Thursday, May 19, 2011
Does JWRC support laws that prohibit sex offenders from living within a certain distance from schools, parks, or daycare centers?
At first glance these types of exclusionary zoning laws, known as “sex offender residency restrictions,” seem like a good idea that should help keep kids safe. Why would anyone want to allow sex offenders to be anywhere near children? The problem is these laws may do more harm than good, if they work at all. In spite of good intentions, these laws have unintended consequences that can actually make it harder to track sex offenders.
These laws make it illegal for a sex offender to live within some set distance, usually 1,000 to 3,000 feet, of places where children tend to be. Think about drawing a circle that big around every school, park, day care center, playground, library, and public building. Those circles would probably cover most, if not all, of most cities and towns, and would leave very few places for sex offenders to live. The sex offenders we’re talking about can no longer be kept locked up and the system has to let them out, and so they have to live somewhere. These sex offenders have two basic choices; follow the rules and live in the few places allowed, or break the rules by trying to keep their sex offender status secret.
The offenders that follow the rules end up concentrated in the few small areas that are not restricted, or they move out beyond the city or town. With the limitations on where they can live come practical limitations on their opportunities to find work. To successfully rejoin a safe and peaceful society, these offenders, like anyone else, have to be able to make a living. A sex offender who cannot support himself is at risk of becoming homeless, and this can make it much harder for authorities to keep track of him.
When sex offenders break the rules by not reporting where they live, law enforcement loses the ability to keep track of them, and so instead of being sure than an area is clear, it becomes an unknown. Residency restrictions aren’t force fields and they can’t keep out the sex offenders that you didn’t even know were there in the first place.
But just become these laws can make it harder to keep track of ALL sex offenders, doesn’t it help to keep at least SOME of them away from schools, playgrounds, and the like?
While it might feel like that would be the case, the statistics do not show it. The Minnesota Department of Corrections released a report in April, 2007 that tracked the recidivism (reoffense rates) of 224 sex offenders who had been released between 1999 and 2002, and were then sent back to jail for another sexual offense before 2006. Of these 224 offenders, only 79 (35%) involved direct contact between offender and victim, and of those, only in 28 cases was that contact initiated within one mile of the offender’s home (the offender’s home being where a residency restriction would apply). Of those 28 cases, only 16 involved juvenile victims.
But wouldn’t at least those 16 crimes have been prevented? The report found that “[n]ot one of the 224 sex offenses would likely have been deterred by a residency restrictions law.” The report found that none of the 16 cases involving a juvenile victim involved contact initiated near a school, park, or other prohibited area. The study concluded that:
“A statewide residency restrictions law would likely have, at best, only a marginal effect on sexual recidivism. Although it is possible that a residency restrictions law could avert a sex offender from recidivating sexually, the chances that it would have a deterrent effect are slim because the types of offenses it is designed to prevent are exceptionally rare and, in the case of Minnesota, virtually non-existent over the last 16 years. Rather than lowering sexual recidivism, housing restrictions may work against this goal by fostering conditions that exacerbate sex offenders’ reintegration into society.”
Because residency restrictions have been shown to be ineffective at preventing harm to children, and may indeed actually increase the risks to kids, JWRC does not support residency restriction laws. Such laws can give a false sense of security while sapping resources that could produce better results used elsewhere.
The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center educates families and communities to prevent the exploitation of children.
For more information:
Residential Proximity & Sex Offense Recidivism in Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Corrections http://www.corr.state.mn.us/documents/04-07SexOffenderReport-Proximity.pdf
Sex Offender Residence Restrictions, Jill S. Levenson, Ph.D. - http://theparson.net/so/Levenson.pdf
Residence Restrictions and their impact on sex offender reintegration, rehabilitation, and recidivism, Jill S. Levenson, Ph.D. - http://www.csom.org/ref/ResidenceRestrictions.pdf
Statement on Sex Offender Residency Restrictions in Iowa, Iowa County Attorneys Association - http://www.iowa-icaa.com/ICAA%20STATEMENTS/Sex%20Offender%20Residency%20Statement%20Dec%2011%2006.pdf
Sex Offender Housing Restrictions, Kansas Department of Corrections - http://www.dc.state.ks.us/publications/sex-offender-housing-restrictions
Like we've said before, why pick and chose? Why not put all criminals on a registry? If it's okay for one or two groups, then it's okay for all.
By Barbara Goldberg
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A registry for animal abusers -- the first in the nation according to advocates -- goes live in New York's Suffolk County next week.
- No, it's not the first in the nation!
Not just an effort to protect animals, the registry is the result of growing awareness that brutality against a dog, cat or even a squirrel is a chief indicator of potential violence against women and children, according to experts and studies.
- I am sick of the "Violence Against Women" BS! What about violence against men as well?
Already, 19 states allow family pets to get restraining orders. Four states in recent years have included animal cruelty under the criminal definition of domestic abuse.
- So how does a family pet get a restraining order? Does the animal have to go down to the police station?
"Animal abuse is not only the tip of the iceberg of family violence, but it's often the first warning sign and the one a neighbor is most likely to call in," said Phil Arkow, coordinator of the National Link Coalition.
"People assume the kids and the spouse can pick up the phone on their own, but they feel sorry for the animal because it's a silent victim," he said.
The progression from animal to human abuse, known among experts as "the link," is changing the way laws are being written and enforced.
Statistics illustrate the connection. As many as 71 percent of battered women say their pets have been killed, harmed or threatened by their abusers, Arkow said. Batterers who abuse animals use more forms of violence against humans, such as stalking and marital rape, and are more dangerous than batterers who do not, he said.
At the same time, 48 percent of battered women with pets report they delayed entering a shelter over concerns for the safety of an animal left behind, said Frank Ascione, head of the University of Denver's Institute for Human-Animal Connection.
Recognizing animal abuse as a predictor of violence against humans appears to save lives. In Nashville, a domestic violence hotline initiated a triage system which elevated to high risk any reports that the batterer had weapons, threatened suicide or vowed to mutilate or kill an animal.
A year later, although domestic violence cases increased 50 percent, fatalities decreased 80 percent.
Domestic violence shelters are responding too. As recently as 2008, just four shelters allowed pets, advocates say. Today 201 shelters welcome animals or have nearby pet safehouses, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
In recognition of the link, animal protection workers who see something must advise their child protection counterparts -- and vice versa -- under unilateral cross reporting laws that exist in Maine and West Virginia and are under consideration in Connecticut.
Similarly, in Ohio and California, humane society agents and animal control officers have been added to the list of professionals bound by law to report suspected child abuse, according to Scott Heiser, criminal justice director at the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
And next week, for the first time, animal abusers in New York's Suffolk County will be listed on a public registry, modeled after the sex offender registry to protect children, in part "to ward off the dangers of potential future violence against people as well," said legislator Jon Cooper.
- This is just another feel good law that will do nothing to prevent crime or protect anybody.
A growing number of police, prosecutors and judges are seeking training on the link between animal brutality and child abuse or spouse battering, experts said.
"I typically encourage child abuse investigators to open their child victim interviews with questions about how the family pet is doing," said Heiser.
"Kids are often very reluctant to disclose the abuse they have personally suffered but are more willing to disclose the abuse they've witnessed the suspect inflict on a pet."
By talking about how adults at home treat animals, children can unwittingly reveal child abuse, Arkow said.
"In many cases, they don't know it's animal abuse." he said. "Kids think, 'That's just the way my family treats animals.' They release information about patterns of control at home that you might not get otherwise."
Update: Bill targeting Okla. sex offenders clears Senate (Hours after being denied)
OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill designed to tighten living restrictions on a group of sex offenders living at a mobile home park in south Oklahoma City has failed to pass the Senate after a senator delivered a tearful plea during debate.
The measure targets residents of the Hand Up ministry (PDF), which houses more than 270 sex offenders. It provides that mobile homes or trailers cannot be defined as multi-unit structures for purposes of sex offender living restrictions. The bill would have given residents of the ministry an additional year to comply with the law, but the measure failed on a 21-25 vote.
Oklahoma City Republican Sen. Cliff Branan became emotional while debating the bill, expressing concern that the measure could force sex offenders into surrounding communities and threaten the safety of children.
By BRETT BARROUQUERE
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A requirement that sex offenders in Kentucky register their address with law enforcement cannot be enforced retroactively, which means a Lexington man is wrongfully in prison for failing to register, the state's Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
In a 5-2 split, the high court found that anyone convicted of a sex offense before 1994 cannot be forced to give his or her address to law enforcement officials. The ruling comes in the case of 37-year-old [name withheld] of Lexington, who was initially convicted of two counts of third-degree sodomy on Dec. 14, 1993, just months before Kentucky enacted its sex offender registration requirements.
The high court ruled the 1994 law didn't apply to [name withheld] because his conviction came before it was passed and there was no provision making the law retroactive.
- I'm sure they will now make another change to the law, making it a retroactive (ex post facto) law.
"As he was not required to register, he cannot be guilty of the crime of failing to register, and any sentence imposed on him would be manifestly infirm," Justice Wil Schroeder wrote for the majority. "As it stands, the Appellee sits in prison wrongfully convicted."
[name withheld]'s original conviction carried a six-year sentence. He was paroled in November 1996, but his release was revoked six months later. He served out his sentence and was released in 1997. He was charged with receiving stolen property in 1999 and as a persistent felony offender and sentenced to five years in prison.
A grand jury in Fayette County charged [name withheld], who has been in and out of prison for multiple crimes, in January 2007 with failing to register his address. [name withheld] pleaded guilty in August 2007 and received a five-year sentence. [name withheld], who is in Green River Correctional Complex in Central City, reserved the right to appeal. He is currently scheduled for release June 18, 2016.
Once the case is final, it will go back to a Fayette County Circuit Court judge to decide what happens next.
Ed Monahan, who heads Kentucky's public defender office, said the ruling should prompt [name withheld]'s immediate release.
"One might call this the tragedy of ordinary injustice," Monahan said. "The system failed Mr. [name withheld] and likely too many others who have been held illegally to the onerous restrictions placed upon sex offenders in the past two decades."
Shelley Catherine Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky attorney general's office, said the office is reviewing the ruling.
Before the high court, [name withheld] argued that Kentucky's sex offender laws were never changed to require someone convicted before they were adopted to register. The first adaptation of the law required people convicted after July 15, 1994, to register with law enforcement.
The law underwent multiple other changes, including adding a provision expanding restrictions on where offenders could live, making it a felony for a sex offender to fail to register and allowing for DNA samples to be taken from registrants.
Justice Daniel Venters, joined by Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., noted in dissent that the case serves as a "sobering reminder" that the criminal justice system sometimes overlooks the obvious.
But, Venters wrote, the high court acted too quickly in taking the case and reversing [name withheld]'s conviction.
"What seems to be readily apparent to us now escaped the attention of his lawyers, prosecutors, and the judge three times," Venters wrote.
This video has been chopped down to under 15 minutes, because YouTube doesn't allow us to upload videos longer than this. To see the entire video, while it's online, go here. Also, the video below is their original, and I am not smart enough to know how to block out the offenders face.
NOTE: The whole time this was going on, a police cruiser was in the background watching it. So IMO, the police condone vigilantism. I believe this was in Florida near the beginning of this year (2011).
- http://nopeaceforpredators.com/ (Site Suspended)
UPDATE: No Peace For Predators had the video we uploaded to YouTube deleted due to "violating" the "Community Guidelines." Well, I don't see any reason it should have been removed, except they don't like the truth being out there. Anyway, we've re-uploaded it to Facebook, see below!
|YouTube Community Guidelines|
This is something that should be taught in every classroom. If the government and people really wanted to protect children, then I would assume they would demand something like this.
By ADAM ROBERTS
Computer-savvy pupils at Enner Glynn School now have all the skills they need to avoid falling prey to online predators.
The year 6 and 7 class has completed a four-hour Simulate2educate course, run by online safety expert John Parsons, in a first for the country.
The practical course taught the children to identify and guard against an online predator, recognise when the information they put online was too personal or dangerous, and how to avoid being taken in by online scams.
In one scenario, a class chat room was invaded by a teacher posing as another student, in an example that showed the pupils how easily an online identity could be faked.
Mr Parsons said he did not want to be "all doom and gloom", but young people needed to recognise how important internet safety was.
"It is real. There are people in Europe who have gone missing because of things on the internet. We have lost people, people have lost their lives."
He had recently been helping a Nelson family whose daughter had been targeted by an online predator overseas, and it was an extremely difficult situation to work through, he said.
Another issue was teens' online identities affecting their chances at real-world employment, he said.
Mr Parsons said he knew of about 30 Nelson teens who had struggled to get jobs because of content, like pictures of a night out, that their friends had posted online.
Employers routinely researched potential employees on Facebook, and embarrassing or offensive photos could cost a young person a chance at a job, he said.
"The value of a person's identity is only known when it's been tarnished. If we get to children before they get the camera and the cellphone then we can avoid some of these things later on," he said.
Teacher Wendy Hancock said the course had been excellent learning both for herself and her students.
"It's really relevant learning, and because it was relevant they took it onboard."
Cameron Mayes, 10, said he was a regular internet user, but had not realised how unsafe it could be. "I thought it was very safe but Mr Parsons surprised me."
Despite the seriousness of the content, Cameron had not been put off using the web, and would recommend the programme to other kids.
"There's some very useful information because lots of people all around the world are being killed or other nasty stuff because of this."
Xan Twissell, 9, said she had learnt about how predators targeted children.
"At first I thought it was just about Facebook but then I learnt about chat rooms and email that can be forwarded to people. I found out that predators didn't just look at information, they also tried to get information out of you."
Mr Parsons said he hoped to run the course at Enner Glynn School again next year, and take it to other schools if possible.
More information is at simulate2educate.co.nz.