Sunday, August 18, 2013

OFF TOPIC - Make The Homeless Smile (PLEASE SHARE!)

If all Muslims / Humans were like this, the world would be a better place!

MO - Could consider juvenile sex offender measure

Juvenile Sex Offenders
Original Article



JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Allowing juveniles to seek removal from Missouri's sex offender registry is a target for a possible veto override when state lawmakers return to the state Capitol in several weeks.

The legislation prompted little opposition in the Republican-led Legislature but drew the ire of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who said this summer that it is overbroad and would "reduce public safety and fail to protect the rights of victims."

Legislators are considering whether to enact it (HB-301) anyway. Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City to consider veto overrides on Sept. 11, and a successful override requires a two-thirds majority.

House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, said this past week the legislation "is ripe for an override."

Under the measure, people who were younger than 18 when they committed a sex offense would not appear on public notification websites operated by law enforcement officials. Those already named on such sites would be removed. In addition, people who committed the crime as a juvenile could petition the courts for removal from the state registry five years after the conviction or their release from custody. Judges would grant the request unless the person faces charges for failing to properly register or for another sex offense, has not completed probation or parole or has not lived in Missouri for at least five years if the initial offense was committed elsewhere. Petitions for removal would be filed in the circuit court in the county where the person was found guilty.

Nixon announced the veto in early July and said about 560 sex offenders could be eligible for immediate removal from the public websites. He said the measure would apply to any juvenile sex offenders regardless of what crime was committed and that it did not give judges discretion to consider whether someone eligible for removal could be taken off without risking public safety. There are about 13,500 active offenders on Missouri's registry.

Rep. Dave Hinson, who supports the legislation, said permitting the removal of juvenile offenders who have not committed another sex crime and have followed court requirements should not affect public safety. He said he believes in giving people a second chance "just like God does."

"If we let a murderer out of prison that guy could still re-offend, and we don't have a public website that lists all the murders," said Hinson, R-St. Clair.
- Of course we do not believe in any registry, online or offline, but if an online hit-list is okay for ex-sex offenders, then you should have one for all ex-felons, to be fair.

And limiting discretion to deny a request for removal could protect judges from political ramifications, Hinson said. Trial judges outside urban areas run for election on partisan ballots.

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CA - Bill to allow sex abuse victims more time to sue fails to advance

Coffee and news paper
Original Article


By Ashley Powers

A bill that would give some sex abuse victims more time to file lawsuits, which has drawn fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, failed to get enough support Wednesday to make it out of a key legislative committee.

The bill, which needed nine votes to leave the lower house's appropriations committee and go to the Assembly floor, mustered only six. Four committee members opposed the bill and seven did not weigh in after an emotional hearing that included testimony from a lobbyist who is also a sex abuse survivor.

The panel, which mainly considers how much a proposal would cost the state, will take up SB 131 again next week. It has already passed the state Senate and the Assembly judiciary committee.

The bill would, in part, lift the statute of limitations for one year to allow certain victims to sue private or nonprofit employers who may have failed to protect them from known molesters. Supporters say sex abuse victims need extra time to file lawsuits because it often takes decades for them to admit that they were molested.

A key question for the committee is whether new lawsuits would strain an already overburdened court system. At the height of the clergy abuse scandal in 2002, the legislature signed off on a similar one-year window. Hundreds of people filed claims, many of them against the Catholic Church.

The church, which in recent years has quashed similar bills in other states, has led the battle against SB 131. Opponents say the bill would financially cripple the church, leading to the closure of parochial schools and flooding public ones with students. They also argued Wednesday that the proposal unfairly targets private and nonprofit employers.

"You will be advancing a bill that proposes to hold one employer culpable and another employer not culpable for precisely the same behavior," said Ron Reynolds, a lobbyist for the California Assn. of Private School Organizations, whose members include Catholic dioceses.

The bill is far more narrow than the 2002 legislation, however, giving only certain victims abused decades ago more time to sue. Sen. James Beall Jr. (D-San Jose), who introduced the bill, said it would cost the state little money and also help victims who might otherwise need public services.

Testimony in support of the bill repeatedly turned personal. John Lovell, a lobbyist for the California Police Chiefs Assn., mentioned that he was a lifelong Catholic.

"I feel the argument that this bill will result in the diminution of Catholic schools to be offensive and disingenuous," he said.

Paula Treat, a lobbyist who is also a sex abuse survivor, testified that she had spent years in therapy grappling with abuse that began when she was in second grade.

"I go to sleep every night thinking that, had I been able to tell, other little children would not have been abused," she said. Her voice rising in anger, she added that she too had been raised Catholic and "I'm ashamed of my church."

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IL - Illinois addresses sex abuse in youth prisons

Sex abuse in youth prisons
Original Article

I hope this includes adult prisons where this happens as well?



Following a federal report showing high rates of sex abuse in Illinois’ youth prisons, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is moving to eliminate the problem.

In June, the federal Department of Justice released a report on levels of sexual victimization in juvenile detention facilities nationwide. Based on surveys of detained youth, the report placed Illinois among the top four states for sex abuse in juvenile prisons. In response, IDJJ created a multifaceted plan to better train its staff, give incarcerated youth a voice and submit to some outside scrutiny of its practices.

Illinois’ six juvenile prisons – known as “youth centers” – house less than 900 young inmates between the ages of 13 and 20 around the state. The prison in Warrenville is for female inmates, while the prisons in Chicago, Joliet, St. Charles, Harrisburg and Kewanee house only males.

The federal report found that the average rate of sexual victimization in youth prisons is 9.5 percent, but five of Illinois’ six youth prisons had higher rates, ranging from 13 percent in Warrenville to 21.1 percent in Joliet. In total, 15 percent of youth in Illinois juvenile prisons reported sexual victimization.

Surveyors used several criteria to screen for potentially false responses, such as youth reporting extreme height or weight, giving conflicting answers, or giving answers inconsistent with their physical sex. Obviously falsified responses were removed from the sample.

IDJJ director Arthur Bishop outlined the department’s plan to address the problem during a legislative committee hearing on July 30. The plan includes having a three-member panel of experts examine the department’s practices to bring them in line with federal standards under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. Staff will be trained to recognize and report sexual abuse, and youth will be given several options to report abuse, including a dedicated hotline.

The effort is part of a shift in how sexual abuse in prison is viewed by those in charge. In May 2012, the federal Department of Justice issued a final rule to implement the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, decrying past disregard for the problem.

For too long, incidents of sexual abuse against incarcerated persons have not been taken as seriously as sexual abuse outside prison walls,” DOJ said in issuing its rule. “In popular culture, prison rape is often the subject of jokes; in public discourse, it has been at times dismissed by some as an inevitable – or even deserved – consequence of criminality. But sexual abuse is never a laughing matter, nor is it punishment for a crime. Rather, it is a crime, and it is no more tolerable when its victims have committed crimes of their own.”

The rule threatens to revoke five percent of federal prison funding to states that don’t comply with the standards, unless a state promises to use that five percent solely for becoming compliant.

One of the standards under the federal law is maintaining adequate staffing to ensure inmates are protected from rape. For juvenile facilities, that means a ratio of one staff member for every eight inmates during the day and one staff member for every 16 inmates at night. That requirement doesn’t take effect until 2017, however, due to the cost and time required to hire qualified staff.

The standards also call for a ban on cross-gender body searches in most circumstances and showers that don’t allow staff of the opposite gender to view inmates naked. Staff and inmates alike are supposed to be trained to recognize and report sexual abuse, and screening of inmates is supposed to keep those at risk of being victimized away from those most likely to commit sexual abuse.

Arthur Bishop, the IDJJ director, told lawmakers in July that the department was already working on compliance with the federal standards before the report’s release. Already, the abuse reporting hotline has yielded at least 20 investigations. Most of the accusations were found to be unsubstantiated, Bishop said, though some are ongoing.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has zero-tolerance for any type of sexual abuse, harassment or victimization, and is committed to providing safe, rehabilitative and appropriately secure environments for youth,” Bishop said. “Any amount or percent of abuse is serious and very concerning.”

CO - All sex offenders in Colorado should be trackable

Original Article


A loophole in state law is allowing convicted sex offenders, the bulk of them in Denver, to stay off the radar of law enforcement and the public.
- We are so sick and tired of hearing the "loophole" to justify further punishing ex-offenders.

State lawmakers should step in and address the issue for the safety of Coloradans.

As The Denver Post's David Olinger reported last week, a provision in state law says police no longer have to verify the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders who say they are homeless. This change in law, enacted in 2012, was meant to cut down on the number of sex offenders saying they were homeless by requiring them to "self-verify" their locations with police more often.

For example, sex offenders who had been required to check in with police annually now had to do so quarterly, and those required to self-verify quarterly now had to do it monthly.

But we suspect the unintended result of this law is that some sex offenders who aren't really homeless may have been encouraged to register as homeless to avoid scrutiny.

Consider the fact that the number of sex offenders in Denver who say they are homeless has now doubled in two years from 85 to 162. That just sounds suspicious.
- Maybe, but did you also check to see if it's due to the draconian residency restrictions that is forcing people into homelessness since they cannot find any place else to live?

State officials say they can't just require homeless sex offenders who aren't under post-conviction supervision, as the highest-level sexual predators are, to wear electronic monitoring devices. Court cases have said sex offenders who are simply required to register — and not wear monitoring devices — can't be compelled later to undergo electronic monitoring after their release.

However, we would argue that when sex offenders don't bother to check in with police and go missing, as some do, they have committed a new offense that should spur the use of electronic monitoring.
- If they don't register then they should be arrested, you don't need another useless law for that!

Another problem is that while the law requires police agencies across the state to report the numbers of homeless sex offenders in their area every six months, state officials say the reports don't exist. That's because the reporting requirements are "subject to available resources."

What is the point of having the reporting requirement if it's being roundly ignored?

We recognize that there are sex offenders who are legitimately homeless, and that there may be a need for special housing programs to address homeless sex offenders.

At the same time, the whole reason for registering sex offenders is to let the public know when one is living nearby and for the police to be able to keep tabs on them.

And the present law is not ensuring that.
- Nor will it ever!

OH - Lawmaker wants to expand death penalty to include sex crimes

Death Row
Original Article

Well I guess that is as close to a gas chamber as they can get. Doesn't surprise us at all. Anything to look "tough" on crime, especially ex-sex offenders.


CLEVELAND (AP) - The case of 3 Cleveland women held captive for a decade is inspiring an Ohio lawmaker to call for expanding the state's death penalty law.

State Rep. John Becker of suburban Cincinnati wants the death penalty to cover some sex-related crimes.

His proposal introduced Friday (HB-244, PDF) would allow for the death penalty in cases of rape, sexual battery and improper sexual contact with a minor if the suspect has a previous sex crime conviction and there are aggravating circumstances.

Becker says he was driven to call for a change after the three Cleveland women escaped in May.

Ariel Castro was convicted of repeatedly raping the women but he wouldn't have been eligible for the death penalty under Becker's proposal because he didn't have a previous sex-related conviction.

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