Currently, the state of Oklahoma requires that all sex offenders live at least 2,000 feet from a school, park, or playground. In Tulsa there are thousands of those, so sex offenders don't have many places to live legally. That has forced them to congregate in certain parts of town. Some believe that's more dangerous than the alternative.
“Does the spacing make it safer, because where a person lives doesn't dictate where they can move,” State Representative Jeannie McDaniel, a Democrat from the 78th District in Tulsa, said.
McDaniel will over see an interim study beginning Tuesday to see if that 2,000 feet buffer should be cut in half.
“2,000 feet away, I think it helps. I don't think it protects them, I mean none of them's protected,” one Tulsa grandfather told FOX23.
But Representative McDaniel says there are problems with the way things are now.
“What we've found out is that there are very few places these people can live, which in turn then may group them all in one area.”
That's what's happened in Tulsa.
“I don't think it makes a huge difference, I mean you just want to keep them away and who's enforcing it,” Mom Janel Domenico said Friday.
Because it's so hard to find a place to live, many offenders break the law by not registering at all. A 16 year-old told FOX23 he does not want sex offenders close to his high school.
“I like the way things are now, I think we should just keep it like this,”
No decisions have been made and Tuesday’s discussion is just a first step, but McDaniel says safety has been and will always be priority number one.
“The goal is we need to be able to track (sex offenders), to be in dialogue with them, to make sure that they get the services they need if that's going to mean a safer community for all of us.”
The Tulsa Police Department is also voicing some support for this proposal. One sergeant in the exploitation department will speak at Tuesday’s meeting in Oklahoma City. The whole process to get the law changed could take more than a year.
“We'd have to introduce legislation, get it through a committee, get it through the house, through a senate committee, through the senate, to the governor; at the earliest anything could happen is next November first,” McDaniel said.
As Halloween approaches, know the rules your area's registered sex offenders are required to follow
Patch wants to help Oak Forest parents keep their kids safe this Halloween. As the bewitching hour nears, become familiar with regulations regarding registered sex offenders in your area.
Rules for Halloween
In July 2005, a new state law was passed barring registered sex offenders from participating in any holiday event involving children, including Halloween. This same law also prohibits sex offenders from dressing as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
During Halloween, sex offenders are not allowed to distribute candy to children; however, the law does give leeway to sex offenders who are parents or legal guardians of children under age 18 living in the home. While those sex offenders are still barred from handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, other household members can participate in Halloween activities.
To avoid violating the law, registered sex offenders often are advised by police to keep porch lights turned off to avoid attracting children on Halloween and to not answer the door. Registered sex offenders also are prohibited from leaving the house dressed in costumes.
"They can wear a costume if they are home," Master Sgt. Isiah Vega, a spokesman for the Illinois State Police told Patch last year. "But if they leave the house in costume, it's considered participating in a holiday event involving children."
Registered sex offenders who break the rules may be subject to fines or revocation of their parole or probation.
Who Needs to Register?
Persons convicted of misdemeanor or felony sex crimes involving children under age 18 as well as adult victims are required to register their addresses with the local law enforcement agency in the communities where they reside once a year, under the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act. The same rules apply to out-of-state sex offenders who move to or work in Illinois, as well as out-of-state students attending a state college or university.
The Illinois State Police maintain a detailed Sex Offender Registry of all of the state's registered sex offenders that is available to the public. There, citizens can look up and find the registered sex offenders living in their own communities. Local police departments throughout the state feed information about the individual sex offenders registered in their jurisdictions to the state database.
Similar requirements for registration are also in effect for sex crimes committed against adults — especially adults with disabilities.
A sex offender must register annually in person at the local police department for the duration of the required 10-year registration period.
In addition, registered sex offenders are prohibited from residing within 500 feet of a school, daycare center, youth center or other facility catering to children under age 18.
A Safe Halloween
A representative for the Cook County Sheriff's Office said that the department will be sending out a letter ordering sex offenders to report to five districts where they will view a 20-minute, educational video detailing their responsibilities and requirements under the law, such as not living with 500 feet of a school, no social networking, and regularly updating their home address.
Such measures are pursuant to a fairly new sex offender regulation that prohibits sex offenders from taking part in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Vega said parents can do their part to ensure a safe Halloween for their children by visiting the Illinois Sex Offender Registry to identify registered sex offenders in their neighborhood, and by not allowing children or teens to trick-or-treat alone.
We have said it many times over the years, prison is a business. Each person who is locked up, someone is making some money from it. Investigate it for yourself! They want you in the system, so they can profit from it.
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With more than 2.3 million people locked up, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. One out of 100 American adults is behind bars – while a stunning one out of 32 is on probation, parole or in prison. This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spend about $74 billion a year on corrections, and nearly 800,000 people work in the industry.
From some of the poorest towns in America to some of the wealthiest investment firms on Wall Street, CNBC’s Scott Cohn travels the country to go inside the big and controversial business of prisons. We go inside private prisons and examine an Idaho facility nicknamed the “gladiator school” by inmates and former prison employees for its level of violence. We look at one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry, immigration detention, and tell the story of what happens when a hard hit town in Montana accepts an enticing sales pitch from private prison developers. In Colorado, we profile a little-known but profitable workforce behind bars, and discover that products created by prison labor have seeped into our everyday lives — even some of the food we eat. We also meet a tough-talking judge in the law-and-order state of Texas who’s actually trying to keep felons out of prison and save taxpayer money, through an innovative and apparently successful program.
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