Thursday, August 2, 2012

NY - Cracking down on sex offenders

Original Article

08/02/2012

By Rick Karlin

Top law enforcement officials earlier today rolled out a toughened stance on sex offenders, primarily by requiring them to get updated photos every time they change their appearance and by making sure their pre-release interviews are recorded and saved.

The first part makes it harder for offenders to hide their identities which are made public on a state website that allows users to punch in a ZIP code and see if there are any offenders in that area.

The second part will probably have the effect of keeping more offenders civilly confined in secure state hospitals after their prison terms are up. There are currently 229 offenders who are confined and 34,349 on the state’s offender list.

Here are some more details, with a video, courtesy of Kyle Hughes at NYSNYS, of the press conference:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has signed legislation to better protect New Yorkers from sexual offenders. This legislation complements reforms already implemented by the administration which strengthen the state’s civil confinement procedures and better detect the risk of recidivism among sex offenders.

These steps further strengthen the Governor’s commitment to making New York the safest and fairest state in the nation by getting the right information to law enforcement and the public, and by following the science and relying on evidence based practices.

The first bill authorizes law enforcement officials to update the photographs of high-risk sexual offenders every 90 days or if the offender’s appearance has changed, depending on which comes sooner. These photos will also be sent to the sex offender registry for use by the public and law enforcement. Currently, these high-risk offenders must submit a photograph only once a year.

This bill will help police to apprehend criminals in the event that they repeat their crimes or flee from supervision by ensuring that officers have all the tools they need to identify them. This bill will take effect in 30 days.

The second piece of legislation signed today requires the Board of Parole to record and write down a transcript of the release interviews for detained sex offenders. These records will be provided to the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office of the Attorney General for use in determining whether to seek a civil confinement hearing for an offender.

This bill will help make informed judgments about the risk posed by sexual offenders, and it will also take effect in 30 days.

The third bill that was signed into law by the Governor today requires that law enforcement officials be notified by a professional conduct officer from the State Education Department’s Office of Professional Discipline when they are investigating a complaint of sexual misconduct against a licensed health care provider. This bill takes immediate effect.

In addition, Governor Cuomo today announced a series of comprehensive reforms that use science to minimize the risks sex offenders may pose to communities across New York State.

Under the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (SOMTA) law passed in 2007, sex offenders who are about to be released from prison in accordance with their sentences are evaluated by OMH and, in appropriate cases, by a court, to determine whether they should be recommended for civil confinement by a court upon release from prison, allowed to be released, but placed on Strict & Intensive Supervision & Treatment (SIST), or instead released under parole supervision by Department of Correctional Services if time remains on the underlying sentence. The reforms include:

New Standards for Referral by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) of Sex Offenders for Possible Civil Confinement
  • OMH has redesigned its case review process to give greater weight to factor that are proven to predict risk of re-offense. These factors go beyond a person’s prior criminal history and include “dynamic” risk factors” such as inability to form healthy relationships, sexual pre-occupation, emotional identification with children and psychopathy. In addition, these factors are identified earlier in the screening process to insure these cases move forward through the review process in a timely and complete manner.
  • Any sex offender approaching release will automatically be referred for a full, in-depth Case Review Team (CRT) evaluation if he has a significant sex offending history or he is high on OMH’s measurement of dynamic risk factors.
  • To ensure a complete understanding of the offender’s history, the CRT will ensure that its comprehensive review will also include an examination of any concerns expressed by parole regarding an offender’s risk of re-offense. These new triggers and rules for an in-depth CRT assessment and psychiatric examinations will increase significantly the number of sex offenders whose cases will be thoroughly reviewed and, if appropriate, referred to the Attorney General for court proceedings to seek civil confinement or SIST supervision.

Already this new process has resulted in a significant increase in referrals to CRT teams and for psychiatric examinations.

New Information Sharing System and Protocol To Ensure All Relevant Records Are Reviewed By the Office of Mental Health Prior to a Sex Offender’s Release from Prison
  • All relevant records on an offender from DOCCS, OMH, and the Division of Criminal Justice Services will be digitally scanned and loaded electronically into a centralized digital image bank. That system and protocol will ensure that OMH has all relevant records in its possession during its review of sex offenders for potential civil management.

Reforms of Parole Supervision of Sex Offenders to Protect Against Recidivism
  • DOCCS will incorporate new dynamic risk assessment tools into its supervision of sex offenders on Parole who are not on SIST. This tool is designed expressly for sex offenders to identify over time indicators of the offender committing another crime.

The tools will be administered regularly by Parole Officers in their meetings with offenders will help alert DOCCS to any signs that an offender could commit a crime. DOCCS staff will begin training with this tool in September 2012.

Improvements to Sex Offender Treatment in the Community
  • All sex offender treatment providers serving sex offenders on parole will now be required to communicate with the offender’s Parole Officer regularly concerning the offender’s status in treatment and any failures to participate in meetings. Previously, this has only been required for offenders under SIST.

And the happy quotes:

“These new laws, coupled with our comprehensive reforms, will better protect the public against sex offenders,” Governor Cuomo said. “These changes will ensure that offenders are carefully tracked with the goal of keeping sex offenders off the street when they pose a threat to society, as well as giving the, the opportunity to receive better treatment if they are able to live in the community without re-offending. I thank the sponsors of this legislation for joining with us to strengthen these procedures and helping to keep New York safe.”

Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi (D-Utica), who sponsored both measures in the Assembly, said: “These laws are common sense measures that will help protect New Yorkers from violent sex offenders who try to skirt parole requirements or who are not mentally fit for release from incarceration. I commend Governor Cuomo for working with us to help protect our families and loved ones from violent sexual offenders and to provide law enforcement and the public with the most up to date information to catch these individuals if they violate parole requirements.”

For the second bill

Senator Joseph A. Griffo, who sponsored this legislation in the New York State Senate, said: “These new laws will address flaws in the system. I vowed that I would do everything in my power to advocate and pass the measures necessary to protect people of Oneida County and not let New York families, already victimized once by predators, to be victimized a second time by that system. Today, we moved to show that no community anywhere in this state should have to live in the kind of fear that gripped Oneida County because of gaping holes in existing policies. We believe that keeping the public safe is an important responsibility, and that had these measures been in place, there could have been a far different chain of events than the tragedy that transpired last fall in Utica. We’re pleased that Governor Cuomo saw the need to plug the holes in the system by signing these measures which have the overwhelming support of lawmakers, law enforcement and the public.”

For the third bill

Senator Stephen Saland, the Senate sponsor, said: “For an act as heinous as sexual abuse by a mental health provider, we must ensure that the state acts in a strict, uniform manner to protect victims and punish offenders. We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Regardless of the technical certification of the mental health professional, the vital patient-provider relationship requires rigorous and consistent oversight on behalf of the state. I applaud the Governor for signing this legislation and thank my colleagues for making it a reality.”

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said, the bill’s Assembly sponsor, said: “This bill helps protect victims and strengthens the efforts of law enforcement officials. I commend the Governor for signing this legislation and creating one more tool in the fight for patient protection. As the Assembly sponsor of this measure, I am beyond pleased to see these stringent professional conduct requirements becoming the law in New York State.”

And now for some grandstanding!


AL - All sinners should be forced to post their sins online for all to see!

Original Article

Isn't it ironic how everybody is all for this, until it affects them? I think, to be fair, everybody who has sinned should be forced to put all their sins out in the open for everyone to see, so we can all make fun of them and harass them, what do you think? If you have nothing to hide, then you'd be all for it, right?

08/02/2012

By Shumuriel Ratliff

HUNTSVILLE - It's a part of Facebook, a listing that shows your marital status. Imagine seeing someone's status as sex offender. One state is about to put that law into effect. Louisiana will require sex offenders to document their status on social networking sites starting August 1st.

The state of Louisiana is trying to build on their existing sex offender registration laws by taking a new law to the World Wide Web. The law requires sex offenders and child predators to put their criminal status on their Facebook or other social networking page. Abuse survivor Allison Black Cornelius said that's information that children and parents need to know.

"I could absolutely see a benefit to it having to be mentioned on a Facebook page or any type of social media. I could see where that would make sense," Cornelius said. "I would want that on a social media site because social media is a requirement tool, but it seems to me that bad guys are so good at marketing and they are so good at reaching our kids, the good guys need to get that good. Instead of us figuring out how to shut them down, why don't the good guys start figuring out how to do as good a job?"

So, what would it take for a law like that to come to Alabama? According to the Alabama Department of Public Safety's web site, there are more than 11 thousand sex offenders in their registry. State house representative Dan Williams says if a bill like that were to be drawn up, it would probably pass.
- And Louisiana's law, is the test bed that will push us over the edge. If they do this and get a way with it, even though it's unconstitutional, more will follow, and we think they should so everyone who has sinned can see firsthand what it's like to be shamed online!

"I do think it's probably a good idea to keep the child molesters and the people who have been convicted of those types of crimes from using the social networks," Williams said. "I think a lot of people we found out are using those particularly for that; pornography and child pornography. I would be all for something like that."

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said knowing your new friend's criminal past could help them keep track of offenders.
- So why not put everyone's criminal history online for all to see?

"I think it's important that parents watch what their children are doing online and if the parents are able to see they are communicating with a sex offender, I think it would be to the benefit of the parent and the child and they could tell law enforcement," Johnson said.

Louisiana's law states that sex offenders and child predators "shall include in his profile for the networking web site an indication that he is a sex offender or child predator and shall include notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of the conviction, a description of his physical characteristics and his residential address."

Alabama lawmakers said a similar bill could find its way to our states legislature in no time.

Violators of Louisiana's new law could face a prison term between 2- 10 years without out parole and a fine up to $1,000. A second conviction carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment between 5-20 years without parole and a fine up to $3,000.


DC - The US House has considered the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2012 bill and two others

Click the image to read the article


IN - What boundaries do sex offenders have?


WA - Puyallup residents rally against proposed sex-offender house

Original Article

08/01/2012

By Joel Moreno

PUYALLUP - Droves of Puyallup residents came together Wednesday to fight a fellow homeowner's proposal to open a halfway house for sex offenders.

Despite the vocal opposition from community members and a majority of the Puyallup City Council, the man who's proposing the halfway house isn't giving up his fight.

Larry Parson's son is a registered sex offender, and now he's floating a plan to help such offenders transition out of prison into a halfway house. He also said he'd prioritize space for veterans.

"The idea is to provide housing for deserving veterans, whether they come out of prison or not," Parson said.

Whatever Parson's intentions are, the residents who showed up on Wednesday were not having it.

"I'm kind of offended that you keep using the word veteran to try and make us feel safe," said Tonya Helvey.

The home Parson bought is in a quiet South Puyallup neighborhood and is close to several elementary schools, which is one reason city officials say it likely wouldn't be a good fit for the neighborhood.

"I know there have been discussions of 14, 20 residents, something like that. We don't see how you could get there from here," said Tom Utterback, the city's Development Services Director.

Flyers have been going up around the neighborhood opposing the halfway house, which led to a petition drive that's already gathered close to 1,000 signatures.

About 350 people showed up to Wednesday's meeting, and many shouted down Parson whenever he spoke.

In the end, several city officials said they would oppose a sex-offender home, but they have to first see a formal plan.

"We really don't know what the proponent of this project is going to do. So we're playing a bit of a guessing game right now, as are you," said City Attorney Kevin Yamamoto.

Puyallup police say there are currently 63 registered sex offenders living in the city. None of them are classified as level three, which is the group most likely to re-offend.