Wednesday, July 16, 2008

CA - Comedian Andy Dick Arrested for Investigation of Sexual Battery, Drug Use

View the article here
Police Press Release

07/16/2008

MURRIETA — Comedian Andy Dick was arrested Wednesday morning in Murrieta, Calif., for investigation of drug use and sexual battery after he allegedly pulled down a teenager's top, police said.

The former co-star of the TV sitcom "NewsRadio" was released from a detention center after posting $5,000 bail.

Cops arrested Dick, 42, just before 2 a.m. in the parking lot near a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

According to the Murrieta Police Department's Web site, police responded to call at the restaurant to investigate an intoxicated male at the location urinating outside the bar and causing a disturbance.

Officers arrived and stopped a truck which was leaving the location. Witnesses told the officers that one of the truck occupants had sexually battered a 17-year-old outside Buffalo Wild Wings.

The 17-year-old female and several witnesses told police that as Dick left the establishment, he approached two females outside the bar. Dick walked up to the 17-year-old female, grabbed her tank top and bra and pulled them down and exposed her breasts, they said. He then was escorted by several of his friends to a truck which was stopped by arriving police officers in a nearby Sam’s Club a few moments later.

According to the Web site, Dick was in the front passenger seat of the truck. A curbside lineup was conducted and Dick was identified by the 17-year-old female, as well as a witness. During a search, marijuana and Xanax were found in Dick’s pants pockets.

The site also says that Dick was extremely intoxicated at the time of his arrest.

Dick was booked at Southwest Detention Center in French Valley on suspicion of felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor sexual battery and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

An employee in Dick's manager's office told FOXNews.com that Dick's manager would respond later when he had more information.

Dick has a reputation for crude behavior. He has been reported to have exposed himself to audiences at least twice. He was forcibly removed from the set of the show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last year after he repeatedly touched guest Ivanka Trump without her permission.

Also last year, Dick was cited in Columbus, Ohio, for urinating on the sidewalk. A comedy club owner in the city said the actor also made inappropriate comments while onstage, groped patrons, took women into the men's room and urinated on the floor and on at least one person.

In 1999, Dick was arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana after driving his car into a telephone pole in Hollywood. He pleaded guilty but the charges were dismissed after he went into a diversion program.


SC - Local plans put on hold by state law

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07/16/2008

AIKEN --- For the past year, Aiken County officials have been tweaking the details of a proposed sex offender ordinance that would restrict where sex offenders can live, but the proposed ordinance -- unenforceable within city limits -- might not be necessary.

In June, South Carolina lawmakers passed a statewide sex offender law, banning offenders from living within 1,000 feet of day-care centers, schools and children's recreational facilities.

The law goes into effect 90 days after the State Law Enforcement Division implements its sex offender mapping software.

"It's kind of one of the reasons we held up" passing the sex offender ordinance, County Administrator Clay Killian said. "But we wanted to have ours in place and ready to go in case the state didn't move forward with their law."

The state law applies only to sex offenders who have been convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct with a minor and kidnapping a person younger than 18. Unlike the county's proposed ordinance, it does not ban sex offenders from loitering or working in day-care centers, schools and recreational facilities.

The state's law is applicable countywide, allowing the sheriff's office to enforce the law within municipalities where its deputies would otherwise have no jurisdiction.

According to Sheriff Michael Hunt, by law, his office is responsible for registering and keeping up with all sex offenders living in the county. The sheriff's office is ahead of SLED, having implemented its own sex offender mapping software, Offender Watch, months ago. It is available for the public to use.

Sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said the software will allow the department to enforce the new law.

"When the offender gives us an address, we enter it into our GIS mapping, and we'll be able to see if that address is within that 1,000-foot limit," he said.

The new law does not apply to sex offenders already residing within the 1,000-foot limit.

The proposed county ordinance would also ban sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day cares, churches and parks, in part to deter sex offenders in Georgia from moving to Aiken County to escape similar restrictions.

"When Georgia implemented their restrictions, everyone was anticipating a huge exodus" to Aiken County, Lt. Frank said.

But, he said, only about 15 to 20 sex offenders from Georgia have moved to Aiken County.

County Attorney Jim Holly said it was unclear whether the state law would pre-empt any county sex offender ordinance.

The new law also requires school districts to provide names and addresses of sex offenders who reside within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop and to provide a link on the school district's Web site to the sex offender registry Web site.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.


LA - Former Acadiana federal officer sentenced in online child enticement case

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07/16/2008

A three-parish investigation, in which deputies with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office played a role, led to the arrest and conviction of a former federal law enforcement officer from Acadiana in connection with an online child enticement case, according to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office.

Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards reports that 52-year-old Randy P. Courville of Eunice, who at the time was a police officer in the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without probation, five years of supervised release upon completion of the prison term, register as a sex offender, participate in sex offender treatment, not subscribe or otherwise use the Internet, and not associate with minors.

Sheriff Edwards says that Courville had earlier entered a guilty plea to one count of attempting to entice a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. Sentencing in the case was on Monday, July 14.

Sheriff Edwards says that three simultaneous undercover online investigations had begun with deputies from Tangipahoa and St. Landry Parishes and officers from the Kenner Police Department posing as a "little girl". Sheriff Edwards says that Courville then contacted the "little girl" and discussed sexual matters, asking "her" to perform sexual acts and send him some pictures.
- More proof vigilantes like Perverted-Justice are not needed.

"It is a sad day when one officer has to arrest another officer for wrongdoing," said Sheriff Edwards. "When a police officer violates his oath and breaks the law, it can erode the public's confidence in law enforcement. The successful prosecution of this case was important to us to demonstrate to the public that no one is above the law. Additionally, Courville's ten-year sentence without the possibility of parole serves as a warning to Internet predators that there are serious consequences for preying on our children."

Sheriff Edwards adds that this case was a part of Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.


WI - Caution urged on rules for sex offenders

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07/16/2008

De Pere wants to look at options in wake of other decisions in area

DE PERE — The De Pere City Council isn't jumping on the bandwagon to create sex offender residency restrictions or loitering laws.

The city of Green Bay —and most recently the village of Ashwaubenon — have adopted rules that essentially keep most sex offenders from living in most parts of those communities. Other Brown County towns and villages have endorsed a variety of restrictions or loitering ordinances. Ashwaubenon also adopted a loitering rule.

But De Pere officials said that rather than go with the flow, they want to plan a careful course of action.
- Finally someone willing to step back and think before they react!

That pleases Alderman Dan Robinson.

"I feel like our conversation is very measured, not over-reacting," he said during Tuesday's council meeting. " … it has to be based on fact, not feeling or reactive," and improve public safety rather than create a perception of safety, he said. "I hope that continues."

Police Chief Derek Beiderwieden urged against strict residency requirements and said they would make it more difficult for law enforcement to do their jobs. In other states with residency restrictions, offenders have gone underground, used false addresses or didn't sign up for sex offender registries, he said. He also noted in 90 percent to 95 percent of sex offenses involving a child, the perpetrator knows the victim.

"These kinds of things aren't keeping anybody safe," he said. "I don't like the idea of being forced into a situation where our community did it because another one did.
- WOW!! Some people with brains for once!!! This is very rare these days!!!

"It makes us feel good, but that's about it. It's not going to stop anything."

Still, the city may be forced to adopt residency restrictions if every other community in Brown County does, the chief acknowledged.

"If De Pere became an island, I don't know if you'd have any other choice," he said. " … the public would have an outcry, and we need to listen to our community."

Indeed, the main concern for De Pere leaders seems to be whether the city will become a haven or dumping ground for offenders shut out from neighboring communities.

The council asked staff and the police department to discuss with Green Bay police how its ordinance, now more than a year old, has impacted the number of offenders living in the community or the number of offenses committed; more information about loitering laws; and a history of the number of offenders living in De Pere.


NH - Sex offender registry to be tiered

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07/09/2008

DOVERGov. John Lynch (Contact) has signed a bill into law reworking the state's registration system for sex offenders, which categorizes the levels of their crimes into three different tiers.

The law, which made its way through the Legislature as House Bill 1640, takes effect on Jan. 1 and breaks offenders into three different categories.

Those in the lowest tier can petition the court to be removed from the list available to the public after five years if they have a clean record. Anyone convicted of crimes that place them in the upper tiers will be subject to more in-depth scrutiny and will have their records made more readily available to the public.

Response to the law — which passed the Legislature earlier this year and was all but assured to win Lynch's OK — has been mixed, although proponents say it is a step in the right direction.

"It ensures information about serial rapists who prey on adult victims is available to the public," Amanda Grady of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence said. Grady helped draft the bill. "A tier system really gives more information to the public and is one tool families can use."
- As long as they people are categorized fairly and not just based on the crime instead of their risk.

Grace Mattern, executive director of the sexual violence coalition, pointed to key "victories" in the legislation, including: listing as sex offenders those who commit crimes against adults and moving the categorization of felony incest.

"We looked toward a number of provisions that provide enhanced protections for victims," Mattern said.

The state's public list will also be expanded to include all of an offender's criminal convictions and the offender's probation or parole status.

It will include the offender's registration status, whether the offender is compliant, has absconded or whether there is a warrant for the offender's non-compliance.

The Tiers

Tier 1 includes offenses such as sexual touching and violation of privacy.

Tier 2 is used for crimes of nonviolent penetration and sex abuse, including felonious sexual assault or computer pornography or those convicted of any two registerable offenses. This can include those convicted of more than one charge at a single trial.

Tier 3 is for the most serious offenders and includes charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault, kidnapping, capital murder or those convicted of three or more registerable offenses.

Other systems

New Hampshire's bill comes two years after national legislators passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act enacted in 2006.

It calls for a tiered federal sex offender classification system and gives states until July 29 to institute similar systems. An offender's tier would govern whether they appear on a public registry.

In Maine, Gov. John Baldacci (Contact) vetoed a bill in April that would have narrowed the circumstances under which a person convicted of a sex crime between 1982 and 1992 would be required to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

Citing Department of Public Safety estimates, the governor's office said as many as 580 currently registered sex offenders would no longer be required to register.

The state's committee on the matter will convene this summer to address the law, which the state's Supreme Court ruled could violate the constitution.

Local impact

Even with the bill passing into law Tuesday, questions remain about whether it will impact Dover's controversial city ordinance, which prohibits sex offenders — of any level and guilty of any such crime — from living within 2,500 feet of a school or day care.

Although unable to be reached Tuesday afternoon, Police Chief Anthony Colarusso has said he would consider revising the ordinance if "substantive" changes were made to the state's law. But that doesn't mean he'll consider lifting the ordinance, which is now being contested as unconstitutional by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Lingering concerns

As the bill made its way through the Legislature, state Rep. Jennifer Brown (Email), D-Dover, made an unsuccessful bid to exempt from the registry people younger than 21 who had consensual sex with a minor. She said she made her bid after hearing stories from multiple men, now married with families, who engaged in consensual sex while under 21.

"They all have the same issue. All of the guys were under 21 when they committed their crimes, and they all were deceived by the girls about their ages," Brown said during a past interview. "Some of their wives told me their husbands carded them when they met because they were scared."
- Someone can get a fake ID.

Brown said she's hearing more of these stories around the state and said it's unfortunate the new legislation does little to deal with the situation.

"The registry is not supposed to be a punishment," she added. "These guys aren't dangerous, and people get confused when they look at the registry and make that assumption. Who doesn't make one mistake before they're 21?"
- Sounds like a reasonable person to me, one the one issue.


VT - Sex-offender session gains traction

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NOTE: The Governor and Lt. Governor are both up for re-election, so you can see they use sex offender laws to get the sheeples vote.

07/16/2008

One after another, politicians are proposing actions to respond to the recent slaying of a 12-year-old girl.

Tuesday, Senate Democratic leaders offered their plan to look at the shortcomings of current law, procedures and treatment for sex offenders and fashion remedies "as fast as thoughtfully possible."

The Senate plan and timetable won Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie's (Contact) endorsement, even though he had called for speedier action Monday. He wanted a special legislative session called before Labor Day to enact several reforms.

Late Tuesday, Republican Gov. Jim Douglas (Contact) announced he, too, supported a special, one-day session so lawmakers could enact reforms. He promised to cooperate with the Senate's more deliberate research into other changes that could be considered when a new Legislature convenes in January.

Douglas said he would discuss the timing and focus for a special session with legislative leaders this week. "We must not put off action on those changes we can make immediately."

Also Tuesday, Douglas ordered that "under no circumstances will a probation or parole officer or any other individual, department or agency support early release of any sex offender before they have served their maximum sentence."
- Got to throw that out there for brownie points.

The order stands at least until the Department of Corrections completes an overhaul of policies and procedures and investigation into a probation officer's recommendation 2004 that convicted sex offender Michael Jacques receive early release from probation requirements. Jacques is charged with kidnapping in connection with the death of his niece, 12-year-old Brooke Bennett of Braintree.
- You see, it's because of idiots like this man "Michael Jacques" that causes idiotic politicians who are eager to jump at the chance to use something for votes, and then, once again, all sex offenders are punished because of what this man did. One man killed this girl, not all sex offenders!

Douglas criticized the "finger-pointing and grandstanding" of other politicians concerning Brooke's death. "This does nothing to address the failures of that particular case and, more importantly, it does nothing to protect children all across our state who deserve to grow up in a safe and loving community."
- Douglas is doing nothing but grandstanding. He's up for re-election, so of course he's going to say all this. These people are very predictable. All citizens "deserve" to live in a safe society, but we are not in wonderland and the world is a dangerous place. Acting in knee-jerk fashion and punishing all sex offenders because of one man is just insane. If we made all laws like this, then we are screwed!!!

Earlier, Senate leaders -- President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Sears, D-Bennington, the lieutenant governor and Assistant Senate Republican Leader Kevin Mullin of Rutland -- had similarly declared that politics didn't belong in the state's response to Brooke's death.
- Well then quit using politics!

"This is not a Democratic or Republican issue," Shumlin said. "This is about all of us working together as a team to ensure that the Brooke Bennett tragedy is at least turned into making Vermont safer for our most prized citizens, our children."
- So how do you propose to do that? 1 million laws would not prevent this from occurring again.

There is a growing public drumbeat for tougher sex offenders laws.
- Yeah, because it's a win-win situation, they get to look good and exploit sex offender issues to get voted into office, and the public gets the false sense of security they wanted, plus the politicians do not have the balls to stand up to what is right and declare the laws unconstitutional, because they are, if they would read the constitution and uphold it like they took an oath to do.

"I don't know if these people know they have some angry constituents," said Angelo Napolitano of Middlesex. He has collected 1,000 signatures in two weeks on petitions that he and his wife wrote and circulated in central Vermont. Their petition calls for longer prison sentences for sexual predators.
- Well, it's because you people go around scaring the hell out of people, and having knee-jerk reactions to one crime instead of thinking before you react. You are whipping the public into a frenzy for your own benefit.

"What we have in Vermont is broke," Napolitano said.
- Oh, it wasn't broke until one man commits a crime, now all of a sudden it's broke. I think the people in office are broke, that is the problem...

Unity?

Dubie stepped up first Monday while Douglas was at a National Governors Association meeting in Philadelphia. He proposed a special legislative session in 30 days so lawmakers could enact tougher sex-offenders laws.

Until Tuesday, Douglas had said Democratic leaders in the Legislature would have to agree to the reforms before he called a special session, and he didn't think such an agreement was likely.

Now Douglas plans to meet with legislative leaders to see if there is agreement. He will suggest three measures: civil confinement for sex offenders who have completed their sentences but are judged a continued risk, a 25-year mandatory sentence for first-time sex offenders and requirements for more information about sex offenders on the offender registry.
- Why do you need civil confinement when they should get treatment in prison, and once their sentence is done, released? Civil confinement just wastes money. And mandatory sentences will just overflow the already overflowing prisons. You people have no brains, I truly believe that.

"These proposals have already been deliberated at length and do not require additional testimony," Douglas said.

Shumlin agreed Tuesday evening that it was important to meet with the governor about a possible special session. "There is absolutely no sense in having 180 people milling around getting paid until we figure out what we want to do," he said.
- I agree, no need to waste more of the tax payers money while you all run around like chickens with your heads cut off. Keep going though and eventually all these laws will come crumbling down... "The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strickly!" (Abraham Lincoln)

Still, he said he wasn't keen to speed ahead on the three measures on Douglas' list. "I'm sticking with the road map I outlined today," he said, noting its bipartisan support.

Dubie stood with Shumlin and Sears to announce the plan "to send a message of unity," he said. "They have responded in a very positive way and acknowledged the urgency of these issues."

Sears said the Senate Judiciary Committee would hold two public hearings and six committee meetings beginning next month. Shumlin directed him to come up with a report by Nov. 15. Sears predicted "We can do it in six weeks from the time we start."

"My intent would be to have a package of legislation," Sears continued. Then, "if the governor wanted to call us into special session, he could." If not, the package would be ready for quick consideration when the new Legislature convenes in January.

Shumlin outlined the committee's work in a letter. It asks the committee to examine what went wrong in the most recent case in which Jacques was released early from the restrictions of probation despite a 1993 conviction for the kidnapping and rape of an 18-year-old woman. Shumlin wants the committee to determine whether treatment of sexual offenders works. He wants the committee to analyze how recent changes to sex offender laws might have resulted in different outcomes -- had they been in place in 1993.
- What went wrong? Nothing. No matter how many laws you pass, this kind of stuff will always happen. It's not pretty, but it's a fact. Even if every criminal remained in prison for life, there would be more crime, period. Also, treatment works, why don't you ask the EXPERTS? Nothing is going to work 100% of the time. And it won't work for everyone, but for a majority who want to change, it does. Does drug therapy or DUI therapy work always? No. But it does work. Stop the darn grandstanding, that is all this is about, looking good to get votes.

Shumlin also asked the committee to look at most of the specific changes that Dubie and Douglas have suggested -- including chemical castration, the death penalty and a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence for sex crimes against children younger than 12.
- More ignorance. Chemical castration does not always work, and sex crimes are not always about sex, but power and control. The experts, if you'd listen to them, would tell you that.

"It is a very comprehensive list," Dubie said, noting it included most of the issues he suggested Monday.

The only proposal Sears said the committee wouldn't take up is civil confinement. The committee already considered it, he said, and responded with a new category on the sex offender registry for high-risk individuals.

The Senate would take the lead for the Legislature because House Speaker Gaye Symington, D-Jericho, concluded her candidacy for governor would create political overtones to any work by the House Judiciary Committee.

Senators have invited members of the House Judiciary and Institutions committees to attend their meetings, however, so they are up on whatever recommendations result.

Napolitano said he will be watching, too, to see if lawmakers fulfill their promises to strengthen the state's sex offender laws. He and the people signing his petition expect lawmakers to approve a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for sex offenders.
- And this overflow the prisons which will cost millions if not billions of tax payer dollars, meanwhile the economy is falling and will be dead soon....

"Right now, they have a lot of heat on them, so they have to do something," he said. "Remember, they want to be re-elected."
- Exactly!!! It's all politics as usual...

Contact Nancy Remsen at 651-4888 or nremsen@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com.


FL - People Power Hour discussions about sex offender issues


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jacqueline Dowd Discusses Orlando's Jackboot Efforts Against the Homeless

Jacqueline Dowd of Legal Advocacy at Work discusses homelessness issues in Central Florida such as Orlando's current efforts to evict homeless people from their camps -- people including registered sex offenders who have been compelled by law to live in the woods and under freeway overpasses -- and who are now being forced away from even those places. Also Congressional candidate Alan Grayson on soaring oil prices and the burden on the US economy.



Saturday, March 01, 2008

Florida's Sex Offender Laws

George interviews three children who have been victimized and abused by the application of the Jessica Lunsford Act.
- Listen to this audio!!! THIS IS WHAT TICKS ME OFF!!!



Saturday, December 15, 2007

Charlie Stuart - Democratic Congressional Candidate.

Interview with Charlie Stuart - Democratic Congressional Candidate discussing his record, politics and sex offender laws.


CA - Supervisors discuss sex offender ordinance

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07/15/2008

Tuesday morning County Supervisors revisited a local law that prevents sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

The law was enacted after supervisors learned there were dozens of offenders living at two South Union motels.

Supervisors Don Maben and Jon McQuiston suggested repealing the law, out of fear it's pushing offenders into the rural areas they represent.

A county analysis revealed the law makes about 75% of the county off-limits to paroled sex offenders.

Supervisor Maben moved to form a committee to explore other options and solutions.

"All that ordinance did was essentially make metro Bakersfield off limits to these offenders and push it to the outlying areas, so whatever level of safety has been increased in the metro areas has been diminished in the outlying areas," said McQuiston.

Supervisors also want to see if someone is willing to build a facility outside the city where offenders could live away from children.


TN - Officer Accused Of Groping Female Inmates

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07/15/2008

Corrections Officer Charged With Sexual Assault

GALLATIN -- A Sumner County corrections officer was fired in the wake of claims that he groped two female inmates.

Elvis Wade was arrested on Monday and charged with sexual battery.

A sheriff's department representative said the department has been investigating Wade for a few weeks.

According to a police affidavit, Wade touched women in the jail inappropriately and tried to bribe them so they wouldn't complain.

Wade had only worked at the facility for a year. He's scheduled to be in court in August.


MI - State prisons too expensive, ineffective at reform

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They are asking people to use common sense. That is something the people running this country apparently have none of.

07/13/2008

Click here to download a report on Michigan's prison system from the Citizen's Research Council on Michigan

When it comes to corrections, Michigan policymakers are afraid to do what's right.

That's the opinion of retired Oakland Circuit Judge Gene Schnelz, and he is far from alone in that view.

Standard handling of criminals should involve punishment of the criminal and protection of society, but also correcting the behavior of those who can be rehabilitated so they become productive, taxpaying members of society.

But "there is no rehabilitation. Nothing is being done," Schnelz says.

"I just don't see people getting the help they need," agrees longtime defense attorney Larry Kaluzny, of West Bloomfield Township.

It is difficult even to get an intelligent discussion going on the subject. Often, the conversation will shift to the policies of Maricopa County, in Arizona, where Joe Arpaio, self-styled as "America's toughest sheriff," boasts of housing inmates in hot tents, giving them pink underwear and feeding them bologna sandwiches.
- He's a Nazi wannabe. Pink is something the Nazi's did, see here.

The downside of this approach, critics say, is that Maricopa County has paid out $43 million stemming from inmate lawsuits during Arpaio's 16-year tenure.

You would think Michigan, with its top-quality centers of higher education, would be more enlightened when it comes to corrections policy.

This has nothing to do with being a squish-headed liberal or holding any other political philosophy. It has to do with common sense. As things stand, to put it bluntly, Michigan taxpayers are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to corrections policy.

Michigan has the highest incarceration rate of any of the Great Lakes region states and the ninth highest in the nation. While to some this might be something to brag about, the state also has a rising recidivism rate, meaning more of those who are paroled eventually end up back behind bars.

Part of the reason Michigan's incarceration rates are so high is that the average prison sentence in Michigan is 16 months longer than the national average and 19 percent longer than the Great Lakes average.

It would be one thing if the lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key philosophy were working. It is not.

According to the Lansing-based Citizens Research Council, this simplistic approach cost Michigan about $403 million in 2005 and caused the state to employ 4,700 more corrections employees.
- Like I've said a million times, prison is a business and business is good. You may be in the "system" one day.

The Michigan Department of Corrections is the largest program that state government operates directly, accounting for nearly 20 percent -- $2 billion -- of the current discretionary general fund budget and employing nearly one-third of the state's classified work force.

"Michigan's Corrections program is out of line, substantially in some cases, in regional and national comparisons," the CRC states. "Lower parole approval rates and specific policy changes aimed at being 'tough on crime' are the primary causes of longer prison stays."

CRC says a 9 percent increase in the recidivism rate between 1992 and 2002 is "likely associated to some extent with the 1992 restructuring of the state Parole Board from civil servants to appointees."

The Parole Board determines whether each parole technical-rule violator is returned to prison. Given that each technical-rule violator returned to prison is recorded as a parole failure, recidivism rates increase when the number of technical-rule violators returned to prison increases.

Kaluzny says judges are hamstrung by sentencing guidelines. In many cases "they would like to deviate, but don't want to be appealed."

While Kaluzny agrees that sexual predators "have to be put away," in some Internet predator cases, "where there's no actual victim, only a potential victim ... these people can be helped."

Schnelz notes that sexual offenders have to be treated before they can be granted parole.

But often "it's five years before you can get treated." The state needs to increase its number of psychiatrists and psychologists. Such a move would be cost-efficient.

Michigan also is behind the curve when it comes to handling nonviolent offenders. Other states employ drug and mental-health courts to handle nonviolent offenders and those who need treatment.

One successful program that needs to be expanded is the Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative, which is designed to reduce the return of parolees to prison, for either new crimes or technical violations, by helping them to overcome barriers to employment, housing and family reunification.

It is these types of initiatives that other states are using to reduce recidivism and prison population, and thus the cost to the taxpayers of incarceration.

But Schnelz says "everyone is afraid to do the right thing" for fear of being labeled soft on crime.
- Exactly, no balls!

The Lansing-based Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending advocates "six strategies for right-sizing Michigan's prison population."

"Some are longer-term and some are more immediate," states the group's Web site, capps-mi.org.

"Some require legislative action and some do not. All have Michigan precedents. None involve the early release of dangerous offenders."

They include enforcing parole guidelines to increase paroles of low-risk offenders who have completed their minimum terms; reassessing the impact of sentencing guidelines to ensure that drug and property offenders are not incarcerated unnecessarily and that sentences for crimes against people are proportionate to the offense; reinstating good behavior and other disciplinary credits to reduce sentences; limiting prison returns for technical-parole violators with no new criminal conduct to one year or less; reinstituting parole for individuals serving life prison terms who pose little threat to the public; and expanding the Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative.

The state ought to take a long look at such ideas and other programs to rehabilitate young offenders, treat those whose "crimes" are due to mental illness and reduce taxpayer expense in the process.

Click here to download a report on Michigan's prison system from the Citizen's Research Council on Michigan


WI - Tutor in Amery, Wis., student sex case is banished from community

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07/11/2008

Wisconsin sex offender banished for 15 years after refusing to stay away from victim

An Amery, Wis., tutor who had sex with her daughter's high school classmate has been banished from her hometown.

Brenda K. Baillargeon, a mother of four who was once engaged to the 16-year-old boy she tutored, was ordered out of Amery on Thursday for the next 15 years.

The unusual order, part of a sentence that includes one year in jail, was made because she repeatedly violated past restraining orders by contacting the boy at his home, work and elsewhere in the western Wisconsin village of about 2,800.

Polk County District Attorney Daniel Steffen said the sentence was just.

"It's not common," he said. "But where there's a clear victim and a threat, it is done."

A judge has discretion in sentencing and terms of probation, and given the actions of the former teacher's aide, the punishment could have been worse, a Hamline University School of Law professor said.

"She has found it difficult to discipline herself, so this is just another way of accomplishing that," said Robin Magee, who teaches criminal law and procedure.

The 40-year-old Baillargeon, who in March admitted to the relationship, also was ordered to have no contact with the boy the duration of the banishment. If she violates any part of the conditions, she will be sent to a state prison for at least five years, Polk County Circuit Judge Molly E. GaleWyrick said.

GaleWyrick granted Baillargeon work release, which means she can leave jail for up to 50 hours a week for work. But Baillargeon, who resigned her seven-year post as a teacher's aide during the investigation, is employed by her parents in Amery, so she will have to find another job, Steffen said. Court records say she now lives in Luck, Wis., some 20 miles north of Amery.

The judge said gender did not play into the sentence, which would have been the same for a man who had sex with a teenage girl.

"He relied on you to say stop, 'This is wrong.' He is blameless. You are not. You were 39 and he 16. It is not too much to ask what you were thinking," GaleWyrick told Baillargeon.

"I have never encountered a less likely felon," GaleWyrick said, noting she was a mother, had been employed with the school district, and had family and strong ties to the community. And "no criminal record, which in the law is significant."

Those factors weighed in her favor, but Baillargeon "clearly needs to be punished," the judge said, ordering her to have no contact with her victim, who is now 17, during her 15-year probation.

"You are going to prison if he contacts you and you respond," GaleWyrick said. "It's that simple."

As a convicted felon and a sex offender, Baillargeon can't vote or use firearms and must submit to polygraph and DNA tests, and register as a sexual offender. She must also pay restitution to the victim and his family, but the amount will be set at a later date.

Before entering no-contest pleas to sexual assault and child enticement as part of a plea agreement, Baillargeon faced 10 criminal charges and up to 31 years in prison.

Steffen said Baillargeon has failed to take responsibility or show remorse. But Baillargeon's attorney, Owen Williams, disagreed.

The boy remains interested in his former tutor and is "sorry for Brenda," he said. "She came to this relationship as a damaged person ... in a damaged state of mind as her marriage deteriorated."

Baillargeon remained stoic during the proceedings and never turned to face the victim's mother and family, even when she addressed them.

"It doesn't paint a good picture of me," she said of a blistering letter — read in court — that the boy's mother wrote detailing the damage to her son and family. "I do realize what I did, and I am very sorry for the hurt it has caused. I do apologize to you in public. I think that shows I am trying to be remorseful. I am not a sexual predator who seeks out young boys."

She, her family and attorney left court without comment. The boy's family, according to the court's victim advocate, said they were satisfied with the outcome.

The teenager's mother became suspicious about the relationship last fall — a relationship Baillargeon and the boy first denied to investigators. The mother obtained a restraining order, which Baillargeon repeatedly ignored.

She had sex with him at his home, at his grandfather's cabin, on a bench at a nearby park and at her cabin near Amery over the course of seven months, Steffen said.

Baillargeon also took him on trips and sneaked into his home in the early morning hours for sex, the court records said. He saved his summer earnings for an engagement ring, and after she got a divorce, they planned to marry and move to North Carolina, where he wanted to become a NASCAR mechanic.

Under Wisconsin law, marriage applicants must be 18. But 16-year-olds may marry with parental consent.

There have been banishments similar to the one imposed on Baillargeon, including the 1992 case of a 61-year-old Bloomington man who molested a 9-year-old girl. A judge ordered him to move permanently from the neighborhood or go to prison for more than five years.

In 2003, an Alaskan village of 110 grew tired of a troublemaker with a history of drunken violence and banished him. The Native Village of Perryville Tribal Council and a state judge told the man to leave and not come back. He was given a one-way ticket to Anchorage.