now -- DNA exonerated him last year of the 1987 crime. And Friday, Gov. Blagojevich pardoned Lyons, who celebrated his 51st birthday last week.
The pardon means Lyons can seek state compensation of about $85,000, said his attorney, Jane Raley, of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Law School.
But money doesn't motivate Lyons, who lives in Gary and works at the United States Steel plant there. "This is not about the money," he said in an interview. "This is about restoring my reputation. My goal was to be a Navy officer, and that was taken away from me. They can never make it up to me."
Raley said, "His dignity was ripped from him -- he was labeled a sex offender."
The pardon not only allows Lyons to have his criminal case expunged, it also clears his record of misdemeanor charges that were brought as a result of his attempt to crucify himself in March 1991.
In 1987, Lyons was a 29-year-old Navy reservist living in an apartment complex in Woodridge. He was engaged to be married, working as a computer operator and taking courses at College of DuPage. After a woman was raped in the complex, she identified him as her attacker. He was convicted at trial and sentenced to six years in prison.
He was released in 1991 and attempted to crucify himself, earning a conviction for assaulting a police officer. He was placed on probation. In 2005, he sought DNA testing and was exonerated last year.
View the article here
A California sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty Friday to charges he falsely imprisoned prostitutes in order to sexually touch and photograph them under the guise of official police business, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Orange County Deputy Richard Rodriguez, 44, would approach loitering prostitutes -- while on duty, in uniform and driving a marked patrol car -- and tell them he had to "run" them in his system to determine their identities, according to the district attorney's office.
Once in his patrol car, he would drive them to the back of buildings in Garden Grove, Calif., and either touch or photograph them in various sexual positions and poses, threatening to arrest and jail them if they didn't comply.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty to two counts of false imprisonment by fraud or deceit and was sentenced to a year and four months in state prison.
- So what about being on the sex offender registry for life, and living with the punishment that goes along with it? This WAS a sex crime!
It wasn't immediatley clear whether Rodriguez still works for the county.
I don't agree with everything said here, but it's good to get an article about this rarely talked about issue. Yes, there is a double standard, and that needs to be changed. All are suppose to be given EQUAL justice, but that is not what we get. If you are a female, or rich and famous, or in government, you get a way with a lot, while the rest of society gets stricter punishment. Why?
By Contact Kaffie Sledge - email@example.com
Once upon a time, the sexual activities older women engaged in with adolescent boys may have be dismissed with a wink and a nod. Today we should know better.
But do we?
If recent headlines are any indication, some people still don’t get it.
Amid talk about Muscogee County teacher, _____, being investigated and arrested regarding allegations of inappropriate behavior with male high school students, a similar case happened to a Troup County middle school teacher.
_____, 45, is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old male student. She was also charged with enticing a child for indecent purposes. _____’s “relationship” with the student is alleged to have gone on for several months.
We can attempt to dress it up anyway we like, but women who involve themselves with young boys are sex offenders. They are child molesters. And their offenses represent about 10 percent of all sexual offenses.
‘What is the problem’
Such women initiate sexual activity, “taking advantage of boys who were sexually stimulated and flavoring their crime with a romantic tone,” Katherine Ramsland writes on trutv.com. “There was no violence involved, some of them say, and the boys were willing, so what is the problem?” she writes.
If a man said this about a girl the community believed to be a “good” girl, people would have no problem assigning him a cell on death row — before his trial. But there can be a double standard with boys.
Remember _____, the 25-year-old Florida teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old in the back seat of a car being driven by a 15-year-old? She is the blonde whose lawyer told the court she was too beautiful to go to a prison full of women. So she was sentenced to house arrest.
“People tend to think women can’t really sexually assault because they don’t have the proper anatomy, or they don’t have aggressive tendencies — sexual aggression,” said Susan Strickland, Ph.D., a certified sex offender treatment provider.
“Women molest, but they molest in a different way,” said Strickland, whose office is in Atlanta. “There is less use of force than with male offenders, and more use of coercion. These women come in all shapes and sizes. There is no profile.”
And female sex offenders use more intrusive levels of sexual behaviors than men. They are more likely than men to abuse strangers. And they are less likely than men to acknowledge guilt or to feel sorry or guilty, Strickland said.
Still in our culture most men grow up viewing molestation by an older woman as a conquest: It feels good and sounds good when it’s told to the other guys.