Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TX - Address Mess - Woman's Home On Sex Offender Registry List

Original Article

This is what happens when you have criminal records public, people will scrape the web site for the info, and eventually it will be old and out-dated, and some innocent person may get hurt. The registry needs to be taken offline and used by police only.

04/24/2013

SAN ANTONIO - An address mess! A woman is frustrated and fighting to get her home off the sex offender registry.

Billie Postert knew her roommate had a criminal history but didn’t know he was a convicted sex offender. The situation created issues for Postert and she contacted News 4 San Antonio to get help.
- So why call the news?  Did you contact the police first?  Since it's not mentioned, we can only assume you did.

"Neighbors look at you crossed-eyed. Neighbors don't believe your story. Neighbors won't come over. Children can't play here," she emphasized.

Just before signing the lease, neighbors told her a registered sex offender rented a room in the same southeast side house.

That man moved out of town but Postert told us another pedophile was also renting.
- Was it really a pedophile, by definition, or your personal opinion?

Records show at least 83 known sex offenders live within a mile of her house.

"Everywhere you go in this area, people know there are sex offenders. I believe there are five of them total on this street. But to live in a house and share it with one of them is god-awful," she expressed.

Postert said the sex offender recently left—clearing out a room.

The woman also said he keeps returning to check the mailbox and hasn't given police an updated address.
- So if this is true, then apparently the person is in violation.  Did you tell the police?  Did you get video of the person so the police can handle it?  Why do we have to ask these questions?

"It's not safe for children. It's not safe for my daughters when they come here."

According to SAPD, if a sex offender moves he must contact police seven days prior to list his new address.

If a move is unintended—meaning an arrest or eviction—the convicted felon must notify police within seven days after an incident.

Police tell us Postert can contact the Sex Offenders Registry Unit at SAPD and with proof that the offender has moved out, she can get her home off the registry for sex offenders.
- So apparently she hasn't done this and is just looking to stir up trouble for others?


NY - County searches for options for homeless sex offenders

Original Article

You want options? Really? If so, then examine the facts! The facts that the online registry prevents many from getting jobs, and employment, therefore they become homeless. Take the registry offline and eliminate the residency restrictions, which have been proven to not work, and most of the problem will have been solved.

04/24/2013

UTICA - Oneida County is searching for possible alternatives to housing homeless convicted sex offenders and violent felons in local motels.

We are dealing with what’s in front of us,” said County Executive Anthony Picente. “That is a homeless population that has mixed within it ex-offenders that run the gamut of what the offense was, as well as people who have just run into a streak of bad luck.”

The issue arose after the O-D reported that within a two-week period in February, eight Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders had been placed by the county Social Services Department in motels on Genesee Street in North Utica.

By law, counties are required to find housing for anyone who requests the assistance. If a homeless person is an active addict, a convicted sex offender or has a violent felony conviction, however, the local shelters won’t take them.

One possible alternative, Picente said, is having an outside agency operate a shelter.
- Even if you do this, there will always be people complaining about ex-sex offenders in their back yards.

We are looking at all options to try and alleviate the situation,” he said. “But there may not be a perfect option out there that can satisfy everyone.”
- You will never please everyone!

Picente said homeless sex offenders are a particularly difficult group to find housing for because of local laws that prevent them from living near schools and certain other locations.
- Exactly, so take the registry offline and eliminate the residency laws, then most of the problem goes a way.

County Attorney Greg Amoroso said hotels and motels are on the list of locations where the state allows counties to place homeless individuals. The temporary housing also must be close to the services they need to get back on their feet, under the law, Amoroso said.

The problem
Like the shelters, motels can refuse certain occupants, but places such as Scottish Inn, Happy Journey and Super 8 motels along North Genesee Street have accepted sex offenders in need of housing, county officials said. Under the law, the motels are not told the specific backgrounds, of the individuals they are housing.

In March, an average of 23 homeless people per day was housed in area motels or hotels and 67 in shelters. Whether any of those individuals had criminal or addiction issues could not determined.

Sometimes, people who do not have those issues also are placed in the motels because of lack of available space in the shelters, county Social Services Commissioner Lucille Soldato said.

County Legislator Emil Paparella represents North Utica and was shocked to find that sex offenders were being housed in motels in his district.
- Why does it shock them?  Or are they just pretending to be ignorant of this?

He said his son and grandchildren have stayed in those motels because of their low prices, but they won’t be doing it again unless things change.

He’s afraid others will do the same.

Right now, we are trying to build Utica up,” Paparella said. “If we start getting a reputation that we are accepting homeless sex offenders, it’s not going to look good for the city.”

Shelters crowded
Shelters cost the county between $30 and $35 per day for adults, while the motels cost about $50 a day. About $255,000 was spent by the county on such placements in 2012.

In Oneida County, the only shelters that take men are the Rescue Missions in Utica and Rome. Officials there did not return calls for comment.

County Social Services staff is barred by law from asking specific questions about a homeless person’s criminal record because it is not legally relevant to eligibility for county services, including housing. The staff can list the criteria set out by the shelters and ask the individual if they meet them, but the individual may opt not to specify which of the criteria the fail to meet.
- So basically, if you are an ex-felon, they cannot ask about your background, but if you are on the sex offender registry, sorry, we cannot help?

The shelters also ask such questions and might do blood tests to determine if a person is using drugs, she said.

Patricia Witt, executive director of Emmaus House, a shelter for homeless women and children, said her screening process is designed to protect the people her organization serves.

Our funders and supporters created these shelters for specific purposes,” Witt said, "listing domestic violence, addiction recovery or specific groups such as women.”


IL - New therapy proves effective for juvenile sex offenders

Original Article

04/24/2013

By Sarah Boslaugh

How big a difference can new evidence-based treatment methods make in the cases of juvenile offenders with mental health problems?

In Cook County, Illinois, juvenile court leaders decided to find out. Specifically, they agreed to participate in a randomized controlled experiment to test the impact of Multisystemic Therapy (MST) – a prominent new treatment methodology – against the court’s usual services for youth accused or adjudicated for juvenile sex offenses.

The study, published in 2009, involved 127 youth accused of sex offenses and ordered by the court to attend sex offender treatment. Sixty-seven were assigned to MST, and 60 were assigned to Cook County probation department’s existing juvenile sex offender unit and required to take part in weekly sex offender treatment groups.

The offenders’ mean age was 14.6 years (range 11 to 18 years). Most youth (98 percent) were male, 54 percent Black, 44 percent White, with 31 percent reporting Hispanic ethnicity. Their offenses included aggravated criminal sexual assault (31 percent), criminal sexual abuse (24 percent), criminal sexual assault (18 percent), and aggravated criminal sexual abuse (15 percent). Evaluators found no differences between youth in the MST and comparison groups in terms of their sexual offense records or demographics.

Youth assigned to MST received treatment at home and in community settings such as school, scheduled for the family’s convenience. Caregivers as well as the juvenile offender were included in the treatment, which was delivered by clinicians specifically trained on the MST model. MST focuses on giving parents the skills and resources they need to deal with difficulties commonly experienced while raising adolescents, and giving the juveniles the skills and resources to deal with problems both inside and outside the family. For the sex offender group, the MST model was tailored to address youth and caregiver denial of the offense, minimize the youths’ access to potential victims, and promote normative, age-appropriate sexual experiences with peers.

The Treatment as Usual (TAU) group received services primarily from personnel from the juvenile sexual offender unit of Cook County’s juvenile probation department. They attended weekly sex offender treatment groups of 8 to 10, for 60-minute sessions led by probation officers who had completed a certification course for treating juvenile sexual offenders. The sessions addressed issues such as victim empathy, deviant arousal, and cognitive distortions, with the goals of helping youth accept responsibility for their offenses, break the sexual offense cycle, and devise strategies to reduce the risks for recidivism.

Researchers collected data on problem sexual behavior, delinquency, substance use, mental health symptoms, and out of home placement (e.g., foster care, detention, residential treatment) at baseline (within 72 hours of recruitment into the study) and at 6 and 12 months after recruitment. Sexual reoffending was not examined as an outcome because it is too rare to support statistical analysis—in fact only one incident of sexual recidivism was recorded for the entire study group during the 12-month period.

The study found that youth in the MST group proved far and away more successful than those receiving usual treatment. Juveniles in MST experienced significant reduction in problem sexual behavior (e.g., having unprotected sex, pressuring others into having sex), relative to the TAU group, as well as a significant reduction in delinquent behavior and substance use relative to the TAU group over the 12-month period. For instance, involvement in delinquent behavior declined from 75 percent to 30 percent for MST youth, versus a much smaller decline for youth in the TAU group (52 percent to 42 percent). Finally, MST youth proved far less likely than TAU youth to be removed from home in the year after treatment: 7 percent versus 18 percent.

The findings suggest that family- and community-based interventions, especially those with an established evidence-base in treating adolescent antisocial behavior, hold considerable promise in meeting the clinical needs of juvenile sexual offenders,” the study concluded. “In addition, current results supporting MST bring into question the public health/safety effects of the increasingly severe legal consequences (e.g., lifetime public registration, prolonged residential treatment) placed on juveniles who sexually offend.”