Sunday, May 18, 2008

FL - Transitions of America



NOTE: If you know of more places like this across the country, please leave me a comment here, or at one of the links in the upper right-hand side of my blog, so I can add it here for others to see and get help, if needed. You can check this Google link for more Transitional Housing help in your area. Some may not cater to sex offenders, so you will need to contact them to verify if they do or not. You can change the location:usa to location:state to search in your state only, for example: location:GA

Transitions of America, Inc.

A Pending 501c3 Tax Exempt Corp. E.I.N. # 33-1208397 Florida Solicitation of Contributions Registration #CH26076

A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the division of consumer services by calling toll-free (800) 435-7352 within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.

The primary mission of Transitions of America is to utilize a variety of resources that will address the issues of re-entry of sexual offenders into society after release from prison. Our mission is to provide a gated community of affordable (furnished) apartments with on site programs, therapy, security systems, shuttle service, and individualized progress plans as they re-learn and adjust to living and contributing to society.

Released Or Soon To Be Released Sex Offenders And Families

Our web site has information and links to resources that can help you re-integrate into society. Our work, at this point in our existence is to link resources with those who need them. If we do not have a service listed, please contact us and we will work with you to locate the service you need.

Service Organizations

If your organization provides services to those who are disadvantaged we would like to work with you to link you to those searching for services. You can contact us by: going to the Contact Us link on this site and leave us a message, call us at (941)527-1481 or email us pr@TransitionsAmerica.org.

If You Are An Employer

If you are an employer, have open positions and would like to give a sex offender a second chance, you can contact us by going to the Contact Us link on this site and leave us a message, call us at (941)527-1481 or email us pr@TransitionsAmerica.org.

Contact Us By Mail

Transitions of America, Inc.
Attn: Community Outreach
PO Box 51406
Sarasota, Florida 34232
(Contacts)


TX - New Name Ministries


NOTE: If you know of more places like this across the country, please leave me a comment here, or at one of the links in the upper right-hand side of my blog, so I can add it here for others to see and get help, if needed. You can check this Google link for more Transitional Housing help in your area. Some may not cater to sex offenders, so you will need to contact them to verify if they do or not. You can change the location:usa to location:state to search in your state only, for example: location:GA

Welcome to our web site; we're so glad you found us! We hope you will take time to explore the heart of our outreach to the lepers of today’s society, sex offenders. Come join us in effecting social reform for our nation.

After years of ministering to the spiritual needs of sex offenders, their families and even their victims, we opened our first residential reentry aftercare in 2005 in north Texas. Since becoming involved with the Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE) and Christian Association for Prison Aftercare (CAPA), we have been honored to present nationally on how to minister to sex offenders. As word got out regarding our ministry to sex offenders, churches began to call asking how to deal with sex offenders who want to attend church. In response, we developed a PowerPoint presentation called “Sex Offenders in the Church.” This specialized presentation for churches goes beyond the base information debunking the media “myth-understandings” and addresses how to be of good conscience before God and man. We also offer consultations and resources for policies and procedures in the church.

Jesus asked a very significant question before returning to His rightful place in Heaven next to the Father, “Will I find faith on the earth when I return?” What is this faith that he spoke of? What does it look like? Is it possible it would be the type of faith that believes in God’s miraculous ability to change a man’s spirit and turn the evil once done through that man for good? A great example of this is the demoniac at the Gaterines. After being delivered of two thousand evil spirits, he’s directed by the Lord to go tell what God has done for him in the Decapolis (ten cities). Funny how the next time Christ came to that region that the people of all ten cities came out seeking the one who set the demoniac free. I think it safe to assume that this man had hurt people on every level: physically, mentally, spiritually, financially and sexually. No wonder everybody and their donkey came to see the man who sets the captives free!


Sex offenders can be turned says expert

View the article here

05/19/2008

Pedophiles are among the easiest criminals to rehabilitate, says a Canadian expert who helped set up Christchurch's Kia Marama unit at Rolleston Prison.

Dr Bill Marshall, a professor of psychology and psychiatry, was in Christchurch last week to visit the sex offenders' unit he helped establish in 1989, when it was the first of its type in the world.

The general perception of men who sexually offend against children is that they will continue on this path for life.

However, Marshall, 72, said the offenders were treatable and a long-term study of 524 subjects had shown recidivism rates among treated offenders were down to 3.2 percent.

"Sex offenders as a group are at much less risk of reoffending than any other offender - well, them and murderers, who also have a low risk,'' he said.

"Sex offenders have much lower recidivism rates than burglars or thieves, but the harm they do is a damn sight higher.''

Marshall was proud of his part in Kia Marama, one of two units in New Zealand, which treats 60 prisoners at a time. It was set up after a study showed that 25% of imprisoned sex offenders in this country offended again.

Marshall said the treatment involved making the offenders aware of the damage they caused, but the main motivation was self-interest.

"We say to them, `You are going to go out of here and the cost to you is you're going to be back with a worse sentence, and an integrated prison is not a good place to be','' he said.

"I just suggest that treatment is in their best interest and if they engage properly then the chances of coming back are next to zero.

"We will teach you ways to function and it will lead to a happier, better and more fulfilled life. These are big motivators. It's actually just common sense.''

Marshall fell into working with sexual offenders by accident.

The Australian-born academic moved to Canada to do his PhD and, short of money, took a part-time job at a prison.

What little work he had to do was finished quickly so he started talking to a prisoner, who did menial tasks around the prison.

It turned out he was a sex offender and Marshall started counselling him. The prisoner told others and before long Marshall was counselling all the sex offenders.

But when the prison found out he was fired.
- You see, they do not want to help people, or this man would not have been fired.

Marshall immediately went on the attack in the media, saying it was disgraceful that there were no treatment programmes, and his new career was in motion.

Thirty-eight years later, he is still working and is now regarded as a world authority.

"I stay in the field because it's rewarding,'' he said.

"I'm doing something to make society safer. It's also a challenging and exciting field to work in.''

Among those he has advised are clergy at the Vatican. He was called in five years ago after scandals among the priesthood in the United States.

The US has found that about 4% of priests were involved in abuse and a study of them showed that they had similar backgrounds to other offenders of being physically or sexually abused themselves.

"Their backgrounds are no different,'' Marshall said.

"Most say they went into the priesthood to try to overcome their problems. They went in thinking it would cure them.''

Marshall said it would be possible to weed out those who had signs of being possible offenders, but did not know whether his advice was taken.

"Priests who offend are very narcissistic. They go in because they want to be admired and be the centre of attention,'' he said.

"They could easily screen them out at the front end.''

He has no time for the argument of members of the American Man Boy Love Association who claim they are born with a preference for children, as others prefer men or women. "No-one is born a child molester,'' he said. "Preference for children is driven by a lot of things, not the least of which is a lack of confidence in adult relationships.

"These are learned behaviours and like any learned behaviour you can unlearn it.''

South Korea and Hong Kong are both setting up programmes based on Kia Marama.


UT - 1 in 100 - Crime and punishment in America has turned the land of the free into the home of the incarcerated

View the article here

05/18/2008

UTAH - That just about puts America's incarceration situation in perspective.

Not to pick on the industry state, but if you were to add up the number of American adults behind bars today it would come close to Utah's total population.

The national inmate census is a tad bigger than the city of Houston.

Put another way, there are as many people locked up today as the number of voters who cast ballots in the impotent Democratic primaries in Florida and Michigan.

At the start of the new year, the American penal system held more than 2.3 million people, bringing the U.S. to a dubious threshold: For the first time, more than one in 100 adults now is confined in an American jail or prison, according to figures gathered and analyzed by the Pew Public Safety Performance Project.

The figures paint an arguably startling picture of an American system of crime and punishment that the study's authors assert has transformed the land of the free into the home of the incarcerated. It is a story spanning more than three decades of governments getting tough on crime only to see corrections budgets balloon, jails and prison populations swell and recidivism rates rise -- seemingly with only the prospects of more prisons and escalating costs on the horizon.

It's a quandary, at least in a lot of public policy circles, that seems to provide little cause for hope.

"Few doubt the necessity of locking up violent criminals and those who repeatedly threaten community safety," the Pew report, issued in February, states. "Increasingly, however, states are discovering that casting such a wide net for prisoners creates a vexing fiscal burden -- especially in lean times."

Further, data continue to point to a system where the color of your skin can be a telling indicator of whether you will end up behind bars.

It's not just an urban problem, as evidenced by a seemingly endless line of overcrowded jails in rural counties from the Midwest to the deep south.

Many argue that the policy shift in holding the line on crime came only after a profound change in social mores in recent decades -- a deterioration of family values that has created generations of crime.

One thing appears certain: the escalating incarceration numbers are the result of multiple forces in play and stakeholders agree the problem requires a multifaceted solution.

Daunting numbers

Last year, the U.S. prison population grew by 25,000 inmates, to about 1.6 million, according to the Pew Center for the States. Some 723,000 American adults were locked up in local jails, driving the incarcerated population to a record 2.3 million.

Still, the prison census increase, up about 1.6 percent in 2007, was a relative drop in the bucket compared to the skyrocketing figures over the past 20 years. In 1987, U.S. prisons counted a total of 585,000 inmates, more than 1 million fewer than today.

Based on the Pew Center's report, the United States leads the world in prison population, besting second-place China, which counts 1.5 million people behind bars, while Russia places a distant third, with 890,000.

America also is the global leader in the rate at which it incarcerates its citizenry, outpacing nations like South Africa and Iran, the report found. In Germany, 93 people are in prison for every 100,000 adults. In the U.S., the rate is roughly eight times that, or 750 per 100,000.

In Wisconsin, the number of adults behind bars has grown nearly four-fold since 1990, from an average daily population of 6,533 to 23,345 in 2008.

Iowa's inmate population increased from 7,231 in fiscal year 1999 to 8,806, as of June 30, 2007. Current projections peg the population to grow to more than 9,700 prisoners by 2017, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Forecast.

To taxpayers, the most alarming figure might be the ballooning cost of the corrections system. Total state prison expenditures have soared from about $10.6 billion in 1987 to more than $44 billion last year, according to the Pew Center report.
- Like I've said before, prison is a business and business is good, apparently!

Iowa, like just about every other state, will spend tens of millions of dollars more adding prison cells to meet the needs of its growing population.

Tough all over

When Ken Runde began his law enforcement career more than three decades ago at the Dubuque County Sheriff's Department, the 46-bed jail rarely took in 10 "guests" a night.

Much has changed in 33 years.

Runde is now Dubuque County's sheriff, presiding over an expanded jail, with 212 beds and built for business.

Before the facility opened in 2004, overcrowding was a daily battle. The county constantly found itself shipping inmates to other jurisdictions, a situation that racked up as much as a half-million-dollar annual bill for taxpayers.

Today, the jail counts, on average, anywhere from 80 to 100 inmates per day, far less than half its capacity. In a reversal of fortune, many of the inmates come from other jurisdictions, including the perpetually overcrowded federal corrections system.

Typically, the jail has counted on about $1 million per year in revenue; this year, thanks to a steady flow of other people's prisoners, the jail expects to generate about $1.7 million.

"We didn't build the jail to make money, we built it to compensate for our needs," Runde said. "Needless to say, our population hasn't grown extensively since it opened.

"We didn't look at this as a huge moneymaker, but it is a nice way to recoup the money we spent so many years housing people."
- In other words, it's a business and they are making a ton of money!

It's safe to say, in a land of rapidly rising inmate populations and skyrocketing corrections costs, prisons and jails aren't often moneymakers for taxpayers.

Colin Fulrath, too, has seen a marked change in inmate numbers over his 31-year career with the Jo Daviess County (Ill.) Sheriff's Department.

"When I started as a jailer, we only had maybe two or three prisoners in a day," said Fulrath, who now serves as the county's chief deputy. "Right now it's about full all the time, and we can hold 26 prisoners."

The law enforcement official said the county isn't to the point where overcrowding is a common problem, but the rise in drug crimes and other offenses in the tri-states could strain Jo Daviess County resources, similar to the constant state of overcrowding the nearby Grant County (Wis.) Jail has lived under for several years -- at an escalating cost.

Something happened

So what's driving the ever-rising incarceration rate? Experts continue to debate the causes: the prevalence of violence, the breakdown of the family, political populism.

But one researcher asserts you can pinpoint the origin of the inmate boom to two prominent players: Tip O'Neill and Len Bias.

It was 1986, and University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias was seen as the next dynasty maker for the Boston Celtics, the NBA's winningest franchise. Bias had just been drafted by the Celtics when he dropped over dead, with initial reports erroneously indicating crack cocaine had killed him.

Months later a teammate testified Bias had snorted powder cocaine hours before he died, but the damage, so to speak, was done.

Fueled by angry Boston constituents incensed by what they believed to be the drug that killed their rising star, Tip O'Neill, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, led a federal effort to place stiff penalties on the distribution and use of crack -- much stiffer than those levied against the more refined powder cocaine.

"The reaction from Tip O'Neill was to jack the penalties through the roof, and a lot of states followed suit," said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States.

Mandatory minimums for crimes involving crack cocaine quickly put tens of thousands of people behind bars for much longer periods of time.

Comparably cheaper crack, selling on the streets for as little as $5 per rock, became the drug of choice among urban minorities. Consequently, American justice over the past two-plus decades has come down to a question of color: black and brown.

The numbers tell the tale:

  • 1 in 15 black men 18 and older is incarcerated in America, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • 1 in 9 black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars.
  • 1 in 36 Hispanic men is locked up in jail or prison.
  • Meanwhile, the incarceration rate for white men 18 and older is 1 in 106.

"The U.S. Department of Justice shows that for Hispanic and black men, for instance, imprisonment is far more prevalent a reality than it is for white men," the Pew Center report states.

In December, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, charged with setting guidelines for federal cases, trimmed the length of sentences on crack violations. It also voted to make the reductions retroactive, a move freeing 19,500 inmates, the vast majority black.

But Gelb and others argue that years of politicizing crime and punishment has placed an onerous financial and social burden on the backs of taxpayers.

It's a difficult balancing act, however, in the land of political capital. In recent years, legislatures have pushed through longer sentences for everything from the latest drug scourge of methamphetamine to sex offenses -- typically responding to a public demanding justice, often in the face of heinous, high-profile crimes.

But the tougher stance has come with a hefty cost and the payoff, many criminal justice experts assert, has been suspect at best.

"There isn't a person in public office that's not sensitive to the accusation of being soft on crime. But you don't have to be soft on crime to be smart in dealing with criminals," Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland said in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch on Jan. 26.

So now what?

For people like Kyle Stewart, serving on the front lines of human rehabilitation, the answer to America's costly system of incarceration comes down to community.

Stewart, probation/parole supervisor for the First Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, with an office in Dubuque, supervises an office of 19 probation/parole officers and a growing lineup of community-based programming. He said it's all about what works, so-called evidence-based practices that are making a difference in successfully transitioning people from prison back into society.

"About 96 percent (of Iowa's inmates) will get out of prison. What do you do with them?" Stewart said. "We need to do something different. We need to find out what these individuals can do to make changes in their lives."

It begins with more meticulous assessment, gauging risk. Stewart said high-risk offenders are exactly why prisons are built, to keep society safe. But it's those in the low-risk category, the ones who just might be willing to do something with another chance, where community-based programming is earning its keep.

Initiatives involve everything from intensive probation and sex-offender tracking to drug courts and mental-health jail-diversion programs. Success can be as simple and complicated as identifying mental illnesses and the right medications, especially critical given that more than half of those arrested in the district have some form of mental-health problem, Stewart said.
- I disagree with sex offender tracking. If they are out of jail/prison, then apparently they are not a high-risk, and GPS cost tons of money and doesn't really work. If someone is high-risk and out of jail/prison, recent news articles show that they will cut off the GPS device. So if they are a threat and need to be watched constantly, why are they out of prison?

The savings to taxpayers can be pronounced, according to the most recent data. The cost to house an inmate in the Iowa prison system is more than $76 per day, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections. Standard supervision of a probation case is estimated to cost about $3.70 per day and as high as $7.59 per day for intensive supervision, Stewart said.

The Pew Center's Gelb said effective community programs can range from as little as a couple hundred dollars for anger-management sessions to as much as $7,000 for extensive probation initiatives.

Lettie Prell, research director for the Iowa Department of Corrections, said a number of re-entry pilot programs have shown lower recidivism rates, and enhanced work-release programs are providing much-needed structure in transition.

Iowa last year saw a small decline in its prison population for the first time in several years, Prell said. But that doesn't appear to be a trend in the making.

"The prison population is expected to start increasing shortly and in the long-term because of the accumulation of long-term inmates in the prison system," Prell said, pointing to a state corrections census that includes more than 600 lifers.

Nationally, it doesn't appear the prison building boom will end anytime soon, even as governments struggle with tighter budget constraints and increasing service demands.

"We can't continue to build prison after prison at taxpayers' expense," Stewart said. "We have to try something different."


GA - Report of Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer on CPS Corruption


Note from the Fight CPS webmaster: This is a very important report written by a Senator in Georgia. Please read the entire report, download the PDF, print it to give to your lawyers, caseworkers, local newspaper editors, state and federal senators and congressmen, CASA workers in your area, and whoever else you believe might benefit from reading the truth about CPS from the viewpoint of a Senator. Though this Senator is from Georgia, her report is about all state child protective services agencies. Thank-you, Senator Schaefer, for investigating and writing this report! - ljm




From the legislative desk of Senator Nancy Schaefer 50th District of Georgia

November 16, 2007

THE CORRUPT BUSINESS OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

BY: Nancy Schaefer
Senator, 50th District

My introduction into child protective service cases was due to a grandmother in an adjoining state who called me with her tragic story. Her two granddaughters had been taken from her daughter who lived in my district. Her daughter was told wrongly that if she wanted to see her children again she should sign a paper and give up her children. Frightened and young, the daughter did. I have since discovered that parents are often threatened into cooperation of permanent separation of their children.

The children were taken to another county and placed in foster care. The foster parents were told wrongly that they could adopt the children. The grandmother then jumped through every hoop known to man in order to get her granddaughters. When the case finally came to court it was made evident by one of the foster parent’s children that the foster parents had, at any given time, 18 foster children and that the foster mother had an inappropriate relationship with the caseworker.

In the courtroom, the juvenile judge, acted as though she was shocked and said the two girls would be removed quickly. They were not removed. Finally, after much pressure being applied to the Department of Family and Children Services of Georgia (DFCS), the children were driven to South Georgia to meet their grandmother who gladly drove to meet them. After being with their grandmother two or three days, the judge, quite out of the blue, wrote up a new order to send the girls to their father, who previously had no interest in the case and who lived on the West Coast. The father was in “adult entertainment”. His girlfriend worked as an “escort” and his brother, who also worked in the business, had a sexual charge brought against him.

Within a couple of days the father was knocking on the grandmother’s door and took the girls kicking and screaming to California.

The father developed an unusual relationship with the former foster parents and soon moved back to the southeast, and the foster parents began driving to the father’s residence and picking up the little girls for visits. The oldest child had told her mother and grandmother on two different occasions that the foster father molested her.

To this day after five years, this loving, caring blood relative grandmother does not even have visitation privileges with the children. The little girls are in my opinion permanently traumatized and the young mother of the girls was so traumatized with shock when the girls were first removed from her that she has not recovered.

Throughout this case and through the process of dealing with multiple other mismanaged cases of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), I have worked with other desperate parents and children across the state because they have no rights and no one with whom to turn. I have witnessed ruthless behavior from many caseworkers, social workers, investigators, lawyers, judges, therapists, and others such as those who “pick up” the children. I have been stunned by what I have seen and heard from victims all over the sta te of Georgia.

In this report, I am focusing on the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). However, I believe Child Protective Services nationwide has become corrupt and that the entire system is broken almost beyond repair. I am convinced parents and families should be warned of the dangers.

The Department of Child Protective Services, known as the Department of Family and Children Service (DFCS) in Georgia and other titles in other states, has become a “protected empire” built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection. This report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in “legal kidnapping,” ineffective policies, and DFCS who do does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse. (See Exhibit A and Exhibit B)

In one county in my District, I arranged a meeting for thirty-seven families to speak freely and without fear. These poor parents and grandparents spoke of their painful, heart wrenching encounters with DFCS. Their suffering was overwhelming. They wept and cried. Some did not know where their children were and had not seen them in years. I had witnessed the “Gestapo” at work and I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals, off of school uses, and out of homes. In one county a private drug testing business was operating within the DFCS department that required many, many drug tests from parents and individuals for profit. In another county children were not removed when they were enduring the worst possible abuse. Due to being exposed, several employees in a particular DFCS office were fired. However, they have now been rehired either in neighboring counties or in the same county again. According to the calls I am now receiving, the conditions in that county are returning to the same practices that they had before the light was shown on their deeds. Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.

I have come to the conclusion:

· that poor parents often times are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the where-with-all to hire lawyers and fight the system. Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child, or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers;

· that all parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean your children are always to be removed from the home. Even if the home is not perfect, it is home; and that’s where a child is the safest and where he or she wants to be, with family;

· that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses” for not returning children;

· that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;

· that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;

· that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.

· that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton, offered cash “bonuses” to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the “adoption incentive bonuses” local child protective services need more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have plenty of them so the buyer can choose. Some counties are known to give a $4,000 bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child. Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing;

· that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved;

· that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together;

· that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in government that is forced upon the tax payer;

· that the “Policy Manuel” is considered “the last word” for DFCS. However, it is too long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;

· that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there might be a greater need for protective services, but today all children are not always safer. Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a Foster Parents Association in my District was recently arrested because of child molestation;

· that some parents are even told if they want to see their children or grandchildren, they must divorce their spouse. Many, who are under privileged, feeling they have no option, will divorce and then just continue to live together. This is an anti-family policy, but parents will do anything to get their children home with them.

· fathers, (non-custodial parents) I must add, are oftentimes treated as criminals without access to their own children and have child support payments strangling the very life out of them;

· that the Foster Parents Bill of Rights does not bring out that a foster parent is there only to care for a child until the child can be returned home. Many Foster Parents today use the Foster Parent Bill of Rights to hire a lawyer and seek to adopt the child from the real parents, who are desperately trying to get their child home and out of the system;

· that tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat, yet the victims,
parents, grandparents, guardians and especially the children, are charged for the
system’s services.

· that grandparents have called from all over the State of Georgia trying to get custody of their grandchildren. DFCS claims relatives are contacted, but there are cases that prove differently. Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to their heirs.

· that The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to official “safety”, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual molestation than in the general population.

· That according to the California Little Hoover Commission Report in 2003, 30% to 70% of the children in California group homes do not belong there and should not have been removed from their homes.

FINAL REMARKS

On my desk are scores of cases of exhausted families and troubled children. It has been beyond me to turn my back on these suffering, crying, and sometimes beaten down individuals. We are mistreating the most innocent. Child Protective Services have become adult centered to the detriment of children. No longer is judgment based on what the child needs or who the child wants to be with or what is really best for the whole family; it is some adult or bureaucrat who makes the decisions, based often on just hearsay, without ever consulting a family member, or just what is convenient, profitable, or less troublesome for a director of DFCS.

I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to these families that I am not sure if I even believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so. Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set our children and families free.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy” Proverbs 31:8-9

Please continue to read:

Recommendations
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Call for an independent audit of the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to expose corruption and fraud.

2. Activate immediate change. Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.

3. End the financial incentives that separate families.

4. Grant to parents their rights in writing.

5. Mandate a search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives.

6. Mandate a jury trial where every piece of evidence is presented before removing a child from his or her parents.

7. Require a warrant or a positive emergency circumstance before removing children from their parents. (Judge Arthur G. Christean, Utah Bar Journal, January, 1997 reported that “except in emergency circumstances, including the need for immediate medical care, require warrants upon affidavits of probable cause before entry upon private property is permitted for the forcible removal of children from their parents.”)

8. Uphold the laws when someone fabricates or presents false evidence. If a parent alleges fraud, hold a hearing with the right to discovery of all evidence.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia

EXHIBIT A

December 5, 2006
Jeremy’s Story

( Some names withheld due to future hearings)

As told to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sandra (XXXX), a foster parent of Jeremy for 2 ½ years.

My husband and I received Jeremy when he was 2 weeks old and we have been the only parents he has really ever known. He lived with us for 27 months. (XXXX) is the grandfather of Jeremy, and he is known for molesting his own children, for molesting Jeremy and has been court ordered not to be around Jeremy. (XXXX) is the mother of Jeremy, who has been diagnosed to be mentally ill, and also is known to have molested Jeremy. (XXXX) and Jeremy’s uncle is a registered sex offender and (XXXX) is the biological father, who is a drug addict and alcoholic and who continues to be in and out of jail. Having just described Jeremy’s world, all of these adults are not to be any part of Jeremy’s life, yet for years DFCS has known that they are. DFCS had to test (XXXX) (the grandfather) and his son (XXXX) (the uncle) and (XXXX) to determine the real father. (XXXX) is the biological father although any of them might have been. In court, it appeared from the case study, that everyone involved knew that this little boy had been molested by family members, even by his own mother, (XXXX). In court, (XXX), the mother of Jeremy, admitted to having had sex with (XXXX) (the grandfather) and (XXXX) (her own brother) that morning. Judge (XXXX) and DFCS gave Jeremy to his grandmother that same day. (XXXX), the grandmother, is over 300 lbs., is unable to drive, and is unable to take care of Jeremy due to physical problems. She also has been in a mental hospital several times due to her behavior. Even though it was ordered by the court that the grandfather (XXXX), the uncle (XXXX) (a convicted sex offender), (XXXX) his mother who molested him and (XXXX) his biological father, a convicted drug addict, were not to have anything to do with the child, they all continue to come and go as they please at (XXXX address), where Jeremy has been “sentenced to live” for years. This residence has no bathroom and little heat. The front door and the windows are boarded. (See pictures) This home should have been condemned years ago. I have been in this home. No child should ever have to live like this or with such people. Jeremy was taken from us at age 2 ½ years after (XXXX) obtained attorney (XXXX), who was the same attorney who represented him in a large settlement from an auto accident. I am told, that attorney (XXXX), as grandfather’s attorney, is known to have repeatedly gotten (XXXX) off of several criminal charges in White County. This is a matter of record and is known by many in White County. I have copies of some records. (XXXX grandfather), through (XXXX attorney’s) work, got (XXXX), the grandmother of Jeremy, legal custody of Jeremy. (XXXX grandfather) who cannot read or write also got his daughter (XXXX) and son (XXXX) diagnosed by government agencies as mentally ill. (XXXX grandfather), through legal channels, has taken upon himself all control of the family and is able to take possession of any government funding coming to these people.

It was during this time that Jeremy was to have a six-month transitional period between (XXXX grandmother) and my family as we were to give him up. The court ordered agreement was to have been 4 days at our house and 3 days at (XXXX grandmother). DFCS stopped the visits within 2 weeks. The reason given by DFCS was the child was too traumatized going back and forth. In truth, Jeremy begged us and screamed never to be taken back to (XXXX his grandmother) house, which we have on video. We, as a family, have seen Jeremy in stores time to time with (XXXX grandmother) and the very people he is not to be around. At each meeting Jeremy continues to run to us wherever he sees us and it is clear he is suffering. This child is in a desperate situation and this is why I am writing, and begging you Senator Schaefer, to do something in this child’s behalf. Jeremy can clearly describe in detail his sexual molestation by every member of this family and this sexual abuse continues to this day.

When Jeremy was 5 years of age I took him to Dr. (XXXX) of Habersham County who did indeed agree that Jeremy’s rectum was black and blue and the physical damage to the child was clearly a case of sexual molestation.

Early in Jeremy’s life, when he was in such bad physical condition, we took him to Egleston Children Hospital where at two months of age therapy was to begin three times a week. DFCS decided that the (XXXX grandparent family) should participate in his therapy. However, the therapist complained over and over that the (XXXX grandparent family) would not even wash their hands and would cause Jeremy to cry during these sessions. (XXXX the grandmother), after receiving custody no longer allowed the therapy because it was an inconvenience. The therapist reported that this would be a terrible thing to do to this child. Therapy was stopped and it was detrimental to the health of Jeremy. During (XXXX grandmother) custody, (XXXX uncle) has shot Jeremy with a BB gun and there is a report at (XXXX) County Sheriff’s office. There are several amber alerts at Cornelia Wal-Mart, Commerce Wal-Mart, and a 911 report from (XXXX) County Sheriff’s Department when Jeremy was lost. (XXXX grandmother), to teach Jeremy a lesson, took thorn bush limbs and beat the bottoms of his feet. Jeremy’s feet got infected and his feet had to be lanced by Dr. (XXXX). Then Judy called me to pick him up after about 4 days to take back him to the doctor because of intense pain. I took Jeremy to Dr. (XXXX) in Gainesville. Dr. (XXXX) said surgery was needed immediately and a cast was added. After returning home, (XXXX), his grandfather and (XXXX), his uncle, took him into the hog lot and allowed him to walk in the filth.

Jeremy’s feet became so infected for a 2nd time that he was again taken back to Dr. (XXXX) and the hospital. No one in the hospital could believe this child’s living conditions. Jeremy is threatened to keep quiet and not say anything to anyone. I have videos, reports, arrest records and almost anything you might need to help Jeremy. Please call my husband, Wendell, or me at any time.

Sandra and (XXXX) husband (XXXX)

EXHIBIT B

Failure of DFCS to remove six desperate children

A brief report regarding six children that Habersham County DFCS director failed to remove as disclosed to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sheriff Deray Fincher of Habersham County.

Sheriff Deray Fincher, Chief of Police Don Ford and Chief Investigator Lt. Greg Bowen Chief called me to meet with them immediately, which I did on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 Sheriff Fincher, after contacting the Director of Habersham County DFCS several times to remove six children from being horribly abused, finally had to get a court order to remove the children himself with the help of two police officers.

The children, four boys and two girls, were not just being abused; they were being tortured by a monster father.

The six children and a live in girl friend were terrified of this man, the abuser. The children never slept in a bed, but always on the floor. The place where they lived was unfit for human habitation.

The father on one occasion hit one of the boys across his head with a bat and cut the boy’s head open. The father then proceeded to hold the boy down and sew up the child’s head with a needle and red thread. However, even with beatings and burnings, this is only a fraction of what the father did to these children and to the live-in girlfriend.

Sheriff Fincher has pictures of the abuse and condition of one of the boys and at the writing of this report, he has the father in jail in Habersham County.

It should be noted that when the DFCS director found out that Sheriff Fincher was going to remove the children, she called the father and warned him to flee.

This is not the only time this DFCS director failed to remove a child when she needed to do so. (See Exhibit A)

The egregious acts and abhorrent behavior of officials who are supposed to protect children can no longer be tolerated.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia

(originally posted 12/5/07 at FightCPS.Com)


MI - Courts, prisons fail in treatment, intervention for mentally disordered

View the article here

05/18/2008

IONIA -- Terry Casha's fate, the path that led him to a prison cell in Ionia, likely was determined before he was born.

He came into the world weighing a little more than 2 pounds and was not expected to live. His twin sister died a few months later with extensive brain damage.

He went from the hospital to foster care, then was adopted by parents who nurtured him and loved him the same as they did their six biological children. But whatever care they gave him was not enough to overcome the burden inflicted on him by his birth mother, an alcoholic who drank throughout her pregnancy.

Other Michigan inmates, such as Chad Childers, whose medicine to control paranoid schizophrenia was taken away, represent persistent claims that mental illnesses do not get proper treatment in prison. Terry Casha's story, however, shows other parts of the justice system also can be blind to the disorders.

For his first 18 years, Casha stayed out of trouble, followed the rules. Only after he graduated and went out on his own did the trouble begin. He couldn't hold a job. He lost his apartment and ended up living in the missions and on the streets of Grand Rapids. He had minor brushes with the law -- driving on a suspended license, urinating in public -- then the major one that landed him in prison.

He has been told he has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, the umbrella term for a range of disabilities, but he can't describe how it affects him.

"I just am what I am," he said, sitting in a small room in the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, while a couple of guards watched from beyond two thick panes of glass. "From what I'm understanding about the disease, it is bad. It's kind of hard for me to describe it. It's just something I got to live with, basically."

He's 32 but has the emotional development of a person perhaps half his age. Those who suffer from the disorder need supervision and structure, a routine, to keep them from getting in trouble, experts say.

No one knows how many of the 51,000 inmates in Michigan's prisons suffered brain damage due to prenatal alcohol exposure, but a University of Washington study found half of those with the disorder end up in prisons or mental institutions.

Yet few states recognize fetal alcohol as a mitigating factor in criminal cases, and Michigan's prisons offer no programs to treat it.

That's why Kathryn Kelly recently came to Grand Rapids. She is a project director in the University of Washington's Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, the only program in the country that tries to help people with fetal alcohol disorders stay out of trouble.

She met with Kent County District Court officials to discuss creating a similar program in Grand Rapids.

A downward spiral

Terry Casha did not begin speaking until he was nearly 4 years old. He attended special education classes in St. Clair Shores, where the family lived. As a teen, he came to live with his brother Jerry in Wyoming, attended Wyoming Park High School, then graduated from Allendale High School.

Jerry taught him welding, hired him to work in his shop, but fired him for continually failing to show up for work, a pattern that repeated itself as his life began a downward spiral of lost jobs and minor scrapes with the law.

"I don't think he understands the consequences for what he's doing," Jerry said recently. "I could never explain to him, 'Terry, you can't go out and drive if you don't have a driver's license.' He doesn't understand it. He thinks for the moment."

With no income, Terry was evicted from his apartment and ended up living in the Guiding Light and Mel Trotter missions in Grand Rapids.

In 2003, in a mosh pit at a concert in Rosa Parks Circle, he touched a young woman's breast. When a police officer tried to arrest him, Terry ran. He was tackled and charged with criminal sexual conduct and assault for resisting arrest.

He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a misdemeanor, and was placed on the state's sex offender list. When the people at Mel Trotter learned he was on the list, they kicked him out, since under state law, no registered sex offenders may live within 1,000 feet of a school. With Catholic Central High in the neighborhood, the Guiding Light also was off limits.

So he lived on the streets, then moved in with a friend -- or a man he thought was a friend -- at a house in Cascade Township. His housemate once dumped an ashtray in his mouth while he slept, poured urine in his ear and pushed him down the stairs, but Casha never fought back.

At a party in that neighborhood, he met a girl, and a few days later, April 1, 2006, they walked together to a store to buy liquor and cigarettes. What happened next is in dispute. She said he raped her. He said she seduced him.

When her parents found out, they came to the house, dragged Casha onto the porch and beat him. The police arrested him, charging him with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Casha admitted he had sex with the girl, but he insisted it was consensual.

Legally, it was irrelevant whether she consented or was forcibly raped. The fact she was two months short of her 16th birthday made it a crime. Casha insisted he thought she was much older, and five people signed affidavits saying the girl was sexually promiscuous with older men and often lied about her age.

A plea for leniency

Despite that, Casha pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct -- having sex with a minor -- and thought he'd get off with a short jail term. At his sentencing last October, his attorney pleaded for leniency and submitted a report by a psychologist who warned that Casha could be easily victimized in prison.

"A very high level adult foster care situation may, in fact, be appropriate for Terry," the psychologist wrote. But Kent County Circuit Judge Donald Johnston sentenced him to 7-15 years.

"If fetal alcohol syndrome causes Mr. Casha to commit crimes of this sort, then, clearly, he needs to be institutionalized," he said. "If he's out and about under his own power, then he has to be held responsible by the same standards as anyone else."

Some months later, Johnston said state law gave him no choice, and Michigan has no facility for people with the disorder.

"Unfortunately, the only structured environment we have is the Michigan Department of Corrections," he said, but added: "Between you and me and the lamp post, I don't know too many people who get better in prison."

A mother's anguish

Anna Casha never thought she'd visit one of her children in prison. At 81, she dreaded it, but came anyway from her home in Bloomfield Hills to Bellamy Creek.

Inside the prison, she and two of her other sons, Jim and Jerry, were patted down and removed their shoes and socks to prove they were not smuggling in drugs. After a long wait, they sat across from Terry in a room filled with other visitors and inmates.

"It tears me apart," Anna said, especially the children who come to visit their fathers. "They're all in the same boat."

Her anguish is multiplied by two. Anna and her husband raised their six biological children and took in 15 foster kids, adopting two of them. Her biological children all have stable lives and careers. Her two adopted sons, Terry and Billy, both went to prison. She knows less about Billy's prenatal care, but suspects he, too, has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. He has done two terms for stealing and domestic abuse.

"I worry a lot," Anna Casha said. "I pray when I open my eyes in the morning and when I go to bed at night. The thing is, they're not bad kids. They are good kids. They are sick. I never stopped loving them, and I will love them until the day I close my eyes, because they are mine."

A hope for freedom

For Jim Casha, a civil engineer who lives in Virginia, winning Terry's freedom is an obsession. He writes letters, makes phone calls, sends faxes and e-mails to anyone he believes can help.

When Terry was 3 or 4 years old, he fell into the family's backyard pool. Jim, then in his early 20s, dived in and saved him. When Jim was 25, he promised their mother he'd always look after Terry.

For a while, Terry lived with Jim and his wife, but, when Terry's drinking caused tension in the family, they asked him to leave.

"My God, what have I done?" Jim said, the day before visiting his brother in prison.

"Why didn't I help him? I knew he could not handle his own affairs. I should have been more diligent in making sure he had what he needed. He needs a group home, someone to manage his affairs"

Terry said he appreciates his family's concern, but he expects he will spend many more years in prison. He won't have his first parole hearing for five years. He has heard the parole board doesn't release most sex offenders until they have served the maximum.

"I'm gonna do 15 years," he said. "When I get out, I gotta worry about my neighbors, because I'm a sex offender. They can burn down my house, and I can't even have a gun to protect myself.

"Who's gonna hire me? Who's gonna rent me a house? Who?"


Sex offenders on probation: setting them up to fail

Originally From "A Public Defender" Blog Here

05/18/2008

Sex offenders are the modern witches. There are so many things that rankle when it comes to society’s increased crackdown on sex offenders and their subsequent treatment, but one that never fails to get to me is their ridiculously unfair treatment on probation.

True, there are some that need the intense supervision, that should not be permitted to intermingle with society, but those with the highest risk are the fewest in number.

Nuance in treatment, however, doesn’t seem to exist. So the heavy chains of probationary conditions apply to all “sex offenders” across the board: be it the 19 year old who had sex with his 15 year old girlfriend or the sex offender convicted of inappropriate touching as opposed to the serial rapist.

To begin with, when a pre-sentence investigation report is prepared prior to sentencing, the probation officer is free to replace the results of any evaluation with his/her own “judgment”. I often see reports in which they state that the defendant was evaluated as having a very low risk of re-offending, yet, because in the probation officer’s judgment there were multiple victims, the defendant is actually a medium-to-high risk of re-offending. I’ve seen that recommendation even in cases where the defendant was convicted of assaulting one victim and acquitted of the others. So now we have somenoe with no appropriate training making these judgments and thereby controlling the destiny of a defendant.

When a defendant then starts probation, he is expected to undergo sex offender treatment. It doesn’t matter if he maintains his innocence or if he pled under the Alford doctrine [1]. If he fails to admit [2], then he has violated his probation.

So, probations now offers an attractive alternative to defendants: take a polygraph. If they pass, they will not have to admit. If they fail, they must admit.

Polygraph testing is an inexact science and the results are unreliable. The results are open to interpretation and subject to the view of the examiner and are generally inadmissible in CT courts (See State v. Porter, 241 Conn. 57). So while the polygraph examiner on the State’s payroll might say that the defendant failed the polygraph, an independent examiner might well say he passed. However, the State routinely uses the failed polygraph to institute violation of probation proceedings, notwithstanding an otherwise unblemished record on probation.

There is also a split among prosecutors in their reliance on polygraphs (at least that I have seen). Some leave it up to probation to determine whether a defendant is in compliance while others view defendants passing a polygraph and not having to admit as violating probation (because they didn’t actually admit to their crimes).

It doesn’t end there, however. These polygraphers don’t limit their questions to the crime for which the defendant has been convicted. They start asking more general questions: “Have you ever molested someone else?”, “Have you committed another crime for which you haven’t been caught?” There is no Fifth Amendment protection. These questions have been deemed legitimate and the responses can often lead to a violation of probation. Even if the answers to questions about the crime for which the defendant is on probation are deemed “honest”, if the answers to other questions, about other supposed crimes are “deceitful”, then the defendant is written up for failing to pass the polygraph and a warrant issues.

Defendants then come to us to seek advice. There really is nothing we can tell them. “Yes, I know you maintain your innocence. Yes you did not do this. However, they can force you to admit”.

The only option available is to indirectly advise the client to “tell probation what they want to hear”, which, in my opinion, is an untenable option.

While polygraph results may or may not be admissible in a VOP hearing, they certainly can be used by a judge in determining what sentence to impose after a violation is found. The outcome is generally not good.

So the sex offender on probation is essentially screwed. Whether it is registration, residency restrictions or the onerous “treatment” conditions.

I wonder what this does for treatment of sex offenders. I’m sure some of them lie and admit, just to get it over with. Is that what we really want? Is admission of the crime such a necessary part of this “treatment” and why are prosecutors, probation officers and judges so hung up on this admission. If the probationer shows a pattern of non-compliance, then I understand issuing a warrant. If, however, this is the only blemish on an otherwise satisfactory record of compliance, then is it really worth it? Don’t we have enough people in prisons already?

1. State v. Faraday, 268 Conn. 174 (2004). 2. State v. Bruce T., 98 Conn. App. 579 (2006).


TX - Sanctions urged against lying prosecutors

View the article here

So why aren't they all in prison for committing a crime? Does Mike NiFong ring a bell to anybody?

05/05/2008

Withholding evidence is a crime, DA says amid rash of wrongful convictions

DALLAS - A district attorney whose office leads the nation in wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing says prosecutors who intentionally withhold evidence from the defense should face criminal charges or other harsh sanctions.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said he's considering a campaign to mandate disbarment of any prosecutor who doesn't reveal evidence that could help a defendant. The worst offenders might deserve prison time, he said.

"Something should be done," Watkins told The Dallas Morning News in an interview published in Sunday's editions. "If the harm is a great harm, yes, it should be criminalized."

Since 2001, DNA tests have formally exonerated 31 people in Texas, 17 of them in Dallas County, both figures the highest in the U.S.

State has paid compensation in 45 cases
The state has paid compensation in 45 wrongful conviction cases. At least 22 of them involved prosecutors withholding evidence from the defense, including 19 from the infamous drug case in the Panhandle town of Tulia that were based on the work of a discredited undercover investigator. The other three were in Dallas County.

James Curtis Giles, who was wrongly convicted in a 1982 gang rape after the victim incorrectly picked him from a photo lineup and prosecutors withheld the confession of a co-defendant, said harsh sanctions make sense.

"A crime is a crime," Giles said. "We've got to set an example — prison time or barred from practicing law."
- I vote for both!!

There's no law in Texas calling for criminal charges for prosecutors who intentionally withhold evidence. But the Innocence Project of Texas, a nonprofit legal clinic that worked to free many of the Dallas County exonerees, plans to push for it in the session that starts in January.

Michelle Moore, a board member of the Innocence Project and a Dallas County public defender, speculated chances of legislative success were "slim to none." State prosecutors are a powerful lobby in Austin.

Criminalization has some lawmaker support
However, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, chief author of the Texas law that created the compensation system for wrongfully convicted inmates, said he would support criminalization.

"What better way to get to the truth?" said Ellis, who plans to chair a summit on wrongful convictions Thursday in Austin. "Why wouldn't we have a criminal statute to keep prosecutors from lying when they know the truth?"

The State Bar of Texas oversees the conduct of lawyers, but it does not prosecute crimes and, legal experts say, rarely sanctions prosecutors for misconduct.

Without strong action from the state bar, Watkins said he would fire any prosecutor who intentionally withholds evidence. Two prosecutors accused of such violations already have resigned.


OH - Judge finds Ohio sex offender law unconstitutional

View the article here

05/18/2008

CLEVELAND (AP) - A state law that requires increasing the length of time convicted sex offenders must register with police is unconstitutional, a judge ruled.

The law, which took effect in January, wrongfully increases punishment without a court hearing and is applied to offenders who committed crimes before the law was passed in 2007, said Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Suster.

Suster, who issued the ruling last week in a case involving a man convicted of sexual battery in 2003, said the law's intention is "to punish and ostracize this unpopular group," rather than enhance public safety.

The state Legislature passed the law last year to comply with a federal one that requires states to increase sex offender registration requirements by 2009 or lose some federal funding. The federal law is named after Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old Florida boy abducted and killed in 1981.

The state has about 23,000 registered sex offenders under eight classifications. Under the new law, offenders are classified under a three-tier system. It requires longer registration times for felons and mandatory community notification for some offenders once considered low level.

The goal was to prevent sex offenders from slipping through the cracks and committing other sex crimes.

Suster's ruling backs the arguments made in a federal class-action lawsuit filed in January by the Cuyahoga County Public Defender's Office on behalf of sex offender registrants statewide.

The law "goes beyond mere 'official archives of criminal records' into a system that effectively ostracizes offenders and subjects the offenders to harassment and ridicule as well as potential abuse," Suster wrote.

The ruling prevents the state from enforcing the law against Tremaine Evans, 30, who was convicted of sexual battery in 2003 and served a year in prison.

Evans was instructed to register every year for 10 years as a sexually oriented offender. Under the new law, he had been reclassified as a Tier III sex offender who must register every 90 days, notify neighbors of his criminal record and live by residency restrictions for the rest of his life.

Evans' challenge was one of nearly 1,000 filed in Cuyahoga County this year, according to the Cuyahoga County Public Defender's Office.

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office, which handled the case, has 30 days to appeal. The Ohio attorney general's office is prepared help the county defend the constitutionality of the law, said Jennifer Brindisi, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

A judge in Clermont County near Cincinnati upheld the law in a February ruling, as did a different Cuyahoga County judge earlier this month, Brindisi said.


FL - Sexual predator rules are often costly for cities to enforce

View the article here
List of all residential restrictions that limit where sex offenders can live

05/18/2008

Amid cutbacks, some cities pay to prosecute and defend sex offenders who move in.

A few years ago, a movement began to spread across Florida aimed at protecting children from known sex offenders. One by one, cities made it harder for child predators to move into their borders by restricting where they could live.
- These laws are about sex offenders, not necessarily pedophiles, predators or child molesters, but sex offenders in general. I wish these idiotic reporters would stop using these terms and stick to using "sex offenders!"

But what seemed like a simple solution for Florida cities such as Deltona and others has become increasingly complex.

Cities face a quandary: If they want to enforce their tough rules, they have to pay to prosecute offenders. Recently, they learned that they may also have to pay attorneys to defend the same people.

During the past three years, 120 cities and counties have adopted ordinances limiting offenders to areas as far as a half-mile away from schools, parks, bus stops and day-care centers.

In Deltona, which has almost zoned sex offenders out of the city, officials are fighting a Volusia County court's order last fall to pay the legal bills for three offenders. While Deltona awaits the result of its appeal, it has stopped trying to force out other offenders.

Meanwhile, 30 offenders have moved into Deltona or switched homes in the past six months, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which helps monitor offenders.

Making matters worse is a budget squeeze as cities get less in property-tax money. Deltona Commissioner Janet Deyette said it will be tough to come up with enough to pay attorneys for offenders, too.

"All the cities are hurting," she said. "Here we're trying to protect the public, and it's going to cost us more."

Two weeks ago, an appellate court in West Palm Beach decided that cities must provide attorneys for indigent offenders accused of violating a city ordinance. Legal scholars said that ruling will weigh heavily on the Volusia court's decision.

Some cities expand the zone

State law already forbids many offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools and other places children congregate. If an offender breaks that law, the state foots the bill to prosecute them through the State Attorney's Office and defend them through the Public Defender's Office.

Many cities didn't think the state went far enough so they adopted rules requiring offenders to stay an extra 500 to 2,000 feet away. But cities are responsible for enforcing the expanded zone.

Attorney Chris Mancini, who writes a legal-issues column for a statewide publication, Buzz Magazine, predicts some cities will back off their ordinances. Some, he said, will press the state to toughen its law. That way, the state would cover the costs.

"You're going to see a real fight over this," said Mancini, who often defends offenders in ordinance-violation cases.

One legislator already has tried to beef up the law, extending the state's restricted areas by 500 feet. State Sen. Dave Aronberg (Email), D- Greenacres, didn't get enough support during the spring legislative session, but he plans to introduce it again next year.

Some civil-liberties advocates expect the legal bills to force some cities to loosen or give up their restrictions.

George Griffin, president of the Volusia/Flagler chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, hopes elected leaders will research more effective methods of protecting children. He said he has yet to find a study showing that residential restrictions help.

"Where you live is not the issue -- where you live is just where you are going to sleep at night," Griffin said.

As it is now, it's so hard for offenders to find housing that some are homeless. Others have simply stopped checking in with authorities, so no one knows where they are. The state has lost track of more than 550 offenders who are on probation, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. That number doesn't include the potentially hundreds more offenders who have disappeared and aren't required to check in as often.

"This is the ultimate NIMBY -- not in my backyard," said Aronberg, a former assistant attorney general. "Now we have . . . sex offenders who are underground and many more who are roaming our streets homeless, and that is a dangerous situation. It is a ticking time bomb."

Cities statewide are watching to see what Deltona does.

Fruitland Park in Lake County, for example, isn't enforcing the residential restriction it enacted in 2005 "until the dust settles from all of the lawsuits," said City Manager Ralph Bowers.
- I don't think the dust will settle until the laws are fair or repealed, period!

If Ocoee, which has a 2,500-foot exclusion zone around schools, churches and other areas, has to cover all the legal costs, it would only go after the worst offenders and only as a last resort, said Mayor Scott Vandergrift.

Even if state law doesn't change, Deltona Vice Mayor Michael Carmolingo said he wants his community to keep going after offenders. Deltona's ordinance may need to be tweaked, though, he said, to exclude some lesser offenders.

"We have to protect the families," Carmolingo said. "That's our main objective."
- And how are these draconian laws "protecting" anybody?

Denise-Marie Balona can be reached at dbalona@orlandosentinel.com or 386-851-7916.


MT - Democrat accused of being soft on pedophiles

View the article here

Of course she is. Anytime someone upholds the constitution, they are claimed to be "soft on pedophiles!" It's the typical political gimmick so the other person gets votes. Childish games! And she is apparently a REAL Christian, from the video below. So that explains it, attack the Christian!

05/18/2008

BILLINGS - A Billings Democrat is being attacked by Republicans who say she’s soft on pedophiles, a sign that politics could get ugly this year in legislative swing districts.

In a direct mailing to homes in central Billings, the state GOP is accusing Democratic Sen. Lynda Moss (Email) of giving sex offenders the opportunity to strike again. The glossy two-page mailer depicts two little girls running along a picket fence and poses the question, “Ever wonder how sex offenders even get a chance to repeat their crimes?”
- This kind of crap should not be allowed in politics. If you don't follow the bandwagon, this is what others do, it's sick and pathetic, IMO.

Moss earlier listed protecting children against neighborhood and Internet crimes as two of her accomplishments. She carried a bill in 2005 that made it criminal to solicit sex from children on the Internet.

However, she didn’t support the final version of a 2007 Republican bill to impose mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders. The bill, which was touted as a way to both punish and treat sex offenders, had Moss’ support initially, but lost her vote and a dozen others after the mandatory offender treatment was stripped from the bill. Four Republicans and seven Democrats revoked their support once the treatment language was taken out.

“Several bills were like that,” Moss said last week. “They went over to the House and they were very different when they came out. That bill changed dramatically, and I was very unhappy about that.”

The glossy ad targeting Moss was not mailed by Republican Max Graham, who is seeking his party’s Senate District 26 nomination, but rather by the Montana Republican Party (Email). The flier identifies the law Moss ultimately rejected as the “Jessica Law.” The law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida girl who was raped and killed in 2005 by a previously convicted sex offender.

Several states have passed similar laws setting mandatory minimum sentences for sex offenders and making sex offender treatment mandatory. Some states have more stringent rehabilitation requirements than others. A key part of most of the laws is a requirement that offenders wear satellite tracking devices so they can be monitored for several years after prison release, if not for life.

In Montana, House Republicans amended the treatment language out of the Senate version of Jessica’s Law. Lawmakers argued that the treatment was a waste and that the focus of the law needed to be on prison.

The state Department of Corrections disagreed, arguing that, with treatment, fewer than 2 percent of sex offenders repeat their crimes, while without treatment, one in four sex offenders repeats their crime.

Republican spokesman Jake Eaton said the support of legislation like Jessica’s Law will be a campaign issue in several races this year, not just Moss’. However, Moss won her district by just 61 votes in 2004, and the state Republican Party likes its chances of upsetting her in November.

“This is a swing district and one that’s not always going to be Republican, it’s not always going to be Democrat,” Eaton said. “We’re going to do everything we can to win it.”


VT - Sex assault suspect found dead in car

View the article here

05/17/2008

BRATTLEBORO -- A Rockingham man who pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult was found unconscious in his idling car Friday morning.

Clifford Lee Jones, 46, was transported to Springfield Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to a press release from the Vermont State Police.

Though the release did not state whether or not Jones committed suicide, it did confirm a note was recovered from the car, which was parked at 51 Hall Bridge Road, his place of residence. The press release also stated the death did not appear suspicious.

A post mortem examination was ordered by Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver.

On May 13, Jones was charged with sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult two times in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2007. Jones was released on conditions that he check in three times a week with the Bellows Falls Police Department and that he not contact or abuse the alleged victim.

In 1991, Jones was sentenced in federal court to 18 years and four months in prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, according to a spokesman with the federal Bureau of Corrections.

He was released from federal custody in 2006 with five years of parole to conclude in 2011. In 1991 he was also charged with sexual assault, a conviction that was later vacated, according to his criminal record.


OR - Oregon prison inmate death ruled homicide

View the article here

So how did they get a belt in a correctional institute?

05/15/2008

ONTARIO (AP) — The death of an Oregon prison inmate in Ontario has been ruled a homicide.

Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris said the state medical examiner determined that 61-year-old James Ivan Briggs had been strangled with a belt last Monday at the Snake River Correctional Institution.

Briggs had been an inmate since early 2003 following his conviction in Coos County in late 2002 for sexual penetration, sodomy and sex abuse. He was not set to be released until 2026.

Norris said the name of the suspect in the killing will not be released until the investigation is concluded, which could take several months.
- Why not? They didn't waste any time releasing the sex offenders name!