Thursday, July 15, 2010

CA - After protests, 'Dr. Phil,' sex offenders move out

Original Article



ANAHEIM – The last of 11 registered sex offenders whose presence in a quiet Anaheim neighborhood led to community protests, discussions with a state senator and a debate on national television have moved out.

Six residents of a group home for sex offenders operated by a Buena Park church began moving out of the home on the 1700 block of Rutherford Street earlier this week, neighborhood residents said.

Word of the move spread quickly throughout the community, where neighbors – many of whom said they feared for their children's safety – rejoiced.

"This all comes down to children's safety, and we are thrilled to have them out," said Linda Liptrap-Gutierrez, a leader in the effort to shut down the group homes.

Back in April, the community members banded together after learning that two homes in the community housed a total of 11 sex offenders – the six on Rutherford and five more on Meadowlark Lane.

Within weeks, the five sex offenders on Meadowlark were moved out because the homeowner wanted to sell the house.

But Betsy Mata, who oversees the sex-offender rehabilitation program on behalf of Holy Ground Christian Fellowship of Buena Park, vowed to keep operating in the home on Rutherford.

Mata did not immediately return a message left on her cell phone asking for the reason of the most recent move and where the residents are going.

Neighbors continued to protest in recent months and pushed for meetings with local and state politicians to find what they said would be more appropriate housing for recovering sex offenders.

Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, held a community meeting to explore potential changes to state laws. And Orange County people on both sides of the issue appeared on a "Dr. Phil " TV episode to debate the issue of housing for sex offenders.

Mata's husband and church pastor, Jose, reached by phone Thursday, deferred comment to his wife. He has said neighbors should not feel unsafe – the sex offenders are closely monitored and committed to recovery.

"I believe these are men committed to turning their lives around through Christ," Mata said when the controversy sparked in April. "Some people will tell you the only way they will change is with a bullet through their head. We don't believe that. They made mistakes. And with love and compassion, they can change."

Still, Liptrap-Gutierrez, one of a handful of community leaders who has kept up the pressure, said her neighborhood is feeling great relief with the sex offenders gone.

"The four moms who were most involved (in pushing out the sex offenders) are hiring a limousine and going out to a nice dinner in Brea to celebrate," she said.

Liptrap-Gutierrez said she wants to continue working with politicians to draft new laws that would regulate where paroled sex offenders can live.

In what she called an odd coincidence, on her way to work from Anaheim to Huntington Beach, she spotted the car of one of the sex offenders who used to live on Meadowlark.

After doing some research online, she found that some sex offenders are in a home on the 10900 block of Jean Street in unincorporated Anaheim – about 10 miles west of her neighborhood.

The Meagan's Law registry lists three sex offenders living in a house on that street. It's unclear if the home is operated by the Holy Ground church.

"I went and knocked on doors in that neighborhood to let the neighbors know they'd moved there," Liptrap-Gutierrez said. "Without legislation, this problem will continue."

IN - Sex Offenders' Names Expunged From Registry

Original Article
See Also
State V. Wallace (PDF)


Appeals Follow High Court Ruling On Retroactive Listings

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three Indiana sex offenders who claimed they should never have been on the state's registry had their names removed on Thursday.

Attorneys for the men argued that the crimes were committed and the convictions handed down prior to the creation of the Indiana Sex Offender Registry in 1994, and, therefore, their clients' names should not be listed, 6News' Derrik Thomas reported.

The defendants petitioned the court, saying that having their names on the registry has hurt their chances of getting jobs and finding housing.

"Before, it was never considered punishment. It was a civil sanction, like a parking fine," said Kathleen Sweeney, the attorney for [name withheld], 39, who received an eight-year sentence for rape in July of 1992. "Now they are saying this is so significant and invasive and you can never get rehabilitation, and so now they are saying that it's punishment."

The challenges follow a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which requires sex offenders to register, did not authorize retroactive enforcement.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office said it will be vigilant in overseeing similar cases.

"Our interest is ensuring that the registry has integrity and people are on the registry that are required to register," said Attorney General Chief Deputy Gary Secrest.

There are about 70 cases in Indiana of sex offenders appealing their registry listing. There are more than 13,000 sex offenders currently on the registry.

Sex zealots cast the first stone in war on good sense

Original Article



I’ve never been to a judicial stoning in that holy of holies, the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose leaders never tire of subjecting us to creepy and sanctimonious moralising on justice and peace for mankind — especially men.

Perhaps it is fitting , in this once cradle of civilisation, that the stoning to death of a woman — lapidation — is not just a matter of lobbing bits of geology at them willy-nilly until they repent. No. The law is strict in that it demands the stones be not so big that two of them can kill, but not that small to be “pebbles”.

While Iran’s petro-theocracy is cagey on stoning as a whole, they have defended it, even suggesting only a small band of “believers” attend so as not to stir things up in enemy media.

Amazing, really, that a leadership that promotes official barbarism is still largely accepted as a civilised entity.

In any event, among the ever-demanded “good news” to come our way of late was Iran’s announcement that it will not, yet, stone “adultererSakineh Ashtiani, in prison since 2006.

Said Mohammed Larijani, of Iran’s “human rights council”: “The hue and cry that the west has launched over this case will not affect our judges…. Islamic regulations like stoning and the headscarf have always been faced with their ugly hostility and opposition.” Hmm.

Funny how, now that human rights is a global racket and each country has its own rights “commission”, it’s still so often left to the media and Amnesty to offer a conscience.

But the media is not beyond fault in reporting justice issues.

I was thinking about Iran’s stoning when I stumbled, as I do late at night, on Russia Today, a sort of CNN from the Kremlin. The insert, called Untouchables, opens with a guy doing chores at a tent “pitchedunder a bridge in Miami, south Florida. Turns out, the “camper” is a paroled sex offender, and a product of overzealous laws encouraged (no, demanded) by a self-serving media.

The camper belongs to a “tribe” of registered offenders living under Tuttle Causeway. These outcasts are living there because a “well-meant” law that bans sex offenders from staying within 800m of a school, church or park has squeezed them into tiny no-man’s lands, delineated by “sex-offender” estate agents using laptops and street maps.

Good, you may say, keep them away from our kids, but many who resist being forced into this twilight-zone existence abscond anyway. Still, media hysteria, driven by ratings, goads politicians into trying to outbid each other with calls for ever more extreme sentences. Any who demurs is one of “them”.

But justice is surely about judging each case on its merits, and not just handing down sentences mechanistically to whole categories of offenders. Like this, US “industrial-style” justice is hardly more civilised than the stonings of Iran.

Problems of crime have exercised human minds since the dawn of civilisation — some minds more than others. Now, as states reel under financial and existential crises, old ways of dealing with criminals are being questioned, for cost and efficacy.

In Britain, for instance, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke says public fears over crime are overblown and do not reflect the reality of life in Britain. Of how many societies, including SA, could one say much the same?

He says millions can be saved from the £2,2bn prisons budget by jailing fewer offenders and by slashing sentences, and he questions tougher terms that have nearly doubled UK prison numbers since the early 1990s.

At public cost, politicians use the media to build careers on a shrill self-righteousness about crime and sexual morality — be it in Iran, the US or the UK.

The media often goes along for the ride, but is the public any safer for it? I doubt it.

- Bulger has always wanted to be in TV but has been stuck in the print media for 250 years.

CANADA - Circle of support helps sex offenders find right path

Original Article

This is something the US needs, instead of the draconian injustice we now have. If they really wanted to help eliminate crime and sexual crimes, then they'd look into this.


By Emma Taylor Kingston

The hard truth when it comes to the majority of sex offenders is that they will, at some point, be released into our communities.

The question is, then what?

Enter the Salvation Army and their Circles of Support and Accountability Program.

While it in no way excuses them from their crimes, the program provides a network of support for released sex offenders in the community.

The initiative, headed by The Salvation Army Correctional and Justice Services Freedom Ministries, was originally started to fill a gap in service left by government policy. Offenders at the highest risk of reoffending were incarcerated until the end of their full sentence and then released on to the streets without any aftercare.

"For the community at large, there is the reality that these men are going to be released into their community and a program offering an 83 per cent success rate is something every community should be grateful for," says Reverend Bill Richardson, Circles of Support and Accountability.

Richardson says that without support and encouragement many offenders would not last long in a society that doesn't want them. Having the support of those volunteers can make all the difference.

The program was established in Kingston in the spring of 1999. Approximately 16 core members have gone through the program and there are presently five Circles underway.

The support team is made up of four to seven volunteers who make a commitment to support and hold the released offender (core member) accountable. All volunteers are interviewed, screened and informed about the Circles program. They also participate in regular training sessions from police, psychologists, clergy, and mental health professions.

Entitled Circles of Support & Accountability: A National Replication of Outcome Findings included recidivism data that had been collected in an Ontario pilot sample by Robin J. Wilson, Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, in 2005. The data showed that core members in CoSA programs had 83 per cent less sexual re-offending, 73 per cent less violent re-offending and 72 per cent less re-offending of any kind.

CoSA volunteer Kelly Rogers, 20, will be graduating this June from the Community and Justice Services-Correctional Worker program at St. Lawrence College. She will return next year to take policing studies. Originally from Newmarket, she moved to Kingston three years ago to attend school. As part of her program requirements she had to complete two community co-ops. Her second co-op placement took her to The Salvation Army where she met Richardson.

"I told him I wanted to get into policing in Toronto and work with victims of human trafficking and sex crimes and he suggested that CoSA would be a good way for me to gain some insight and see the other side of things," says Rogers. "It's a great way to get experience and volunteer."

At the beginning of the relationship between the offender and CoSA, an assessment determines if the program is a fit for them and if they are capable of meeting all the requirements for programming.

"We take the core member and the group is formed around them," says Rogers.

Volunteers keep in contact with the core member, and hold weekly meetings where they discuss different topics. Safety precautions are taken to ensure offenders and volunteers are never alone together.

Often they discuss something as simple as how their week is going. Core members need someone who will be there to listen and offer encouragement, which is one of the best ways to prevent them re-offending.

"It is the biggest thing you can do to keep your community safe," states Rogers. "There is not a lot of post-release programming for warrant expired sex-offenders or sex-offenders in general. This is a no-fee community oriented program which provides them with the support and resources they need."

Rogers admits she had a difficult time grasping the idea of sex crimes, especially those involving children. CoSA helped her get past the crime and see the offenders as human beings with needs and wants.

The offenders will never lose the stigma of what they have done, she points out, but if you look back in their past most people who have committed sex crimes have been victims themselves, or there is a history of abandonment or neglect.

"I don't think people grow up and one day decide they are going to destroy someone's life. They are probably just as broken underneath."

CA - Sex Offender System Gives False Alarm

Original Article

GPS is a waste of tax payer dollars, and has tons of flaws and false alarms. Just check out the GPS label on this blog, and see the many flaws. And also view this video.


Glitch Sends Out False Signals That Registered Offenders Entered Fairgrounds

SACRAMENTO - A glitch in the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's monitoring system falsely notified officials that sex offenders were entering the California State Fair.

Many sex offenders are not allowed in the fair; the department set up a red violation zone that around Cal Expo that will alert them whenever one on parole wearing a GPS-monitoring device enters the fairgrounds.
- Is this true? Or is it they cannot loiter around kids? Being at a fair with a purpose, is not loitering!

The monitoring system worked perfectly Tuesday when KCRA 3 put it to the test.

Then, on the fair's opening day, parole agents received alerts that more than one sex offender was inside.

Parole administrator Marvin Speed described it as a "momentary hit," which was actually a false alarm.

We can get a drift point up to 30 feet or so,” Speed said.

Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, a sex offender using a bike path behind the fair launched an investigation. Sex offenders living in apartments across the street also alerted the system.

Even though it was a false alarm, it does tell us our zone is up and working as it is designed to work,” Speed said.

The parole division experienced the same glitch last year and tried to fix it by alerting the violation zone created around Cal Expo.

You only want to pull the grid back so far, because you don't want to compromise your ability to have an early determination if somebody is in the zone,” Speed said.

Speed also said he’d rather investigate false alarms than risk missing a real threat.

Last year, parole agents arrested five sex offenders on charges of entering the state fair. They arrested dozens more at county fairs throughout the state.

MN - State Nursing Home for Sex Offenders Sits Empty for Year

Original Article

Also view the video at the link above.


The state of Minnesota spent nearly $10 million taxpayer dollars to build a nursing home for convicted sex offenders a state of the art, secured facility, but there's one very big problem; The new nursing home for committed sex offenders in St. Peter has sat unused for a year, because the building hasn't passed state inspection.

The building was finished last July and a ribbon cutting was held in October, but final inspections of the building hadn't taken place.

Nearly nine months later, the needed repairs still haven't been done. A hallway is too narrow, handrails and faucets are set at the wrong height and a fire alarm system locks doors instead of opening them in the event of a fire, says inspection reports. Dozens of other problems are listed in the inspections.
- I wonder if this was deliberate?

Meanwhile, taxpayers have had to heat and cool the empty building for a year, costing more than $5,000.

The 15 sex offenders who were supposed to be moved to the new facility are being housed in another building on the St. Peter campus. Eventually, the state says the 48-bed facility will be filled to capacity.

Our 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Investigation has caught the attention of lawmakers. As a result, the St. Peter Project will be front and center at a legislative hearing later this summer.

FL - Woman (Barbara Farris) Setting Up Cams To Watch Sex Offenders

Original Article
Going After Sex Offenders

See the video at the link above. Also see these videos (here, here, here and here) Someone needs to put a camera up in front of her home and see if she feels the same way!


ORANGE COUNTY - A self-proclaimed vigilante is setting up video cameras in an Orange County community in an effort to keep an eye on registered sex offenders, she told WFTV Wednesday.

WFTV has reported that more than 100 sex offenders live in the Lake Shore Village Mobile Home Park off North Orange Blossom Trail. Barbara Farris, who runs the group “Bee Aware,” is spending nearly $14,000 to install five surveillance cameras to keep an eye on the offenders.

"If their probation, it says no contact with children, then there's no contact with children, and we got it on camera," Farris said.

The owner of Lake Shore Village gave Farris the go-ahead to put the cameras on property. She'll have access to a video feed, as will local police and probation officers.

Some residents called the cameras an invasion of privacy.

Farris said the cameras will be up and running soon.
- I have heard she will also have them on the Internet, streaming, so anybody can watch them as well.

KY - In Depth: Amanda’s Law Goes Into Effect

Original Article (Listen)


Amanda’s Law, which allows satellite tracking of individuals in some Kentucky domestic violence cases, is officially now in effect. But in Frankfort, lawmakers continue gathering data on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring systems.

Amanda’s Law, which won unanimous legislative approval this year, and was quickly signed by Governor Beshear, allows judges to require violators of domestic violence orders to wear satellite tracking devices. Similar systems are already tracking parolees in almost 30 states, including Kentucky. Gary Tullock of the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole says the systems work well, but can be labor intensive, because someone has to respond when violations occur.

It’s not just putting a unit on an offender and sending them out the door and expecting nothing to happen,” said Tullock (in photo with colleague Susan Shettlesworth). “I have told panels in Tennessee, that the only thing worse than not knowing where a sex offender is and what they’re doing, is knowing where they are and not doing anything about it.”
- What?  This is about domestic violence, so why are you talking about sex offenders?

Tullock says to avoid high staff turnover, it’s important to determine a sustainable caseload for officers and to use an on-call officer for after-hours alert responses.

If you’ve just got one person working in a county and they’re going to have to respond to every alert, it’s going to be a tremendous intrusion on their time,” said Tullock.

Tullock, who appeared before a legislative panel in Frankfort, says state employees keep track of Tennessee parolees and sex offenders. But with Amanda’s Law, that duty will be handled by private vendors, says Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Tom Jensen.

One of the things that you saw here is that Tennessee opted to – although they hired a vendor to supply the matters, the state was operating it themselves,” said Jensen. “In Amanda’s Law that’s not the case.”

Also listening to Tullock’s testimony was Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson, who says Kentucky uses GPS to track more than 300 released inmates and parolees. But she says Tennessee and Kentucky use the systems differently.

They put their high-risk offenders on the bracelets,” said Thompson. “We put our low-risk offenders on the bracelets. We bring back maybe five, six every month, and part of those are inmates who’ve lost their phone or home placement. So, it’s not always some type of infraction. And generally, what we bring them back for are drugs and alcohol.”

Parolees have already broken the law, but Amanda’s Law aims to prevent individuals from crossing that line. GPS systems not only allow authorities to track the location of individuals, but can also warn intended victims of the presence of potential attackers. The costs – estimated at $12 to $17 a day – will be borne by those ordered to wear the devices. But that’s one aspect of the law that still worries Sen. Jensen.
- So tell me, if a victim is walking the street and an offender is near by, how are they going to know?  This is just more BS, IMO.

Under Amanda’s Law, that company’s supposed to eat that amount if the person can’t pay for it, can’t afford it,” said Jensen. “So, you’re gonna have a lot of companies that are going to ignore several counties in the state because it won’t be profitable.”

But House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the primary sponsor of Amanda’s Law, recommends counties band together to reduce costs.

If you’re a very small county – like a Wolfe County, or a Lee County, or an Owsley County – the smart thing for you to do would be to partner with whoever your neighboring county is,” said Stumbo. “It’s the same thing we’re doing with the jails now. The more participants, the more likely it is that the rate would be kept lower.”

Amanda’s Law is not mandatory. But in coming months, lawmakers will be watching to see how many counties adopt it, and how effective it is. The law is named for Amanda Ross, a former state employee who was shot to death outside her Lexington townhouse last September. Prior to her death, she had taken out a domestic violence order against the man accused of killing her, former state lawmaker Steve Nunn. Nunn, who has pleaded not guilty, still awaits trial.

Video Link

Video Link

UK - 'Wicked' woman (Leyla Ibrahim) jailed over false rape claim

Original Article


By Kim Pilling

An "irresponsible and wicked" woman was jailed for three years today after she slashed her body, hair and clothing to convince police she was the victim of a serious sexual assault.

A judge told Leyla Ibrahim, 22, she was dishonest from "first to last" as her false claim sparked a major police investigation and led to the arrest of four innocent men.

Her allegation that she was attacked while walking home alone at night led to the suspects being held in custody for more than 60 hours.

One man described his ordeal in detention as "torture" while another attempted self harm, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Petrol station attendant Ibrahim, of Carlisle, Cumbria, wanted to teach her friends a lesson in January last year after they were said to have refused to give her a lift home.

She told detectives she had been knocked to the ground on a footpath and sexually assaulted by two youths.

Photofits were placed around the city of Carlisle as a team of detectives were deployed for the large-scale manhunt which cost more than £150,000.

The four suspects were arrested but then doubts emerged about Ibrahim's account when a pair of scissors carrying only fibres of her own clothing were found near to the scene of the so-called attack.

Two months after reporting the incident she was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and later charged with the offence.

Ibrahim, who is seven months' pregnant, was then convicted by a jury last month following a 10-day trial.

Sentencing today, Judge Paul Batty QC said: "This is a serious offence. It damages the administration of justice in an extremely sensitive area."

"Every false allegation of rape or serious sexual assault increases the plight of those women who have been the victim of such a dreadful crime and makes it harder to prove where a crime really has taken place."

"Your behaviour throughout these proceedings has been irresponsible in the extreme and many would say wicked."

"You diverted the scant resources of police who looked for the supposed attackers."

He added that "if that was not bad enough" it also led to the arrest of four innocent men.

"They were kept in custody for more than 60 hours and were subjected to extremely distressing examinations of their genitalia," he said.

"One was so upset he attempted self harm."

"You persisted in your dishonest conduct from first to last. You still maintain you were the victim of this serious crime."

The judge said Ibrahim was even given the chance to retract her statement by police who said she needed help and that she convinced a doctor with 20 years of experience in the field that she had suffered extreme pain.

"You went to great lengths to make out an attack had taken place," he continued. "You tore up your clothing, and cut your own body with a pair of scissors."

"You feigned illness and injury."

"When internally examined there was nothing wrong with you."

"It is entirely clear in this case you craved attention and you wanted your friends who had left you that night to know you were the subject of a serious sex attack."

"You wanted to teach them a lesson. You are extremely immature."

Ibrahim, of Deerpark Road, will serve half her sentence in custody before she is released on licence for the remaining period.

Tim Evans, prosecuting, said one of the individuals arrested described his period in custody as "torture" and that he was "devastated" at being linked to the supposed crime.

"Another said the taking of samples was horrible and that people were spreading rumours on his release that he was a rapist," he said.

A bout of depression and self-harm was triggered in a third man during his time in detention, Mr Evans said.

Hilary Manley, defending, said: "There is very little I can say given her comments to the author of the pre-sentence report. She maintains her innocence."

"I have to accept the suffering of the four males arrested who were fortunately released."

"I also accept the impact on the police and society on these sort of offences."

"All I can say was that no actual male was named or deliberately identified but that would be of scant comfort to the four individuals who were kept in custody for some time."

She said the defendant had no psychological background and showed no personality issues prior to January last year.

She had been apparently leading an exemplary life in work with no issues with drugs or excess alcohol - although the trial heard evidence she had been binge drinking on the night of her false claim.

Miss Manley said the defendant, supported by her family in court, was due to give birth on September 12 and wanted her child to stay with her in custody.

Judge Batty praised detectives in the inquiry for their thoroughness in dealing with the "extremely sensitive and delicate case" and said the lead officer and interviewing officer should be commended.

Following sentencing, the officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Superintendent Cath Thundercloud, said: "When this young woman reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted, we took her seriously."

"We conducted a large-scale and complex investigation with dedicated teams of detectives working long hours to gather forensic evidence, manage crime scenes and question suspects and witnesses."

"It was only when we began to uncover evidence to suggest that the incident had not taken place that we began following those lines of inquiry."

"As the senior investigating officer I had to think long and hard about progressing this prosecution. I was concerned that it may deter genuine victims from coming forward."

"We have a duty to present our findings before a judge and jury so that they can ensure that justice is done and this was a rare example where the evidence gathered pointed to the rape not having occurred."

"The most important thing to me now is to ensure that victims of sex assaults continue to call police immediately. You will be taken seriously. You will be supported and we will investigate thoroughly."

Linda Vance, District Crown Prosecutor for Cumbria, said: "This sort of case, where someone fabricates an allegation of sexual assault and continues with that false allegation, is very rare."

"But as in this case, the consequences can be very serious."

"Not only was this false allegation very worrying for the local community who feared there were two attackers still at large in the area, they also resulted in the arrest of four innocent men."

"Perverting the course of justice in this way is a serious matter as it undermines the whole basis of our justice system."

"This case should not in any way deter victims of rape or sexual assault from coming forward. If you have been the victim of sexual assault you will be taken seriously and you will be believed and supported."

"We have been working very closely with the police and voluntary organisations to continue to improve how we deal with sexual offence cases as well as how we support victims in bringing cases to court. And as a result in the last year we have seen an increase in the number of convictions for these offences."

"We will continue to do all we can to provide the best service possible to victims of sexual violence."

UK - Fortress nursery scans parents’ fingerprints when they pick up their children

Original Article

Wow, it has come to this. Next the Gestapo will be out on every street corner taking blood and DNA, and all these idiots will be praising them for "keeping them safe!" So, I guess these parents are okay will eradicating their privacy and freedom as long as "Big Brother" is "protecting" them? Scary!


By Mark Prigg, Tim Ross and Laura Lambert

London's first “fortress nursery” is to open within weeks amid rising fears about the safety of children.

Asquith Day Nursery in West Dulwich is installing an £80,000 security system, previously only seen in secure facilities, to ease parents' fears after a spate of shootings and stabbings in Lambeth.

Surrounding the school is a wooden fence more than six feet high and leaves no possibility of peering into the outdoor areas or windows.

In order to collect their children, parents have their fingerprints scanned at an outer set of doors before entering a frequently changed pass code at a second set.

There is also a list of names with accompanying photos to identify those who have been cleared to collect one of the children, which staff check manually.

Nursery manager Michaela Waitman said: “Every parent we have spoken to about the new security and educational programmes loves the concepts.”

Asquith now plans to spend £1.8 million rolling the scheme out across the company's 84 nurseries nationwide.

However, experts today accused the nursery of introducing excessive measures, and warned that the high security could affect children's development.

Simon Davies of Privacy International said: “Children have a right to privacy, to develop in a normal environment so they can become normal people. It is a difficult balance between children being safe and having freedom, but this is overkill.
- I totally agree.  Fear has taken over everybody!

Margaret Morrissey, founder of campaign group Parents Outloud, said the scheme was “bizarre”.

Quite frankly there isn't that sort of security in Wandsworth prison,” she said. “Nobody is going to convince me that anywhere — let alone Dulwich — needs that kind of extreme security."

After the care that children are given, the safety of access is the priority for parents. But any nursery that goes to the level of finger-printing has obviously got far too much money and ought to be reducing the fees. It will make children very nervous and over-protected.”

Asquith Nurseries CEO Andy Morris today defended the move. “Our top priority is child safety and security,” he said. “This pioneering programme goes further than ever before towards providing a totally safe environment for children entrusted to our care by parents. I have banned mobile phones from all our nurseries to make sure no one can photograph children on the premises.”

Ofsted obliges nurseries to carry out Criminal Record Bureau checks and suggests verbal references for staff. Asquith also insists on written references.

View from the kindergarten

Anna Matos, 31
Mother of Ines, from East Dulwich

“They really care about the children. Even for the parents to get in, we have to go through coded doors. They have the parents' photos. If someone else wants to pick her up I have to send their photos and name.”

Elizabeth Crawford, 21
Mother of Isaac, From West Norwood

“You can't just walk into the building. When I'm at work I don't worry about his safety. Security was one of my main criteria for choosing a nursery and dismissed others which weren't as good as this.”

Louise Freeman, 35
Mother of Sonny, from East Dulwich

“I think it's great. It's better to be extra cautious. I feel safer knowing it's hard to gain entry. My son loves the extra classroom equipment and he loves coming here.”