People who live in Florida should attend this, if possible, and voice your opinion on the issues.
By Matt Dixon
Fernandina Beach - State Rep. Janet H. Adkins will host a legislative hearing on September 4th in Jacksonville City Hall to discuss laws related to sexual offenders. Rep. Adkins will be accepting public testimony at this hearing. This legislative hearing will allow members from the public to deliver testimony and provide an opportunity to gather input from both the public and subject matter experts about necessary changes to legislation governing sex offender crimes. Rep. Adkins has gathered an expert panel from the fields of criminal justice system, community controls, supervision of released offenders and mental health counseling to provide further testimony to the current laws and systems in place today.
"The tragic circumstances surrounding Cherish Perrywinkle and Somer Thompson underscore the need for us to have a close look at the laws related to sex offender crimes against children. As a mother of two school-age children, I understand the great importance of keeping our children safe", said Rep. Adkins. "It is my goal to listen and gather information regarding the current laws and circumstances regarding registered sex offenders in Florida. I plan to file legislation in the 2014 session to improve and strengthen laws of Florida as it relates to these crimes against children". Rep. Adkins went on further to add, "One of the greatest responsibilities we have as a community is to protect our children."
- Like we've said over and over, you can pass 1 million laws and it will not prevent another tragedy like this from occurring.
Florida Correctional Facilities currently house over 15,000 sex offenders (as of 6.30.2013) and provide probation and parole services for over 7,000 sex offenders. This information is public record and can be viewed at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/spop/2013/06/tab19.html. Of the individuals that are in the registry with Florida offenses, both housed and released, Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports that 4860 of the offenders' victims were under the age of 12. 26,911 of the offenders had victims between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age.
A recent Sun-Sentinel (fear mongering) story by reporter Sally Kestin, sheds further light on the need for legislative reform. Per the article, "in the 14 years since the (Jimmy Ryce) law took effect, the Sun Sentinel found,at least 594 offenders reviewed and let go were later convicted of a new sex crime in Florida. Forty percent attacked within a year of their release - some the very same day. These offenders molested more than 460 children, raped 121 women and murdered 14."
Guest panel experts from each of the following organizations will be on hand to hear the public testimony and provide information in regards to current legislation and controls: Florida Department of Law Enforcement; Florida Department of Children and Families; Florida Department of Corrections; Florida Council Against Sexual Violence; Community Behavioral Services; Jacksonville and Clay County Sheriff's Offices. These experts represent the fields that focus on the roles, responsibilities and current laws that govern the arrest, conviction and commitment process of sexual offenders; the supervision, monitoring and registering of released convicted offenders; civil commitment and community behavioral counseling determination process in addition to victims' rights and community awareness and education.
The hearing will be held September 4th, 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM at the Jacksonville City Hall, Lynwood Roberts Room, located at 117 W. Duval Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202. The hearing is open to the public, with limited seating. Highlights of the hearing will be made available at a later date.