Saturday, January 9, 2010

MD - Lawmakers To Debate Tougher Laws For Sex Offenders

Original Article

As expected, the usual knee-jerk reaction to a horrific crime, punish all sex offenders more for the crimes of a few. So when are we going to treat all criminals as serial killers, since a couple are indeed serial killers?

01/09/2010

SALISBURY - Maryland lawmakers will debate tougher laws for child sex offenders when the General Assembly session opens Wednesday.

Suzanne Collins reports it comes as a result of the abudction and murder of an 11-year-old girl on the Eastern Shore.
- That is my point.  Do we punish all other criminals because some other criminal committed multiple crimes?  No, so why are we punishing all other sex offenders for the crime of one person? Punish the sole person who committed the crime, not all offenders.

The man charged in the abduction of _____ had already sexually abused one child and raped another. Now lawmakers want to know what they can do to change the law to prevent a case like this.
- You can do NOTHING to prevent future crimes.  If a person is intent on committing a crime, they will.  Hell, history has proven that in any other situation, yet when it comes to sex offenders, all common sense is thrown out the door and people are blinded.  Plus, this man was a KNOWN sex offender, and did the registry or any of the laws prevent it?  Nope, and it never will.

_____'s body was found days after being taken from her bed in the night. The man charged, _____, had dated the girl's aunt who was her guardian.

_____ had been convicted twice in the past with sexual child abuse.
- So lock him up for life!

"If we lose one child to murder, that's one child too many in our state. Whenever these things happen, it inspires all of us to ask one another what can we do, what additional things can we do to safeguard lives of our children," said Governor Martin O'Malley (Contact).
- Nobody wants a child or anybody to be killed, but nothing you do can prevent it.  You just want to "look good" to the people, and protect your career as a "savior of children," IMO.

The governor says he thinks lawmakers will debate a slew of bills after the horrible crime hoping to prevent something similar in the future.
- Hell, pass one million laws, it still won't prevent anything.

"I'm sure we will revisit the notion of periods of civil commitment after criminal sentences are completed," said O'Malley.
- Why not, if they are so dangerous, leave them in prison?  Civil commitment is just a waste of tax payer dollars, and I'm sure no tax payer would want to know they are spending their hard earned money for this.

Right now when a child sex offender serves his full sentence, the state can do no more. But there is talk that civil laws could be used to commit a person who can be proven still dangerous to children to a mental health facility.
- That is how it has always been, it's called ex post facto laws, which are forbidden by the constitution, but this proves to the people, the constitution is not worth the paper and ink it's written with, so why have it? And is this actually a "mental health" facility or a place to send them (concentration camp) to punish them further after their sentence, thus violating the ex post facto clause?

The head of a non-profit that advocates against child sex abuse says laws are important but alert family members who also educate their children are the best protection.

"To explain, strangers are not the biggest danger, that often times we know that people who know the children pose the greatest risk to them," said Pat Cronin.
- As in this case, this man knew this child and family, and they knew he was a sex offender, and did it stop anything?  No, and it never will.

Two years ago, Maryland passed Jessica's Law which requires 25-year sentences for child sex abusers, but the sponsor says inmates get good time credits in prison, also known as diminution, and they get out early anyway.

"Diminution credits is another good idea. I'd be willing to sign a bill like that, but that wouldn't have prevented this case from happening sadly," said O'Malley.
- Neither would more laws!  We should be working on prevention and education, but, you want to keep the prison business raking in the cash, so you just pass more insane, unconstitutional laws to keep the business running.

Civil commitment of sex offenders in a mental facility after they've serve time is costly -- about four times as much as housing an inmate -- because treatement is required.
- And to this date, I know of no sex offender who has been released from civil commitment, so this is basically another money making scheme, IMO.  It's a modern day concentration camp. Treat them in prison, but if they have done their time, then they have done their time.  If we can get a way with punishing someone, after the fact, then who is next?  Are we going to go back and repunish all the other criminals as well?  If not, why not?  Fair is fair, right?

The supreme court has upheld civil commitment of sex offenders in other states.

Video Link


First Circuit upholds civil commitment of sex offenders

Original Article

01/09/2010

By Andrew Morgan

[JURIST] A three judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] on Friday upheld [opinion text] the constitutionality of provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act [18 USC § 4248 text], which allow a person deemed "sexually dangerous" to be civilly committed after the expiration of a federal criminal sentence. Two members of the panel found that civil commitments were within the power granted to Congress under the Constitution's Necessary and Proper Clause [Article 1, Section 8] as an extension of the government's custodial responsibility for federal inmates. Likening the commitment of sex offenders to the continued hospitalization of an inmate suffering from a mental disease or defect under section 4246 [18 USC § 4246 text], the court ruled that the Supreme Court's decision in Greenwood v. United States [opinion text] recognizing federal authority to order civil commitments extends to sex offenders.

The exercise of a federal commitment power embodied in section 4248 operates to prevent the release into society at large of sexually dangerous persons as to whom the federal government has custodial responsibilities. Because that exercise is limited to cases in which the federal government has a custodial duty, and because the federal scheme respects state prerogatives in the field of civil commitment, we conclude that it is consistent with both the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

The court also noted that the federal government must defer to state authorities when seeking civil commitment, and therefore § 4248 operates only as a "gap-filler in situations in which states either cannot or do not wish to assume responsibility for sexually dangerous persons in federal custody."

In June, the US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [JURIST report] in United States v. Comstock [docket], a Fourth Circuit case that struck down [JURIST report] the Walsh Act's civil commitment provisions under the Commerce Clause [text]. In September 2007, the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina [official website] ruled that the commitment process was unconstitutional [JURIST report] on federalism grounds. In 1997, the Supreme Court in Kansas v. Hendricks [text] upheld the constitutionality of a state civil commitment process that allowed the state to confine, in a state mental hospital, sexually violent criminal offenders because the confinement was civil in nature and thus did not involve criminal punishment.


SD - Survey: State lawmakers support sex registry changes

Original Article

01/08/2010

By Chet Brokaw

PIERRE -- Many state lawmakers support a plan to change South Dakota's registry of sex offenders so those convicted of less severe crimes get a chance to get their names removed from the list, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

Nearly two-thirds of the legislators responding to the survey said they would support the measure, which was written by a legislative study panel.

House Republican Leader Bob Faehn (Contact) of Watertown said he expects the bill to pass because lawmakers have noted for many years that it's unfair to treat those convicted of less serious crimes the same as those convicted of rape and other more serious crimes. He said both kinds of convicts appear side-by-side on the current registry of sex offenders, which is posted on the Internet.

Senate Democratic Leader Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls said he also thinks the Legislature will approve the measure because lawmakers feel the length of time convicts spend on the registry should vary according to the severity of their crimes.

"I think it's a reflection that this is one area of the law where one-size-fits-all is a bad rule," Heidepriem said.

Under current law, nearly all those convicted of sex offenses must remain on the registry for life. The current law allows people to ask for removal from the registry after 10 years, but only if they were adjudicated as a juvenile or convicted of statutory rape when younger than 21. The crime also cannot involve a victim younger than 13.

The study committee's proposal would create a three-tiered registry so those convicted of less severe crimes would have a chance of getting their names removed from the registry after a certain period.

Those convicted of rape or other severe crimes would remain on the registry for life. Those convicted of crimes on the middle tier, such as possession or sale of child pornography, would have to be on the list for at least 25 years. People convicted of less severe crimes, such as indecent exposure or statutory rape, would have to register for at least 10 years.

Officials have said South Dakota now has more than 2,500 sex offenders on the registry.

The study committee was told that about 1,200 have been removed from the registry since 1994, the vast majority because they moved out of the state. About half the juvenile sex offenders were removed after last year's state Supreme Court decision that found the law unfairly treated juveniles differently than adult offenders.


NY - Housing homeless sex offenders in industrial parks could be new standard (Modern Day Concentration Camp)

Original Article

01/07/2010

We're confident the county Department of Social Services' plan to house homeless sex offenders in a western Suffolk warehouse will prove to be successful. (See story, page 20.) If implemented, the program has the potential to become the model for social services offices throughout the state, if not the entire U.S.

When Suffolk County unveiled its homeless sex offender program in 2007, it did so to much fanfare and publicity. Indeed, the program seemed ingenious when compared to what other counties were doing in the face of mounting homeless sex offender populations.

The program's flaw involved ferrying all of the 1,000-square-mile county's homeless sex offenders to, basically, one community. Not only did the misstep make those living near the trailers feel like second-class citizens -- and perhaps put them at greater risk than communities not playing host to such a trailer -- it cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxi bills, as some of the homeless were shuttled to the East End from as far away as Deer Park each morning and night.

Still, at its heart, the program was always a good one.

It just needed to evolve.

And evolve it did, with outspoken locals and the new social services commissioner, Greg Blass of Jamesport, playing no small part.

Under the new proposal, the shelter would not be near any residential neighborhoods, as the one in Riverside surely is. The renovated warehouse facility would also conform to state shelter standards, as the ones in Riverside and Westhampton do not. Lastly, the county could save loads of taxpayer money on transportation costs, as the social services recipients assigned to western Suffolk offices won't have so far to travel to sleep.

We urge the state to award Suffolk County the grant money it needs to implement this program, which would involve purchasing and renovating a warehouse in an industrial park. Communities throughout New York could all end up better off because of it.

Is this the final solution?

Video Link


Let's review history, shall we?

Video Link


Raping our Youth in Jail?

Original Article
See this ABC article as well

01/08/2010

By Charlotte Safavi

One of the most heartbreaking stories that came out of Iran after the disputed 2009 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was about a boy.

He was 15 years old.

For wearing a green wristband -- the signature color of the opposition -- and for protesting the election results in the streets of a provincial town, he was locked up in jail for 20 days, and repeatedly beaten and raped.

The child -- for that is what a 15-year-old is -- told Times Online in an interview, "My life is over. I don't think I can ever recover."

As a parent, a mother with a son, these words cut to my core.

On January 7, 2010, when the US Justice Department released a report entitled Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-2009 (Link), it was as if someone twisted the knife.

The report stated that 12% of our incarcerated juveniles were raped or sexually abused by prison staff members or fellow juvenile inmates. (91% of those incarcerated were male.)

We are not talking about a notorious jail in a theocratic country, like Kahrizak in Iran, where after months of detainee abuse, several prison officials have been charged with the torture and murder of three opposition protesters.

We are talking right here in America.

Worse, according to a story in the Washington Post today, these atrocities have been going on in my neck of the woods. Though the study covered 195 US juvenile detention facilities, only 13 had a ratio of 1 in 3 victims. Three sites with highest sexual victimization rates are Virginia's Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center and Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center, and Maryland's Backbone Mountain Youth Center.

Whatever crimes they committed, we are talking about the sexual abuse of deeply troubled youth. It could be argued that the youth reported their victimization inaccurately. But is 5% better than 12%? Is 1% acceptable? Does it make it OK to sexually victimize a young US criminal more so than an innocent Iranian protestor?

In my books a rape is a rape.

It seems Congress passed a law six years ago to reduce prison rapes, establishing a commission for developing state and federal guidelines. Though the commission released the guidelines June 2009, resolution is still pending.

Ironically also in June 2009, as part of his official statement in reaction to the clampdown on protesters in Iran, President Obama said, "...We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people..."

I know our government has it's hands full. I am just saying we need to tend to our own backyard.


GA - You're invited! (Conference on March 6th, 2010)

Click the image to visit the site


CA - Steep rise in sex offender parolees living on the street

Original Article

01/08/2010

By John Simerman

Less than a year after state corrections officials tightened a $22 million spigot of free apartments and motel rooms for paroled sex offenders, the number of convicts claiming to be homeless has nearly doubled, adding fuel for critics who say the tight living restrictions under Jessica's Law threaten public safety more than bolstering it.

More than 2,200 parolee sex offenders were registered as transient in November, state figures show, up from 1,257 a year ago and 88 in September, 2007. That was just before parole officials began enforcing a ban on sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where kids "regularly gather."

The ranks of sex offender parolees at large — on the lam, free of GPS anklets — also grew, from 58 in 2007 to about 500, according to the state Sex Offender Management Board.

Parole officials expected the increase when they cut the housing payments early last year, citing the state budget crunch. The cost had ballooned from $6.9 million in 2006 to $21.9 million last year as agents scrambled to keep sex offenders under a roof.

Many paroled sex offenders said the 2,000 foot ban left them unable to move back in with relatives or to find affordable housing, particularly in the Bay Area and other urban centers where only sparse pockets sit outside the prohibited zones.

A MediaNews report early last year highlighted the dilemma, and the state's makeshift solution: funding housing for several hundred sex offenders, paying more than $2,000 a month for some and putting up others in spots within the banned zones. Some parolee sex offenders had lived off state-paid rent for a few years, and the scarcity of available housing meant clusters of sex offenders — dozens in some cases — living in certain motels.

"We were spending a significant amount. That's been reduced, and the outcome has been a 100 percent increase" in transient sex offenders, state corrections Undersecretary Scott Kernan said. "That is not a good thing for public safety."
Kernan said the state had finished strapping all sex offender parolees with GPS anklets, easing concerns some over the pullback. Still, he called GPS "a tool, and not the whole panacea."
- GPS costs tax payer dollars as well!

Critics of Jessica's Law agree, saying that with or without GPS, the rise in homelessness raises the risk sex offenders will commit new sex crimes. A 2008 report from the state board — whose appointees include law enforcement, treatment providers, victim advocates and others — cited homelessness among several causes of instability that add to the risk.

"We're finally at a point where we just have to acknowledge this is actually a problem, and it's not one for lack of trying. It's actually a public safety issue," said Robert Coombs of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a victim advocacy group that opposed Jessica's Law.

"I don't care if these guys have a nice lifestyle. But if you look at the research, it actually says if you reduce their stability you increase the risk of re-offense," he said. "I think we'll start to see there really is that link. The way we find that out is through more victims."
Backed by 70 percent of voters in 2006, Proposition 83, stiffened penalties for some sex crimes, required lifetime GPS monitoring of newly released sex criminals and set the 2,000 foot "predator free zones." Including parolees, the number of sex offenders registered as transient has grown to nearly 4,500, up from 2,300 before the state began enforcing the law.

The author of Jessica's Law downplayed the impact of the rise. State Sen. George Runner (Contact), R-Lancaster, said critics have yet to prove that a homeless sex convict strapped with a GPS anklet — which Runner called a deterrent — runs a greater risk than one at home.
- You are really and evil idiot.  There is tons of studies done to prove instability increases recidivism, but, you don't want to look bad and want to "look tough" for the sheeple, at the same time, sucking the money from their pockets.

"I think sometimes they're homeless by choice, simply because it's a little harder to find a place that meets their criteria ... I'm more concerned about the safety of children and families," Runner said. "I certainly do not believe taxpayers should be paying for housing of sex offenders."
- But you don't mind if tax payers pay for civil commitment or all the other expenses that come with making unconstitutional laws?  Yep, spoken like a true idiot, and your state is loosing tons of money, and that is why the Governor declared a state emergency due to loosing money.

Some counties, such as San Francisco, have scant habitable areas outside the 2,000 foot zones. Parole officials set a new policy to keep sex offenders from flouting the law by "couch surfing" with friends. The policy limited to a few hours their stay at any address, with exceptions for treatment and work. Transient sex offenders also were ordered to check in more often with their parole agents.

Last year, Runner sponsored legislation that would have granted cities and counties flexibility in determining the size of the zones. "We'll be the first to admit there's not a magic number," he said. But the bill went nowhere when a Senate committee balked. Critics and supporters alike say there is little political will in Sacramento to make changes that might appear more lenient on sex offenders.

Corrections officials are applying the 2,000 foot rule to all registered sex offenders released on parole after the law passed, regardless of when they committed their sex crimes. The number of homeless may decline significantly if the state Supreme Court rules next month that rule applies only to those who committed their sex crimes after the law passed.

That would be only a temporary relief, said Coombs.

"I think it's unquestionable that it only gets worse from here," he said.