Wednesday, February 20, 2013

IN - Allen County considers fees for sex offenders

Original Article


By Kevin Leininger

Money would help pay cost of maintaining registry

Sex offenders living in Allen County could soon pay for their crimes in more ways than one.

The Allen County Commissioners on Friday are expected to consider an ordinance that would require sex offenders to pay an annual $50 registration fee, most of which would be used to offset the cost of maintaining the county's registry of sexual and violent offenders. A $5 fee would also be imposed each time an offender changes address.

Had the fees been in place last year, the county would have received about $21,000, according to Sheriff Ken Fries.

As The News-Sentinel reported in 2009, county police are unable to track the whereabouts of the hundreds of registered sex offenders living here. At the time, there were about 650 such offenders who, because of multiple moves, produced 1,794 addresses. But police were able to verify only 1,127 of those addresses, in part because the number of offenders living in the county had increased 26 percent in the previous three years.

About 440 registered offenders live in Allen County now, Fries said. State law requires police to maintain up-to-date photographs and addresses of registered offenders, which are also included on a registry open to public scrutiny. Offenders whose whereabouts are unknown could pose a threat to the public, police say.

Ninety percent of the money collected under the ordinance would go to the county's sex and violent offender administration fund. The remainder would go to a similar state fund. Offenders who fail to pay could face a fine of $100 plus court costs.

Commissioner Therese Brown said the proposal is also in response to concerns expressed by some County Council members last year that the Sheriff's Department had requested $1.6 million more than originally budgeted but was not doing everything possible to generate additional revenues.

"This should have been done a long time ago. That's why I went to the county attorney (to request it)," Fries said. "Anything that brings in revenue helps." Adoption of local sex-registry fees was authorized by the state four years ago, Brown said.

Although many recently released offenders have little money, Fries said no exceptions will be made for inability to pay the fees. "We might give them a week or two, but they might have to ask their families or others for help," he added.
- No exceptions?  What about those who are homeless and broke due to your unconstitutional laws?  If this is true, then you can expect to see a lot more people winding up back behind bars because they cannot afford the extortion fee.


Randy said...

that is the goal for the count to put more people in jail thus the state n fed. gov will give them $$$ n they make money

kikipt said...

It is truly sad that many basic tenets of justice that were once assumed in our democracy are no longer considered to be essential. For one, a person should be seen as innocent until proven guilty. Only then a is punishment ordered and, when completed, that is that. This is no longer the case, and every argument I have seen in favor of registration laws turns this on its head, assuming guilt that is not present. Second, a person cannot be considered guilty of a crime that has not been committed or of one that simply "might" be committed. Both of these principles have been tossed out the window by our penal system. (I hesitate to call it a 'justice" system, because it is so far from that.) I have sat in courtrooms and witnessed rich white people given half the penalty for the same crime as poor persons of color, and our laws have lost all sense of proportion and reason-ability. Our judges are largely devoid of a sense of fairness and racism, bigotry and hypocrisy are rampant in every aspect of our system today. Our penal system is at the mercy of a fear and hate mongering political system that stands to profit immeasurably by the pain and suffering of thousands of innocent people. The worst of this is the punishment meted out to the families and loved ones of those accused.

It is absurd to suggest that no exceptions would be made. One cannot get blood from a turnip, so we are supposed to victimize the families of people whose lives are being destroyed by these vicious and ineffective registration laws? Isn't this why debtors prisons were abolished? Are they now going to be brought back? What right does anyone have to demand that families of the accused pay for anything? Yet families are routinely being milked dry so a handful of greedy people can rake in profits and the public can congratulate themselves on how well they are handling a problem that does not exist. The Germans have a word for the punishment of those who love or are related to the accused. It is called "sippenhaft." It was the hallmark of the Nazi regime. The difference between Nazi practice and what is suggested here is only a matter of degree, not a difference of intent or result. We fought a war to end such practices. How sad that so many Americans, ignorant of history are so quickly trying to reintroduce it. And the cost to the public is far greater than most people realize, not only in the decline of personal rights and security, which most Americans seem to be willing to sacrifice after 9/11, but in the enormous cost of our staggering penal system, which incarcerates one fifth of the world's prisoners, many, if not most, of them non-violent, and many imprisoned for "crimes" that no thinking person would consider criminal.