Friday, September 27, 2013

FL - Lawmakers Debate Changes To Sexually Violent Predator Program

Senator Tom Lee
Senator Tom Lee
Original Article

No matter what you do, more laws won't solve the problem! If someone is intent on committing a crime, they will.

09/27/2013

By RYAN BENK



Florida lawmakers held joint committee meetings this week to gather information on the state’s Sexually Violent Predator Program, which has been under fire for failing to stop predators from reoffending.

The Florida Department of Children and Families, which oversees the predator program (conflict of interest), commissioned an independent study concluding that only two-percent of offenders who were not recommended for civil commitment went on to commit another sexually violent crime. But DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said that doesn't mean the program couldn't use some changes. Among other things, she recommended employing evaluators to oversee the program’s screeners.

Policies and procedures for the evaluation process are going to be reviewed and evaluated by a team of experts and stakeholders. We are putting together what that team will look like. One of the recommendations is of course that we invite more people into the review process so that we can really make sure we’re getting all views possible,” Jacobo vowed.

Lawmaker recommendations run the gamut. Some are calling for a review of plea deals, stricter offender monitoring or tougher sentences. House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Chairman Matt Gaetz asked victim’s advocate Lauren Book if it would be beneficial to the community if offenders stayed in prison longer.
- Why are you asking her?  She is not an expert but a victim of sexual abuse, so I'm sure she'd agree with you.

But if you increase the sentences, the amount of time people are in prison, then you decrease the amount of time that they spend in a treatment facility. If you come with the view that these folks cannot truly ever be cured, maybe they can be treated, but they can’t be cured, is it a worthy policy objective to look at ways to rather simply extend their time in a state prison?” Gaetz said.

Book argues most sexually violent crimes go unreported, so although an offender may be convicted of one specific crime, locking them up longer is in society’s best interest. But, Suzonne Kline, the former head of the Sexually Violent Predator Program, cautioned lawmakers about a “one-size-fits-all” mentality.
- Exactly, I knew she'd agree with you!

They were supposed to focus on the Jimmy Ryce Act or the Sexually Violent Predator Program but, what they were really talking about was the gamut of sex offenders – which is a whole, huge spectrum of individuals that are not – they are very heterogeneous and a one size fits all any kind of legislation is not going to work,” Kline said.

Kline agrees with DCF Secretary Jacobo that the program is working but could be updated. Kline added that having an expert management board and halfway houses for high-risk offenders after their release might help. So too might treating an offender while they’re still locked up. And many lawmakers, including Boca Raton Democratic Representative Irv Slosberg, agreed.

The key aspect that separates Vermont from Florida is that all sex offenders receive some form of treatment and this treatment process is started and sometimes finished while the inmate is already serving time in jail,” Slosberg said.

But, Slosberg isn’t sure there will be a willingness to fund program expansions like halfway houses, advisory boards or in-prison treatment.

The problem is no one wants to pay the bill. I mean we could stiff it on to state attorneys, we could move it around everywhere we want to move it around. But, we as a committee have to be committed to funding whatever we ‘re going to do,” Slosberg acknowledged.
- Since tax payers are the ones wanting these draconian laws, make them pay for it, tax them!

Lakeland Republican State Senator Kelli Stargel and Plantation Democratic Representative Katie Edwards filed the first bill dealing with sex offenders Wednesday. But it doesn't address medical treatment or evaluation of the offenders. Instead, it makes it illegal for them to possess pornography.

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3 comments :

Sex Offender Issues said...

Our comment left on the original article link:

http://news.wfsu.org/post/lawmakers-debate-changes-sexually-violent-predator-program#comment-1062054368

"No matter what you do, more laws won't solve the problem! If someone is intent on committing a crime, they will!

Why is Mr. Gaetz asking Lauren Book who is a sexual abuse victim? Of course she will want them in prison longer. Her and her father have been pushing for more and more stricter laws in Florida, so much so, that many ex-offenders are now homeless, and Ron Book is chair of the Homeless trust in Miami-Dade.

And why is the Florida Department of Children and Families running the program? That is a conflict of interest.

Why don't they listen to their own sex offender review board and Jill Levenson, who will tell you these laws don't work, or is it just about making themselves look "tough" on crime while not actually preventing crime or sexual abuse?"

Loneranger said...

I had a feeling they would try for more time in prison as it's cheaper. Never mind about being fair as they are trying hard to cut the costs down. Frankly if their re offence rate is 2 percent how much better can they get it? They will never get to zero. Just can't happen so why punish everyone for the 2 percent. The registry didn't cause the rate to be low as it already was. So for them to say it is 2 percent is amazing. Fact is they can lock up the next thousand forever and they will still have a 2 percent rate. But hey why not appease the victims.

Sex Offender Issues said...

How is putting people in prison longer cheaper? It costs a ton of money to imprison someone, so it's wasting a ton of money.