Sunday, May 23, 2010

CA - Sex offender cuts off ankle monitor goes on rampage

Original Article

Yet more proof that GPS and the sex offender laws will do nothing to prevent another sex crime!

05/23/2010

By Jerrie Dean

A sex offender from Northern California cut off his ankle monitor and ended up in San Diego where he attempted to kidnap several women and teenagers.

_____, 32 was released from state prison in March and was given a GPS bracelet that was put on his ankle. He cut off the ankle monitor with a knife which alerted parole officers who put out a warrant for his arrest. The fugitive apprehension team was also notified.

_____ demanded money from a 17-year-old girl in Chula Vista, and tried to pull a woman into a car an hour later. The woman was stabbed in the arm before she was able to get away. _____ later put a knife to a 13-year-old girl in National City and tried to get her into his car.

"He said, get in the car or I will cut you," said _____, 13. She elbowed _____ and ran away. "If I didn't do that, I wouldn't be here today I didn't want to be one of those cases where you find my remains three years from now," said _____.

_____ was arrested in National City at a park after police found his minivan with the license plate that matched the plate number that a victim he snatch a purse from, gave them.

"This guy is the poster child for a broken corrections system," says State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (Contact). "What I think that this demonstrates someone you can't fix. Someone you can't rehabilitate. In that case, we need to lock them up."
- Hey Nathan, there is no way you can predict who will or who won't commit another crime. When you treat people like lepers, and make it hard as hell to even get by, then stuff like this will only be on the rise. I'm surprised it hasn't happened more and more. Your response is typical for someone who ignores their oath of office, facts, and reality! Do you believe in "Fortune Tellers?" It would appear you do!



CO - Sex Offender Flyers Misleading Neighborhoods (08/23/2007)

This is old, I'm aware of that! This goes to show you, scam artists out there, will take advantage of any situation to make a quick buck. There is no need to pay, when it's free.

Video Link



GA - A billion-dollar burden or justice?

Original Article

We are called "Incarceration Nation" for a reason!

05/23/2010

By Carrie Teegardin and Bill Rankin


AJC investigation: Georgia leads nation in criminal punishment

Georgia taxpayers spend $1 billion a year locking up so many criminal offenders that the state has the fourth-highest incarceration rate in the nation. When it comes to overall criminal punishment, no state outdoes Georgia.

Hard-nosed measures approved with wide public support forced a five-fold increase in corrections spending since 1985.

A monumental prison construction campaign that quadrupled space over the last four decades seemed like money well spent as record crime rates in the 1990s left Georgians fearful of becoming the next victims of violence.

But today, many public figures with strong anti-crime credentials are asking if that expenditure is smart, or even if it’s making Georgians safer. The debate about crime and punishment, once clearly divided along party lines, is now a debate in which conservatives often lead the charge for change.

As Georgia’s dire budget outlook required lawmakers to make painful cuts to virtually every state program, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigated whether the state’s gigantic corrections budget offered opportunities for savings.

Many states, including tough-on-crime Texas, have concluded they can spend less and keep the public safer by sentencing some offenders to proven treatment and supervision programs outside of prison.

Texas spends more than $3 billion a year on prisons. In 2007, facing the need to spend $540 million to construct three new prisons expected to cost another $1.5 billion to run, the state looked for alternatives. Instead, Texas spends a fraction of that on new probation and parole programs, halfway houses and specialty courts for drug offenders, veterans, drunk drivers and the mentally ill.

“There are some in the prison system who are costing you a lot of money who are probably no longer a threat and no longer someone you’d be afraid of,” said Jerry Madden, a Republican Texas legislator who headed the state’s corrections committee. “You’re far better off with having them be taxpayers, not tax burdens.”

Many Georgians, including elected officials, believe firmly that if you do the crime you should do the time.

But others on the front lines of Georgia’s criminal justice system say the Legislature should take a page from the Texas playbook, or face a tax burden for incarceration that will force even further cuts in education, economic development, health care and other programs.

“We have proven that we can be tough on crime and that we can spend $1.2 billion a year doing it,” said Brian Owens, the silver-haired former parole officer who now runs Georgia’s prison system. “But I think it might be time to transition to being smart on crime.”

Longer prison stays

One in 13 Georgians is behind bars, on probation or on parole, according to the Pew Center on the States. That’s the highest rate of correctional control in the nation and more than the double the national average: 1 in 31.

By far the most costly segment of corrections is locking someone up. About 1 in 70 Georgians is behind bars, according to the Pew study.

“It makes no intuitive sense that Georgia is the ninth-most populous state with about 9.5 million citizens but has a prison population the same as New York state with 19.5 million citizens,” Owens said. “It’s not because we’re committing more crime in Georgia.’’

Rather, it’s because the state’s laws and policies keep offenders behind bars longer than ever. Among inmates released last year, the average time in prison was 3.4 years, up from 1.6 years in 1990. At today’s price tag of $49 a day, the cost to house the average offender jumped from about $28,800 to more than $61,000.

The trend held even among nonviolent offenders: the average inmate released last year on a drug possession charge spent 21 months locked up, compared with 10 months in 1990.

Even small changes in sentences have a gigantic financial impact when multiplied across the prison population. Simply shaving a month or two off a typical inmate’s stay could allow a 1,000-bed cut in prison capacity. The result: a savings of $17.9 million a year.

If judges sentenced offenders to an average of 55 months instead of 60 months, the state would save in the neighborhood of $90 million a year.

Offenders are in prison longer largely because Georgia is much less likely now to shave significant time off of sentences through parole, even though the state runs one of the most highly-regarded parole supervision operations in the nation.

The increased time, along with a jump in prison admissions, explains why corrections spending in Georgia has increased five-fold since 1985.

“I think there is room to right-size a little bit and still make public safety the focus of what we’re doing,” Owens said.

Mark Earley, a Republican former attorney general in Virginia who is chief executive of the nonprofit Prison Fellowship, agreed.

“When you have in Georgia 1 in every 70 adults [incarcerated] and 1 in every 13 is in some form of correctional control, that’s big government with a big big G, ” he said.

Georgia legislators avoided any serious debate about changes to the state’s sentencing system this year. They relied on staffing cuts, more efficient new prison wings and federal stimulus dollars to cover $1.1 billion in costs.

But they will have to take on the issue next year, when $85 million in federal money is no longer there to fill the gap.

Owens, a details man who is all about efficiency and data, is eliminating 2,000 positions from the department, down to 13,000. And he has told lawmakers there aren’t many more places to cut if the state wants to reduce the corrections budget.

“There have to be changes in sentencing in this state or parole is going to have to open up the doors,” Owens said.

Most Georgia legislators are wary of even discussing changes that would lead to shorter sentences, either because they believe in long prison terms or because they are fearful of a soft-on-crime image. And some in districts with lots of prison jobs fret that fewer inmates in the system will make local correctional facilities vulnerable.

But Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) said a public discussion of Georgia’s approach to criminal sentencing makes sense.

“I don’t think we ought to let public safety depend on getting a bargain basement price, but I think we do have to be conscious of the cost of incarceration,” Ralston said. “I think the dialogue has already started.”

Ralston, an attorney, said he is a strong supporter of Georgia’s drug courts, an approach to handling substance abusers that is managed by a judge but offers alternatives to incarceration. And he said that even the most tough-minded in the criminal justice system – cops and prosecutors – tell him Georgia needs more discretion in the courtroom and more alternatives to prison.

“From time to time we need to step back and ask ourselves ‘Is it working?’ ” Ralston said.

How we got here

As governor, Zell Miller addressed Georgians’ fears about violent crime when he won approval in 1994 of his “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Two Strikes and You’re Out” legislation.

The law prescribes minimum sentences of 10 years, with no parole, for violent offenses ranging from armed robbery to murder. A second conviction of one of the seven offenses requires life without parole.

Miller’s high-profile legislation wasn’t the only shift toward more time behind bars.

In 1984, Georgia eliminated its “earned time” policy that allowed inmates to shave a day off their sentences for every day they were well-behaved.

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles still can award early release to most inmates not convicted of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. But the board also became more conservative, requiring most offenders to serve longer portions of their sentences before being considered for parole supervision.

Many working in the criminal justice system say it is time to study policies and legislation for effectiveness in achieving the original goal: making the streets safer.

Consider the case of Felicia Holland.

In September 2008, a clerk at a Rite Aid in Fayetteville saw a suspicious couple with a large bag, pushing a cart with cans of expensive baby formula. The couple walked out with the bag bulging and drove away.

Police soon apprehended Daunte and Felicia Holland and charged them with shoplifting $258 worth of baby formula and shirts. Because Felicia Holland had three prior shoplifting convictions, prosecutors charged her as a recidivist.

In January, a jury acquitted Holland’s husband but convicted her. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison and will not be eligible for parole. It will cost at least $180,000, in today’s dollars, to keep her locked up.

“Is this a good deal for the taxpayers?” asked Holland’s trial attorney, Steven Harris. “Hell no. Were there other alternatives for her punishment? Of course.”

Forty percent of Georgia inmates are serving time for nonviolent crimes. Most are drug and property offenders.

Armed robbery

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris L. Downs has tough-on-crime credentials. For 13 years, she was a high-profile prosecutor.

But today, she doesn’t like a lot of what the law prescribes.

She sees mentally ill, homeless addicts sentenced to yearlong prison terms for a series of small thefts: things like socks, food, and deodorant. To punish the theft of less than $10 worth of goods, she said, taxpayers will pay $18,000 for a year of incarceration.

“That happens every day in this state,” said Downs, a judge since 1996. “That’s our justice system. This is our money.”

An offender like that could be handled in the community, with a mental health program and help getting a disability check and a spot in a personal care home.

“For 75 percent of the criminal population, forced treatment and support with life skills is the way to go,” said Downs, who runs Fulton County’s drug court program.

Prisons should be reserved for those who are truly dangerous, Downs said, and the system should work hard to change them while they are there.

Downs and many others find especially troubling Georgia’s approach to those who get long sentences and are not eligible for parole — including armed robbery offenders.

At the end of their sentences, which must be at least 10 years, most walk out with $25 and a bus ticket. They have no parole officers making sure they’re living in stable environments, demanding random drug tests and making sure they have jobs.

“The knee-jerk reaction is to lock the guy up and throw away the key,” Downs said. “But that doesn’t make your community safer. It’s the most expensive way to make your community less safe.”

Today, 30 percent of inmates can never be considered for parole, according to parole board statistics, up from just 2 percent in 1989.

More than 3,500 inmates convicted of armed robbery are currently serving sentences of between 10 and 20 years without parole.

“After 10 years of just holding them, we’re just dumping them back into society,” said Downs. “What do you expect you’re going to get on the other end when they re-enter the community?”

Judges and attorneys said mandatory minimums take discretion from those who know the most about a case: the people in the courtroom.

“The mandatory minimums require us to treat a 14-year-old with a cap pistol in an armed robbery the same as someone with a loaded 9 mm,” said Chief Superior Court Judge Walter Matthews in Rome.

Keeping offenders in prison for so long also creates another problem, Matthews said.

“They go in as teenagers and come out as hardened criminals,” Matthews said. “They’re not getting what they need for their reintroduction to society. We’re going to pay a price for all these guys.”

Parole board members say lawmakers should consider allowing them to review the case files of some offenders who are now banned from parole — not just to save money but to allow for orderly transition from many years spent behind bars.

“There are some folks incarcerated that are not eligible for parole,” said Gale Buckner, parole board chair and a former GBI agent. “It would probably would be in the best interest of the state to be able to review their cases.”

“I think the timing is good to revisit some of these issues with the state budget being what it is and it being so costly to keep people incarcerated,” she added.

A day in prison costs taxpayers $49; parole costs $4.43.

Owens, the corrections chief, agrees.

He said the Legislature should tweak the law that bans parole for armed robbery, allowing a chance for early release for model inmates. “Yeah, they need to go to prison because they did the armed robbery, no debating that at all,” Owens said.

But many of those offenders, Owens said, are young men in their late teens and early 20s who face at least a decade behind bars — usually more.

“What incentive does this young man have, who has probably been raised on the streets in a difficult environment, to do anything while he is in the institution?” Owens said.

If every armed robber currently imprisoned served the final year on parole, that alone could save Georgians $50 million in today’s dollars: enough to pay the annual salaries of about 1,000 Georgia teachers.

But some counsel caution: Before changing Georgia’s approach to sentencing, Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson said, state officials should factor in the cost of crime to society.

Consider the cost of having your home broken into, a rape victim’s medical bills. “How do you measure a human life?” Patterson asked, referring to a murder victim.

“Once you lock these violent people up, they can’t commit another crime because they’re no longer around,” she said.

Patterson said the system should not be more lenient with younger offenders.

“If you’re going to play like a man, you need to pay like a man,” the DA said. “People deserve to be protected from predators like that. Once they start down a path of violence they don’t stop.”

New approaches sought

Newt Gingrich, the influential Republican and former Georgia congressman who served as the nation’s speaker of the House, is among those rallying for new approaches.

Gingrich said the decision to crack down on offenders in the 1990s made sense, given the high crime rate of those times.

“What we’re suggesting is that the next stage in our effective, tough-minded approach in dealing with crime is to have programs that fundamentally change people’s behavior,” Gingrich said.

He said Texas, Hawaii and other states have proven new programs can reduce recidivism. Treatment programs for nonviolent offenders show solid success rates, he said. The effectiveness of the new approaches should attract lawmakers of every political persuasion, he said.

“If I can be safer and it’s less expensive and we have citizens who are now dedicated, productive taxpaying citizens — which part of that is bad?” asked Gingrich.

The evidence is so convincing that many states are giving it a try, even some of the most conservative in the South.

Madden, the Republican legislator from Plano, Texas, decided to find a way around spending to build and staff 17,300 new prison beds that Texas projections said were needed. Madden’s committee had been looking into alternative sentencing options.

“If you build it, they will come,” he said of new prisons.

Instead of letting Texas taxpayers spend $2 billion for new prisons, Madden’s committee proposed $241 million for alternatives, including stepped-up probation and parole and courts for people with drug problems and mental illnesses that focus on diversion.

He advised Georgia to follow Texas’s lead.

“If you can change the lives of nonviolent offenders so they don’t take the next step and become dangerous felons, you’re going to save a lot of money,” Madden said. “This is a message about the wise use of your taxpayer dollars.”



National Suicide Prevention Lifeline PSA

Video Link | YouTube Channel | Web Site



CA - Calif. Bill Aimed at Molesters Would Cost Millions

Original Article

05/22/2010

By DON THOMPSON

Analysts: Calif. bill targeting child molesters for long prison terms would cost many millions

A state corrections department analysis of a bill being considered by California lawmakers found that mandating life sentences for some child molesters and lifetime parole for others would cost tens of millions of dollars annually after the first decade.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst puts the ultimate tab much higher: hundreds of millions of dollars each year, some of it to build new cells for sex offenders serving longer terms.

The projections come as the Assembly Appropriations Committee prepares to consider on Friday whether the state can afford the bill named after 17-year-old Chelsea King. Convicted child molester John Albert Gardner III was sentenced to life in prison this month after pleading guilty to raping and murdering King and 14-year-old Amber Dubois in San Diego County.

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (Email), R-San Diego, said AB1844, nicknamed Chelsea's Law, would have a relatively low cost for the first decade. He said it is worth the money to protect children.
- But it won't protect children, never will.  10 million laws won't protect children or anybody else.  If that was the case, we'd not have ANY crime these days, but we still do.

The annual cost would top $1 million in 2015, $9 million by 2020, and $54 million by 2030, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

It would add nearly 400 inmates and increase the number of parolees by more than 7,300 by 2030, the department projects.

"We would consider this to be a conservative estimate," Jay Atkinson, chief of the department's Offender Information Services Branch, said Saturday. "The impact won't truly be seen until way far out in the future."
- That depends on where you look.  The laws, that do nothing to prevent crime or protect anybody, are ruining thousands of lives at this very moment. He's just riding the backs of sex offenders, and this families tragedy, to make a name for himself.

The legislative analyst said increasing penalties would cost "at least a few tens of millions of dollars annually within the next decade" and "at least in the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually after several decades."

Backers, who include Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Contact) and Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez (Contact), have not suggested any funding source beyond taking the money from the existing state budget, which faces a $19 billion deficit this year.

"There's virtually no cost for a decade," said Fletcher. "If you look at a budget that annually exceeds $100 billion a year, that's a small price to pay to protect our children."
- Again, it won't protect children! You are living in Wonderland, if you believe that.

His bill would allow life sentences for a first offense of forcible sex crimes involving a child under 18, up from the current 15-year to 25-year sentence. The life term would be reserved for cases with aggravating factors that include kidnapping, using a weapon, torture, binding or drugging a victim or a previous sex crime conviction.

It would double sentences for some other sex crimes involving children and double parole to 10 years for felons released after serving sentences for forcible sex crimes.

The bill also would require the state to use GPS tracking for lifetime monitoring of those convicted of forcible sex crimes against children under 14. Currently, most tracking ends when offenders leave parole, despite an existing state lifetime monitoring law.

It would ban sex offenders from parks, going beyond the state law that already limits how close offenders can live to schools and parks.

The Assembly analysis suggests deleting provisions that could potentially send offenders to prison for life for inflicting a bruise during a sex crime, or subject them to lifetime parole for acts that could include touching a child over his or her clothing. That would cut the bill's costs substantially, the analysis said.

"I think it's undeniable there are significant costs," said Sen. Mark Leno (Contact), D-San Francisco, who chairs the Senate Public Safety Committee. "It's clearly a very important issue, a highly emotional issue, and we need to be grounding ourselves in fact."

Fletcher said he is open to minor changes. But he said backers will go to voters with an initiative before they accept major amendments.



TX - Registered Sex Offender Speaks Out

Original Article

See the video at the link above.

05/22/2010

By Erika Flores

His face is plastered on the public sex offender registry.

I’m not going to shy away from this,” said _____.

He did time behind bars.

I’m not going to hide from this,” said _____.

It all stems from claims that _____, a registered sex offender, volunteers at Horizon Montessori Charter School in McAllen.

When the news first aired on Action 4 News, parents were concerned, and after seeing the report, _____ contact Action 4 News.

They should have no fears,” said _____.

He claims to have been wrongfully accused.

Unfortunately, I have to carry this label around with me for the rest of my life,” he said.

He’s convicted of indecency with a child, but _____ said what really happened is that his ex girlfriend made the story up after a falling out.

But if that’s not enough to calm fears, “At no time am I ever left alone on that campus,” he said.

_____ said two of his children attend the charter school, and he said he was upfront with the school’s administration about his record, and the school has strict policies in place.

I either have to be escorted by a faculty member or be in plain sight by a faculty member at all times,” said _____.

As for claims that he volunteers at the school, he said he gets involved with his children’s school the only way he can, working from home designing the yearbook’s front and back cover.

I do not go to the school for that,” he said.

_____ said he understands people’s fears, but said he’s just a man trying to live a normal life with his wife and children.

I want them to know they’re children are safe, and I want them to know that the school, the district, the administration, including the principal are doing everything they can to ensure those children’s safety,” said _____.