Friday, January 4, 2013

MA - A murder occurs and instead of punishing just the murderer, Massachusetts punishes the scapegoat (ex-sex offenders)?

Original Article


By George Brennan

Less than a decade after a Falmouth murder case shined the spotlight on the need for reform of the state's Sex Offender Registry, a monitoring program sparked by the outrage no longer exists — a victim of budget cuts.
- As usual, a murder occurs, so they go after ex-sex offenders instead of murderers!  That is like punishing all thieves for something a serial killer has done.  Yeah, doesn't make much sense, does it?  Sex offenders are nothing more than today's scapegoat!

Now, in the wake of an alleged sex abuse case at an unlicensed day care center in Wakefield, there is a renewed push to reform how sex offenders are classified. [name withheld], whose wife ran the day care business, had previously been classified as a Level I sex offender for a 1989 conviction of assault on a child.

In her inaugural speech Wednesday, Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, who represents the Upper Cape, said the state's sex offender laws will be one of her legislative priorities.
- Yes of course, she is trying to get elected, or just elected, so what better way to appeal to the sheeple?  This just goes to show you that no matter how many laws you pass, if a person is intent on committing a crime, they will.  These laws are useless and just used by politicians to help them get elected, or to help them look "tough" to the ignorant public.

"With the start of this new session, we will re-examine the criteria for sex offender registration to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect our children and their families," Murray said after being elected to her fourth term in the Senate's top job.
- No matter what you do, it won't prevent children from being harmed, period!

It was Murray who in 2004 worked with Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings and Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe after [name withheld], a registered sex offender who had failed to notify law enforcement of his moves as required by law, killed 20-year-old [name withheld] of Falmouth.

Murray pushed for $275,000 to bring a pilot program to the county that made sure sex offenders were classified before leaving prison, Cummings said Thursday. Inmates in state prison were sent to the Barnstable County Correctional Facility in Bourne for the last six to nine months of their sentences, Cummings said, where hearings were held by the Sex Offender Registry Board to classify them as Level I, II or III sex offenders.

While they were still in jail, the sheriff's office and local police teamed up to check out the address where the offender planned to live, Cummings said. They also did periodic checks to make sure the offender hadn't moved without letting law enforcement know, he said.

Officers and sheriff's deputies also checked in with employers periodically, he said.

"It was a great program, and we wanted to expand it, but (the) administration cut funding," Murray said Thursday.

With the funding cut in 2008, the sheriff still holds hearings at the jail for inmates sentenced to Barnstable County, but no longer has the resources to take in all Cape sex offenders from other jails, he said. The department can no long afford to do the routine checks, Cummings said.

"We pretty much had a thumb on where they lived and worked," he said. "We don't do that anymore either."

Murray said she would like to see funding for that program restored and to tighten up controls that allow suspects like [name withheld] to slip through the cracks.

"You have to fund it," she said. "It's a public safety issue. We put money in other areas. We need to put money into this."

Murray would also like the criteria for each level to be reviewed because she doesn't believe [name withheld] should ever have been classified as a Level I. The Sex Offender Registry Board also should have the ability to review allegations brought against a sex offender, even if it doesn't result in a court conviction, she said.
- It doesn't matter what someone classifies an offender, it will never be enough.  If they commit another crime, politicians will say, "See, the program isn't working and he/she shouldn't have been a tier 1," just like this politician is now screaming about.  They will not be satisfied until all criminals are in prison for life and never let out, but even then I'm sure they'll find something else to be dissatisfied about.

The state Department of Corrections also must begin review of sex offenders earlier to ensure that none are released before they are classified, something that's already required by law but isn't always being done because of a backlog of cases, Murray said.

Charles McDonald, a spokesman for the Sex Offender Registry Board, said the agency has cut the classification time in half and only a "small number" are released without being classified.

Classifications have to be able to withstand judicial review, he said.

Murray said a small working group is already looking at possible reforms, noting that the Patrick administration, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, are all on board with making changes.

The registry board supported a comprehensive bill filed by Gov. Patrick in 2012 that would have allowed the posting of Level II offenders and the release of Level I offenders upon request, McDonald said. He's hopeful some of those reforms will be considered this year.

Cummings said he was pleased to hear Murray once again leading the charge for tighter controls on sex offenders, though he acknowledged being frustrated that it takes high profile incidents like the Wessner murder and the alleged abuse of babies in Wakefield to trigger change.

"It's like crisis management seems to be the way government works," Cummings said.

Having Murray behind it will help, he said. "That's where the money is going to come from."

O'Keefe, the district attorney who is president of the state association of district attorneys for the coming year, met briefly with Murray during a visit to the Statehouse on Thursday.

"We haven't seen any proposals or discussed any details, but that would be a welcome initiative that she's undertaking," O'Keefe said.


Loneranger said...

So classifying people as soon as possible is the answer? tracking their addresses to make sure they live someplace or not as the case maybe is the most important thing they can do? Complain that funds are not available for such programs? Really? Every time money is diverted to programs like this another program suffers. Things like education are sucked dry to fund programs that have not done anything except make a list of where people live and then hound them if they don't come in and tell them where they live. Millions wasted on the premise that knowing where someone lives and publishing will stop someone from being harmed. How? Fact if it's a stranger danger then you didn't know them anyway. It is impossible to memories each and every person on a list. Even if you know you can not stop someone that is intent on harming you. So the bureaucratic empire grows. The idea that information is power is true. to place this kind of power in the hands of everyone is irresponsible. In a populous that is somewhere in the range of 311 million people how many will miss use this information to harm someone? If they really want to stop people from being harmed why set people up to be harmed? Why enable the ones that have nothing better to do then to check a list for potential victims. Until we stop dehumanizing people with this progress in prevention will grind to a halt. Before someone can be helped to stop destructive behavior they must be able to get help. To make reporting or even trying to get help a death sentence for the offender is counter productive. but maybe this is what they really want. The more they can say they are tracking the more information they are producing the more they make. Fact is it does little good and so much more harm in the long run. The idea that somehow this makes people safe can only be if you discount the fact that people on the list are people as well. Then the harm that continues is justified. However it takes a twisted mind to justify thinking that way. One might even say criminal.

deathklok said...

I'm always amazed at how politicians are willing to leap into action and spend large amounts of their precious tax resources to prevent extremely rare instances like this from reoccurring. If they honestly believe that this will prevent another incident like this from happening, then maybe they should consult with Jaycee Lee Dugard. All the surveillance California could afford didn't help her from being abducted and held hostage in a sex offenders home (for 18yrs.). It did make the state accountable for the $20 million dollar award and apologies she received (government incompetence) Where did all that money come from? Most certainly not from the pensions of our great leaders or those that were hired to protect her from Garrido. So where was the real accountability? Thrown back on the citizens of course.

They should take into consideration that Massachusetts is making the declaration that they're willing to accept this responsibility and insure every future child being abused by a registered sex offender. Which will cost more? Getting the program up and running or the money spent on lawsuits down the road.

The logical solution to me seems to be simple; Punish the person who committed the offense. Not society. If politicians are willing to accept responsibility for the actions of criminals; than I'm okay with that. Don't push it off on me without evidence of my involvement.