Monday, February 25, 2013

RI - State Rep. pushes new sex offender bill

Original Article


By Chris Raia

Rep. Palumbo calls for offense-based tier system

PROVIDENCE (WPRI) - A state Representative has introduced a bill that would create a much more rigid sex offender registry in Rhode Island.

State Rep. Peter G. Palumbo (D - Cranston) has been actively pushing bills that increase transparency of convicted sex offenders, and he is working now to enact a comprehensive sex offender registration and notification act (SORNA).

SORNA would create an offense-based tier system, classifying offenders according to the risk they pose to their environments. It would also make sex offender information public via a notification website with search capabilities and a function that enables users to receive email alerts when sex offenders commence residence, employment or school attendance within the state.

"As long as there is one sex offender out there that we cannot account for, there is the potential for great harm, the potential for another victim," said Rep. Palumbo.
- True, but what about all the other ex-felons who are not on some online shaming list like murderers, gang members, drug dealers, DUI offenders, etc?  Based on the facts, they are more dangerous than ex-sex offenders who have one of the lowest recidivism rates out there.

Currently, local law enforcement agencies are responsible for provide notification on the whereabouts and activities of registered sex offenders. SORNA would give that responsibility to one central agency: The R.I. State Police.

"By making one central agency... responsible for this process will free up local law enforcement resources and save communities money," said Rep. Palumbo.

Supporters of the bill include Attorney General Kilmartin, Rep. John DeSimone (D - Dist. 5, Providence), Rep. Raymond Johnston, Jr. (D - Dict. 61 - Pawtucket), Rep. John Carnevale (D - Dist. 13, Providence) and Rep. Donald Lally, Jr. (D - Dist. 33, Narragansett).

1 comment :

Macintosh said...

The State could slaughter all sex offenders and there will still be potential victims.

There are huge problems with the "potential harm" brand of reasoning:

- It assumes that sex offenders can never change or be "cured". If Rep. Palumbo believed that then he wouldn't advocate creating an offense based registry, rather he'd want to propose a risk based registry.

- If there is reason to believe that a person poses a risk to re-offend there is already a system in place to address the issue. Court sentencing. Nearly everything about a person that is convicted can be considered during sentencing. Prior offenses, psycho-sexual evaluations, age, circumstances, etc can all be considered during sentencing. This is true for any crime and any person who commits a crime.

- There is no credible evidence to support the claim that registries have any impact on recidivism (of another sex crime). If the legislature wants to spend money then spend it on the people that the courts have ruled are dangerous based on their crime and the evaluation of the circumstances ... just like any other crime.

Does the legislature really think that the court system is so broken that judges are unable to make wise and informed decisions on who has a greater risk of re-offense?

Here's another interesting question. They discuss creating a searchable sex offender registry? Who does the state expect to use the registry to look up people? Is it citizens, police, sex offender info sites? If those are the people that use the system and those same people advocate for the system then why is that when it comes to talking about paying for the system the legislature says that "those who use the system should pay for it" It's not the registrants that are using the system that the legislature created.