Thursday, June 2, 2011

IL - Sex offender board can’t manage sex offenders

Original Article
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By Patrick Yeagle

An audit of the Illinois Sex Offender Management Board shows failures in tracking sex offenders, even as the state legislature considers ramping up monitoring requirements.

The audit (PDF), released May 26 by Illinois Auditor General William Holland, says SOMB failed to develop a system for monitoring sex offenders seven years after those requirements took effect.

Created in 1997 by the Illinois General Assembly, the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) is tasked with advising decision makers on sex offender policies, researching the effectiveness of the current system, and approving individuals and companies that provide treatment for sex offenders. In 2004, the legislature passed a law requiring the board to create a system for evaluating and tracking sex offenders, but that system is still nonexistent.

Though sex offenders in Illinois are required to register with the Illinois State Police, that is a separate system from the one SOMB was supposed to create, and the ISP registry involves only sporadic monitoring. The board was supposed to incorporate a means for “monitoring offender behaviors and offender adherence to prescribed behavioral changes,” but that has not happened.

The state sex offender registry maintained by the Illinois State Police showed 24,929 sex offenders registered on May 27, though the audit notes that “approximately two-thirds of registered Illinois sex offenders are not under any form of supervision.”

The results of this tracking and behavioral monitoring are required to be incorporated into any analysis by the Board regarding the effectiveness of the evaluation, identification and counseling procedures and programs developed…,” the audit states.

Holland says the lack of a system for tracking offenders makes it hard for the board to check the effectiveness of Illinois’ policies on sex offenders. He notes that SOMB had no timeline for implementing the system, and the board instead considered asking the legislature to remove that responsibility.

Management stated that they have made as much progress as is currently possible in the area of tracking and monitoring offender behavior, but due to limited appropriations and the lack of personnel, compliance with this portion of the statute is not feasible in the short term,” Holland says. “Further, management stated that tracking and monitoring systems are viewed as long-term goals due to the absence of a statutory deadline.”

The board defends its inactions, saying it lacks funding, staff and legal authority to accomplish its objectives.

To ensure that the program analyzes accurate, verifiable data, the Board needs the legal authority to require treatment providers to submit information about their evaluation and treatment methods, along with their observations of the offender’s behavior during treatment and after its completion,” SOMB says in the audit. “Currently, the Sex Offender Management Board has no legal authority … to require treatment providers to submit this information, making it extremely difficult to gather this data.”

The board also complains of sporadic board meeting attendance by many members and numerous board vacancies.

But the lack of research on the effectiveness of Illinois’ system has not stopped lawmakers from pushing for increased monitoring and restrictions on sex offenders.
- That is because they have no clue what laws are or aren't on the books, they just come up with something new, to make themselves look better, and push it through. Hell, Nancy Pelosi once said "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it!" So it's obvious they do not read the bills and understand the ramifications.

Senate Bill 1040 (PDF) would increase the length of time sex offenders have to register in the statewide database, increase the frequency of registration updates and even require sex offenders to report their whereabouts if staying in a temporary location for three or more days in a calendar year. Other bills would increase penalties for certain sex offenses, require sex offenders in college to register with their school and more. A bill that would have relaxed penalties for a teen caught in a consensual sex act with another teen under the legal age of consent failed in the House.

GA - Chatham County Sheriff claims a "state law" requires them to handout info on sex offenders

UPDATE: Well after checking the Georgia code, this sheriff is right. See my new comments in the comments section below this post. What a waste of money!


By JoAnn Merrigan

Savannah - It's not something most people would want to look at, but it is another tool now available for people to learn if a sex offender may live in their neighborhood. Today, Chatham County Sheriff deputies began delivering 110 binders filled with the names, pictures and addresses of area registered sex offenders.

Sheriff Al St. Lawrence
Sheriff Al St. Lawrence says the collection of information for the binders along with their delivery fulfills a new state law. The binders will be available for view at all public and private schools, as well as local colleges, City Halls and public libraries. "Particularly the public libraries if people want to go there and go through the books they can do so. And the board of education as well as private schools, and they will be able to keep up with what's going on as far as sex offenders are concerned," said St. Lawrence.
- What state law?

While the information is currently available online, St. Lawrence says the binders should help make citizens more aware. Yet he does say that awarness comes at a cost. While state mandated, he says the state provided no funding for the project, which cost about $15,000. He says updating the binders will also be a local expenses.
- So now they have to update the registry as well as reprint and redistribute new info when a change occurs?  What a waste of time and money!

Each binder is up to 400 pages. Each page shows a picture, name and address of an area registered sex offender (Yet when they move a couple days later, it's no longer relevant!). Officials say if an offender is added to the registry or a registered offender's address changes, they have a process in place to update the binders pretty easily. "We'll send an actual emaiI and then the contact person (at the school or library) will actually replace the old page with the new information," says Deputy Rhonda Bryant Elelby, who worked on lining up all the contacts who would receive the binders. "When someone gets an email update, they can just take the old page out and insert it with the new page," she says.

"Not everyone has access to a computer so they now actually have the website per se at their fingertips where they can go and flip through the books," says Bryant Elelby.

The community can also access photos of the sex offenders in Chatham County and received e-mail alerts about sex offenders who move into their neighborhood by visiting the CCSO website.