Tuesday, February 12, 2013

MO - Treatment, accountability help most sex offenders

Original Article


By Jill Patterson

I want to commend the News-Leader for highlighting the proposed bill regarding changes to the sex offender registry (“Sex offender registry has proved to be helpful: Changes could raise dangers,” Feb 6).

The issue of how we respond to sex offenders in our community is important to all of us.

As someone who worked for many years prosecuting sex offenders, I wanted to offer my perspective.

First, a tiered structure is not a novel approach. In fact, this model has been used in several jurisdictions from the origin of the registration laws.

The primary complaint about such a model historically has been that it was an “unfunded mandate” and required the prosecutor’s offices to return to court upon the release of an offender, or release from probation, to prove in court what level of registration was appropriate.

The concern I have with the proposed tiered system in Missouri is that it appears to rely on what the original offense was. This factor is a very small part of the equation.

All sex offenders in Missouri are required by statute to participate in a treatment program tailored specifically to sex offenders. I have long contended that treatment and accountability are the two factors that produce the most safety for a community and the least amount of re-offending. Any tiered system should focus primarily on successful participation in such treatment and the input of the treatment provider — a trained professional with expertise in dealing with the multifaceted issues of sex offenders.

This measure is far more telling than the title of the underlying offense. In fact, I have prosecuted some offenders who were only convicted of a misdemeanor who are far more dangerous than some felony sex offenders.

Often it comes down to what proof is available in terms of the final outcome, rather than what level of danger an offender poses. Further, there are many offenders who are never held accountable for their sex offenses.

1 comment :

Loneranger said...

wow a law abiding sex offender. What a concept can it be that most sex offenders are just that. After two decades of claiming there is no hope for any of them as they will always re-offend being the battle cry of most politicians and DA's for that mater. Now they are law abiding and maybe we should not make such harsh laws that inhibit reintegration. Reintegration having the context that they are law abiding just like everyone else. They should have the same opportunities to live a good life free from harassment. Just like every other law abiding citizen. Gee what a radical departure from the party line.

She stated that the cost of having to go back to court and prove the risk level that up till now has just been assumed would be prohibitive due to the number of people that they would be required to process more or less as not a direct quote. However she does bring up a good argument but to what end i'm not sure. The fact is they have based most of the sex offender laws on the assumption that society is in emanate danger from any and all that are on the registry. She also states that there is rehabilitation for sex offenders and they do go on to be law abiding citizens. Go firgin figure. When it looks like it is going to cost the states a ton of money to prove they are justified in their assumptions that all sex offenders are the same and none will ever be law abiding they say hey maybe we were wrong and some are. Well fact is most are. When you have 97 percent that never commit a new sex crime I would say that is a win for both them and the state. However with a win there needs to be a reward otherwise it's all for not and the abuse of ex offenders continues by a society that has been lead to believe the party line.

This is really a easy fix. If they want to stop the insanity that looks like it is coming home to roost now. deem the entire skem un constitutional. Or at least limit the time required based on real facts of the case as far as risk level. then when they are done they are done. Let them go. there will be plenty of others that come along to prosecute and persecute as there is never a short supply.

As far as the what if element they always rely on. Stop it. We can always say the sky is falling but it never does.