Friday, August 27, 2010

FL - Sex Offender Success Story

Original Article

See the updated comments from a person who contacted these ex-sex offenders to get the REAL truth, below.

08/27/2010

By ARI ODZER

Normal life after living under the bridge

We'll call him Charlie. That's not his real name, but Charlie has a real job driving a van, delivering packages, being responsible. Pretty good for a convicted sex offender who spent six months living in the infamous camp under the Julia Tuttle causeway.

"Life is much better now," Charlie says. "Able to get a job, enjoy myself, my family, not worry about sleeping outside anymore."

Charlie is one of the success stories. The Homeless Trust has placed every one of the nearly 100 former bridge residents into apartments, paying up to six months of each person's rent, but only about a third of them, like Charlie, have taken advantage of job training and placement services.

"The program is an excellent program, they do their best to set you up with a job, set you up with a place to stay," Charlie told us.

"We don't run a welfare program, that's not what the Homeless Trust is," said Ron Book, volunteer director of the Trust. "Our programs are about providing services to get people off the streets, to help them find employment, to make them self-sustained. But you can't solve everybody's problems."

Book has led the effort to resettle the sex offenders into apartments that meet the laws restricting where they can live.

"I think we've done the best we could, " Book says. "I think the community's done the best it could. Look, there's no sympathy out there for predators, offenders and pedophiles, I certainly don't have any."

The bridge area is fenced off, the colony of sex offenders which once existed there is just a memory. Charlie told us his time there was like a nightmare.

"It was rough," the father of three said. "As a family guy, you don't want your family down there but then again you want to be with them and it was just hard."

So what happens when the assistance money to pay leases runs out? Pointing out that it's cheaper to prevent someone from becoming homeless than it is to get them off the streets, the Homeless Trust will still help the offenders, like Charlie, who are working. The rest are on their own.

"I'll tell you what's not gonna happen, they're not going back to the Julia Tuttle Causeway," Book said.

Charlie's not looking back. He knows he's lucky to have a second chance.

"I am blessed with everything," he says.



UPDATE:

I just got off the phone with three former JTC residents.

Here is an update:

"Currently living outside of the parking lot of the Florida Department Of Corrections"

9 men are currently living outside in the parking lot of the location at N.W. 36 Avenue & 167 Street.

8 men are currently living outside in the parking lot of the location at N.W. 27 Avenue & 79 Street.

  • These numbers are just for these ( 2 ) locations, reported to me by people from there that I am in contact with. Keep in mind that there are a number of correctional offices throughout the county. And since the RSO population, is not a static population. Those that are being released from prison every month end up as "Transient" be it on Miami-Dade streets, or living outside on the departments parking lot.

"In the Homestead, Fl. area"

I know of ( 2 ) former "JTC" residents, that will be out in the streets in the coming days. They have been put through the evictions process because they are unable to pay their rent after the Homeless Trust stopped making payments to the landlords.

"In Miami-Dade"

Remember the famous trailer park that most of the causeways dwellers had been relocated to? Which in my personal opinion, the causeway was 100 better than this trailer park.

Well... I have been informed through the RSO grape vine, that payments for their rents have stopped there as well. Some have been told they must vacate, and have had 3 day notices posted on their doors. And only one or two are sub-renting their trailer units to others, at a reasonable fee which is helping by supplementing that persons income.

One of the men who I spoke with, see's other people whom lived at the causeways edge when he goes to his "MDSO" program. Some have been living on street corners since the causeway closed down. And some whom are staying in remote parts of the city, and had the assistance provided by the trust are also commenting, that they too will be homeless again very soon.

On another note: At one of the locations I mentioned above. One of the men, while sleeping on a cart board box, had his cell, a radio and his watch stolen while he was sleeping. The perpetrator was recorded on the departments surveillance cameras, and has been reported to the police and other correctional officers. They don't think the person in question was a RSO who sleeps there.

SO YOU SEE, YOU CANNOT RELY ON ANYTHING THE MEDIA OR ANYONE ELSE SAYS IS TRUE, YOU MUST INVESTIGATE IT FOR YOURSELF!!

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WA - Jail for former FBI worker (Samuel I. Kaplan) from Virginia

Original Article

08/27/2010

By Paul Duggan

A 65-year-old former FBI employee from Prince William County was sentenced to nearly four years in prison Friday for possessing child pornography.

Samuel I. Kaplan, of Gainesville, who pleaded guilty June 2 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, was sentenced to 46 months behind bars.

Kaplan was an information technology program manager at an FBI facility in Chantilly when authorities discovered that he had used the FBI's computer network to "facilitate sexually explict communications," the Justice Department said.

Investigators said they later found 10 to 20 images on Kaplan's home computer showing juveniles involved in sex acts.

The investigation was part of the Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide law enforcement initiative to combat child sexual exploitation, authorities said.


CA - Homeless ponder move, as their Camp must be vacated

Original Article

08/27/2010

By AMEERA BUTT

But finding housing remains a problem for city.

Everybody has a story.

And sometimes their stories may just have to do with bad luck and bad choices.

That's what Renee Davenport says about the homeless people living in the Black Rascal Creek camp near the railroad tracks and Highway 99.

"Not all have homes, not all are into drugs and alcohol," the homeless advocate said Thursday. "Some have mental issues, emotional issues. They lost their jobs or can't find a job. They have no choice, some people just have had bad luck."

Beginning Aug. 9, the city began posting and distributing material and giving everybody notice, allowing the homeless to contact relatives and find alternative housing, according to Mike Conway, public information officer for the city. The week of Sept. 6, the city will again post more notices warning of the camp closures.

The closure date for the camps is Oct. 11.

"We wanted to make sure the ultimate goal is to move them out of there into some more kind of stable living arrangement," he said.

Many have lived at the Black Rascal Creek camp for months -- even years -- and now they wonder where they can go and how they can find jobs. Where will the 290s, or homeless sex offenders, wind up? They face restrictions placed on where they can come and go.

"Everybody's in denial; the city wants everyone to go away," Davenport said.

One City Council member said it's about living in a city where you have to abide by the social contract that everyone is a part of. "If that means no camping in open space because of an ordinance, it is something we have to do," said Josh Pedrozo. "We are not trying to punish or criminalize these people -- we are trying to help them change their lives for the better."

Councilman John Carlisle said the city is relying on the social services programs already in place for after the homeless move out of the camps. And he said the 290s are even more restricted.

"There are a lot of folks who have been pushing this thing about we have empty beds at the shelter last night or at the rescue mission, so obviously there are a lot of resources," Carlisle said. "That is not true. And the 290s can't go there."

Davenport, the advocate, added that even if people have made bad choices, that doesn't mean they'll continue to make them. "They've got plans for barrels but not the people," she said, referring to barrels made available at the police department to the homeless if they want to store their belongings for 90 days after the Oct. 11 date at the police department. "I call it the barrel plan -- but what about the people?"

On a blistering 100-degree day Thursday, a man who goes by "Pancho" stood outside his tent with a cell phone in hand. He said he's been at the camp for the past three or four months. Speaking in Spanish, he said he came from Texas, had family in the area, but isn't living with them because they had issues with him. "It would be good if they (the city) had a plan, what are they going to do if they don't have a plan?" he asked.

Pancho said he isn't a 290. He said he's a mechanic who travels from place to place, trying to make a little money here and there.

A little way down the road, [name withheld], 51, has been living in a pristinely clean orange, gray and yellow tent for the past four months. The tent is organized, with two beds and a small portable TV in the corner. Photos of her family, candles and personal items are laid out on makeshift tables. She sits on her bed with her dog named Special as she talks about her boyfriend who left her a few days ago after he got off parole. She knows she has family to turn to -- her daughter -- but she doesn't want to stay with her.

She doesn't work, but she said she "doesn't mind working," adding she has worked in home services and at convalescent homes, or homelike environments for patients.

"I walk every day looking for work," she said.

A 24-year-old 290, who goes by "Smalls," has been living at the camp on and off since May 1. He said he has no clue where he will go, saying he does have family, but he can't live with them.

"I can pretty much do anything, like landscaping," he said. "I go to my stepmother's (in Atwater) and help out with her yard." He added he's been around mechanics his whole life and has laid cement in previous jobs.

He said he's the youngest at the camp, that there's a sense of community at the camp among the homeless people.

"We all look out for each other," he said.

[name withheld], 55, also stressed the sense of camaraderie and community among the camp dwellers. Villa has been living at the camp for the past six months and has a cornucopia of vegetables and fruits growing around and behind her tent. She also offers a "guest cottage" or a second tent to passing people who need a place to stay for the night.

"They share stories about where they came from, what happened to them," she said. "We sit around and talk. I've been through my trials and tribulations, but there's always somebody out there who has it worse."

The coming months will tell where these people -- their belongings, tents and animals -- will go.

Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or abutt@mercedsun-star.com.


Why We Forgive - Forgiveness


Reason.tv: Filling Up Prisons Without Fighting Crime - Mark Kleiman on America's Criminal Justice System

Original Article

08/26/2010

UCLA Professor of Public Affairs Mark Kleiman is "angry about having too much crime and an intolerable number of people behind bars." The United States is home to five percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's prisoners, yet, says Kleiman, our high incarceration rate isn't making us safer.

In his book, When Brute Force Fails , Kleiman explains that, when it comes to punishment, there is a trade-off between severity and swiftness. For too long the U.S. has erred heavily on the side of severity, but if we concentrate enforcement and provide immediate consequences for law-breakers, Kleiman says we can both reduce the crime rate and put fewer people in prison.

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8 in 10 Church Members Think Sex Offenders Belong in Church


John Walsh Pushes Child DNA Program

How exactly does collecting kids DNA protect them or prevent crime again? It doesn't, it's only an after the fact Big Brother scenario. I am sure they are collecting this in some registry somewhere, and eventually they will want your DNA as well, to be "safe," and "for your safety!" Read the user comments here (It seems a lot of people don't like Mr. Walsh much, except those in government), and here. He "claims" it will "safeguard" your children. How exactly?

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