Thursday, January 24, 2013

NC - Knock and talk should be called stalk and harass!

Original Article

If you are not on probation or parole, then you don't have to answer the door or any of their questions, and we'd recommend you don't either. Just show them your ID, and leave it at that, don't answer any questions.

01/24/2013

By Alicia Banks

SHELBY — A Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office SUV followed close behind an unmarked law enforcement vehicle. Both navigated the tight streets behind Holly Oak Park in Shelby.

Four men emerged from the two vehicles. They walked to the front door of a brick home on Osborne Street. A woman answered the door and spoke briefly to Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman.

I spoke with the registered sex offender’s mom who told us where her son worked,” Norman said. “That information was consistent with our last visit.”

Sheriff’s office deputies conducted surprise “knock-and-talks knock-and-harass” across the county Wednesday. They visited about 104 homes.

The unannounced checks by the sheriff’s office are an effort to make sure registered sex offenders are staying in compliance with state laws.

We want to ensure more safety from these individuals,” Norman said.

The county has 236 registered sex offenders. Some are currently detained in the county jail or in N.C. Department of Correction facilities in the state.

Multiple visits each year

The sheriff’s office is required, by law, to check on registered sex offenders at least once a year.
- Yes, once a year, after they register, to check that they are living where they say, but that is it, and anything more is harassment.

Deputies focused on three categories of convicted sex offenders during the two-day operation this week: aggravated, those who engaged in violent or forced sexual acts with someone of any age or younger than 12 years old; recidivists, or repeat offenders; and sexually violent predators, persons convicted of violent sexual offense with a mental abnormality or personality disorder.

We do it multiple times per year,” Norman said.
- Which is basically harassment!

The department conducted a similar operation on Halloween, when sheriff’s deputies visited about 60 registered sex offenders across the county.

There isn’t a specific time when the knock-and-talks knock-and-harass happen, Norman said.

Protecting children

Deputies from various divisions, including community-oriented policing, school resource and patrol officers, assist with the operations.

We haven’t had an increase in personnel in more than 10 years,” he said. “We can put these operations together in as short as a day and half’s notice.”

Norman said it’s “absolutely necessary” for his department to routinely check on sex offenders living in Cleveland County. He stressed the importance of protecting children through all means possible.
- Whatever you say!  If you really wanted to "protect" children through "all means possible," then you'd be taking the kids away from their parents, since most sexual abuse happens by those the child knows.

A N.C. General Assembly law bans sex offenders from using social networking sites such as Facebook because children are permitted to use them.
- Which is also unconstitutional!

But the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Wednesday that an Indiana law banning sex offenders from using social networking sites is unconstitutional, noting it restricted free speech.

I absolutely don’t agree with it,” Norman said. “Once you commit a crime and are on the registry, you give up your rights and any others that put you in contact with juveniles.”
- As long as you are on probation or parole, we would agree, but after that, you get those rights back, and it's unconstitutional, period, doesn't matter what you think, and just because someone is on the registry and lost some rights, doesn't give you the right to do anything you wish to those people, that is called harassment and corruption!

Twenty registered offenders will likely have follow-up visits in the coming days. Norman said fewer restrictions on offenders could cause them to recommit similar crimes.
- It could, that is a no-brainer, but does it?  Not based on the many studies out there which you all are ignoring!


NY - How 'Stop and Frisk' Is Too Often a Sexual Assault by Cops on Teenagers in Targeted NYC Neighborhoods

Original Article

This is exactly what happens when you let politicians get away with stomping on someone else's rights.  Eventually your rights will also be stomped on.

01/21/2013

By Kristen Gwynne

Teenagers are harassed and violated in ways you can't imagine.

Imagine you're 17 years old. A man with a gun and a badge has stopped you on the street and jammed his hand inside your pants, touching your penis. The girl you have a crush on is watching from nearby. That's the reality for many young men of color in New York City.

Stop-and-frisk is the controversial policing tactic in which street cops looking for weapons stop and pat down young men. Discussions of this policy in the media most often consist of alarming stats, like what percent of men targeted are black and brown ( 87% in New York) or the breach of constitutional rights the searches entail. But the reality on the ground is far less abstract. The policy amounts to a constant disruption of the lives of hundreds of thousands of young black and brown men. It's a belittling experience that could be better described as sexual assault.

I've reported on stop and frisk for two years, and in that time I've talked to young men who have experienced stop-and-frisk, and the stories they tell are harrowing. A black teenager in Bedford-Stuyvesant described how embarrassed he was to have “old ladies” watch as his pants landed around his ankles while police searched him. A 17-year-old in the Bronx explained that police, “They go in my pants. You’re not supposed to go in my pants.” Being touched by a female police officer can be especially upsetting for adolescent males. “It’s annoying because it doesn’t matter what kind of cop it is, female or male, they’re gonna frisk you. If you say something to the female about it, the female says something to you like ‘What? I can do what I want.' And they still frisk you. You can’t say sexual harassment, nothing,” 18-year-old South Bronx resident Garnell told me last year, adding, “And they go hard, grabbing stuff they’re not supposed to.”



TX - Lawmaker demands answers after dangerous sex offender's 5th day on the run

Original Article

Halfway houses are not prisons, nor are they civil commitment centers.  They are usually just housing set up by organizations to help ex-felons integrate back into society, help with drugs, etc.  They are usually just the average hotel / motel where ex-felons stay and live together / near each other, to help each other out, and they attend counselling and support groups.  They make it sound like this is the average civil commitment center, which we doubt it is.

01/23/2013

By Randy Wallace

HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In 2003, we uncovered a disturbing sight inside the Reid Center, a halfway house for paroled killers, rapists and child molesters.

A FOX 26 employee with a hidden camera went inside and captured what appeared to be crack smoking and open drug dealing inside the tax-funded halfway house, now called the Southeast Texas Transitional Center.

At the time, the company operating Reid vowed to make big changes. Yet, within just a few months, we once again had our hidden camera back inside.

"Anytime somebody absconds, we're not providing the services that I think we should, that we're required to provide," Parole Director Stuart Jenkins said.

In 2011, FOX 26 Investigates decided to find out just how many dangerous criminals violated their parole by fleeing the halfway house. According to state prison records in 2008, 2009 and 2010, 757 parolees ran off from the halfway house.

That number includes child molesters, rapists and killers. Some have yet to be found. [name withheld] is the most recent dangerous sex offender to take off a tracking device, jump the fence and flee.

"Kind of makes you uneasy," said Carl Durrenberger who lives just a half a mile away from the halfway house. "Do they really have the security they should have? Are they watching those people like they should be watching them?"
- Again, this is not a prison, it's usually just a hotel / motel, and they won't have guards.

[name withheld] is so dangerous; the state placed him under civil commitment, meaning his whereabouts are under constant monitoring.
- From what we've read about civil commitment, it's usually behind razor wire (a prison) and the people cannot escape.  A halfway house is NOT civil commitment!  In civil commitment you see therapists and get help on a daily basis, which this sounds nothing like civil commitment.

"This is the second one in recent months," Texas Senator John Whitmire said.

In the last nine months, three sex offenders civilly committed to the halfway house ran off.
- Clearly this reporter or whomever is saying all this, doesn't know the difference between a halfway house and a civil commitment center.

Whitmire has scheduled a public hearing for February.

"To publicly ask TDCJ officials, the parole officials that send people there, are they confident that this organization, this corporation is doing everything they should," Whitmire said. "I don't want any shortcuts."

Geo Group Inc., which is paid tax money to operate the halfway house, did not respond to our numerous requests for comment.


NY - Families of Registered Sex Offenders: “Remove Misleading Statistics from Web”

Original Article

01/24/2013

Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders Call on Parents for Megan’s Law to remove misleading statistics from their website

Long Island - USA FAIR, Inc., a national advocacy organization formed by the family members of people required to register with the sex offender registry, today publicly urged Parents for Megan’s Law Executive Director Laura Ahern to take down misleading statistics from their website that reinforces the myth of high sex offender recidivism.

According to the U.S. Justice Department and numerous other agencies and institutions that have researched recidivism (PDF), sexual offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the criminal justice system. Yet, the myth of high sex offender recidivism has formed the foundational falsehood for the never-endng sanctions imposed on law abiding former offenders through the sex offender registry”, said Shana Rowan, Executive Director of USA FAIR.

While we applaud Parents for Megan’s Law for their mission to protect children, as an entity that is funded in part with public funds, they have an obligation to not mislead the public through the misuse of statistics, such as presenting a study of a sub-set of dangerous recidivists and presenting those findings as representative of the entire population of former sex offenders,” said Rowan.

In a letter sent to Parents for Megan’s Law (PDF) on December 6, 2012, USA FAIR raised objections to statements made on their website, including claims that the “typical” offender against children had committed an average of 280 crimes and has between 360 and 380 victims in his lifetime. USA FAIR pointed out that the sample of this study was not “typical” of former offenders and that even among this subset of high-risk offenders, a small percentage of the subjects were responsible for a disproportionately high number of offenses, which significantly skewed the “average” numbers. In fact, according to Rowan, “When you look at the median numbers of this very study it reveals that half of the subjects committed four or fewer offenses and had three or fewer victims. So even the “typical” subject of this study did not have the number of victims that Parents for Megan’s Law claims. And while three victims is three too many, it is a far cry from the 360 to 380 that their website presents.”

Rowan announced that USA FAIR decided today to go public with its request to Parents for Megan’s Law to correct their website because following several phone calls and emails by Rowan to Ahern to follow-up on the December 6th letter, there has been no response. “Ms. Ahern has every right to disagree with USA FAIR on policy issues, but as long as she takes public money she should present this important issue with facts and not false fears,” said Rowan.

USA FAIR has made shining the light on the myth of high sex offender recidivism one of its top goals for 2013. A 2010 survey by the Center for Sex Offender Management of the U.S. Department of Justice found that 72% of Americans believe that the sex crime recidivism rates are 50% or higher, with a third believing it is more than 75%. Only 3% believe it is less than 25% – even though actual recidivism rates are considerably below 25%. New studies are constantly confirming low recidivism, with the latest being released last month showing a recidivism rate in four states of 10% after 10 years, with rates dropping sharply with years of offense-free tenure in the community. (https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/240099.pdf)

As the loved-ones of people who are required to register, we know that the vast majority of former sex offenders are law abiding citizens today who are just trying to rebuild their lives and be good providers for their families. Once the myth of high sex offender recidivim is firmly dicredited, it will allow us to end our one-size-fits-all approach to sex offender laws and focus our policies on targeting the truly dangerous,” concluded Rowan.