Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sex offenders face hurdles rejoining society

Man jumping over a hurdle
Original Article


Just mentioning the housing needs of convicted sex offenders is sure to raise the ire of many, with the prevailing attitude being “not in my neighborhood.”

It’s an understandable reaction, because those who commit sex crimes often prey on the most helpless and vulnerable victims, our children. To say it’s an especially harmful crime falls short of describing the emotional havoc left in its wake.

That’s why many states and locales have enacted laws requiring convicted offenders to register where they live and work; where and how they use the Internet, and prohibiting them from visiting places where other children may frequent.

In Indiana, offenders are prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of schools, parks or youth program centers. As a result, offenders are forced to live in the most “unhealthy” of neighborhoods to satisfy that requirement, if they can find housing at all.

As a society, we owe it to our children to keep them safe. We also have an obligation to provide a safety net for those who have served their time, which means clean and affordable housing for sex offenders.

The case where up to eight homeless offenders were about to be evicted from a church-run shelter in Muncie for violating the distance requirement illustrates perfectly how laws with good intentions can clash with people trying to do the right thing. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the offenders were not forced to leave their shelter. But a long-term solution is lacking.

When drawing the 1,000-feet restrictions on a map, it’s difficult to find areas that satisfy that requirement. The result is a concentration of offenders.

In downtown Muncie, a half-mile radius from the newspaper offices shows 12 addresses where offenders live, according to data from the Delaware County Sheriff’s office. Four addresses list multiple offenders living there, including at least one shelter.

In Fort Wayne, a trailer park housed 14 sex offenders — nearly half the park’s addresses — where a 9-year-old girl disappeared and was later found dead just before Christmas in 2011. They were living there in order or to satisfy residency restrictions. It should be noted the girl and her family knew the man who killed her.

Some more statistics: There were about 190 registered sex offenders living in Muncie last Friday, or about one offender for every 357 Muncie residents.

But statistics are harder to come by when determining whether sex offenders are likely to repeat their crimes. According to the Bureau of Justice, a U.S. study of more than 9,000 male sex offenders released in 15 states in 1994 found that sex criminals were less likely to be reconvicted over the following three years than all released prisoners — 24 percent compared with 47 percent. Child molesters had a lower rate of 20.4 percent. Other studies point to varying rates of recidivism, with a main factor dependent on how long offenders are tracked after their convictions.

Existing evidence seems to counter the popular notion that sex offenders are far more likely to be repeat offenders than other criminal populations.

It’s unacceptable to ignore the problem, just as it is unacceptable to pass it along to other communities, or to force offenders to live in narrowly defined areas, especially when other studies show that 90 percent of sex crimes against children are committed by someone known by the child such as a family member, friend or other adult.

We are not seeking repeal of existing laws, but for the application of common sense. If offenders are living in a shelter or halfway house under close supervision, that should be sufficient in light that they must register with police agencies any change of address or job status.

If we as a society believe in fair play and that offenders must pay for their crime, it makes no sense to stack the deck against those who have paid that debt to society, making it nearly impossible for them to become productive citizens. We’re better than that.


dlc said...

As a former inmate in California's sick system, the "guards" are just as bad as the "worst of the worst." The only difference is that they have not been caught yet.
Yes, there are a few good "guards," but most are corrupt in one way or another. I've seen these guards have relations with inmates that are far beyond the protection and safety of the inmates. As such, what they are finding in Stockton does not surprise me in the least. Anyone who speaks up against the atrocities found in the prisons is immediately and summarily dealt with by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). They are the green wall that runs the prisons in California and the most powerful union in the state. Until the courts break up this nest of vipers, no meaningful changes will ever be made in this state.

F.A. Leonetti said...

Very informative.
First. MOST RSO's ''laws" are in on the fix.. Even with a plea, which NO ONE should EVER take, the entire RSO's law system is written for a few who should serve jail time, but for the rest,,,,,,,IT IS A $$$$$$ MACHINE.
Second, even within the confine of prison, most have seg areas for SO's, that are punishment within the criminal system.

Third, SO's, unless I am wrong, are the only group individuals who, upon release of their sentence, face treatment, registration, public 'humiliation and paying extortion fees to the state. All in the name of
''non-punishment''. Next and for some extended time after all this and being off parole, housing, jobs and any kind of a life is at best not even attainable.

Fourth, and certainly not last, but, now RSO's and X-RSO's who are off the state registration, are not allowed to leave the country.
What next, they can't leave their state? Their home?

As long as the ten's of thousands of RSO's and XRSO's sit back and take this crap....this crap IS GOING TO GET WORSE.

This site, S.O.I.'s, would be a great place to put a stop to this inhumane treatment at the bequest of mindless vote grabbing, government agencies out of control and feeding a public who is afraid of it's own damn shadow.

Best Regards
F.A. Leonetti

Sex Offender Issues said...

New link added:

eAdvocate said...

If you looked at the form you signed in the state you are registered with, you should find something about travel and requirement to notify registering agency 21 days beforehand. This is nothing new and it appears registrants haven't recognized the meaning of what the state form says. Presently we are tracking another somewhat similar story here:

In the Community Room we have instructions and explanations regarding International Travel, see right side:
We also include stories of celebrities who have been rejected because of past minor crimes.

It would be very helpful if you would double check the forms you sign when registering, and maybe let us know the State you are from.

oncefallendotcom said...

It is interesting that the GAO report shows that denial of entry hasn't been absolute even in countries where it has been assumed all registrants will be denied entry, such as Canada or Japan.

caligirl said...

Good point, but there is no universal 21-day notification requirement across all states. That is typically only required in AWA compliant states.

There is no, zero, advance travel notification requirement in California. Given the plethora of eye witness accounts on the California RSOL site it would appear that this is unrelated to the 21-day advance notification requirement that is part of the AWA.

eAdvocate said...

There is a national requirement which stems from AWA whether or not a state has enacted it. In fact, SORNA is effective in states that have not enacted it. Remember it is a federal law. see:

Federal requirements do not need state approvals. The 21 day requirement is effective nationally.

See also:

caligirl said...

So you are saying that you have to comply with all SORNA Requirements even though this is never explained to you and you never sign anything regarding all these requirements? How would you even know what these federal laws are?

How would a person from California even begin to provide 21-day travel notification? According to personal experiences people have contacted their registering agencies but they did not know what to do with the information. See here:

This is all very confusing. Perhaps you would weigh in on this on the CA RSOL site?

Thank you for all you do.

eAdvocate said...

Let me start, I have not reviewed California laws at this point and not sure I'll have time to do so at all, but I do recognize there is a problem in another state which equates to what you are inferring.

For a minute I'm bypassing your "follow SORNA" point to answer the 21-day problem.

Assume you are from CA and want to go on a trip to some European country, you buy a trip from a travel agency, pay for it and you are ready to go. You show up at the airport and BINGO police are there to arrest you,why, because you didn't follow the 21-day rule. But how did they know when and where you were to leave?

If you go back to the Michigan fellow and his wife, thats what I think happened, they didn't know Michigan had such a law, its obscure in the registration forms, who really looks at them in such detail (MI is 2 pages long).

So, how did he (or you in my example) get caught? Federal agencies are being contacted by -now I'm guessing- Passport offices, which they trace to travel plans, then show up to arrest folks.

Thats what I think happened in MI. I believe and am working on ---the theory--- that the Passport office is somehow linked to the State and National registries and when they get a hit -on either- they notify the police (State or US Marshals) who then check to see if the 21-day rule has been followed. If not an arrest follows.

If true there are major due process issues, and one could get the charges dismissed. But they lose the money paid for the trip.

If things are happening as I SUGGEST (a theory) it amounts to entrapment, because the police should have immediately contacted the person leaving the US and allow him/her to make adjustments. Waiting for the moment of departure is entrapment.

OK, end of my theory on that, on to your SORNA/AWA point.

Pick any two states that have not enacted SORNA/AWA, if a registrant crosses state lines and fails to register, s/he can be prosecuted by EITHER state court or federal court (violation of section 2250 of SORNA/AWA). SORNA/AWA is effective like it or not in every state, its a federal law.

Hope this help folks to understand, even though part of my explanation is guesswork.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the US wouldn't want RSOs to leave the country. After all, state legislators and city politictans openly admit to passing residency laws and tough on sex offenders policies solely to force RSOs into another town or state.

Travis said...

That just happend to my Brother-in-law. He wasn't trying to hide his past conviction. If he were asked he would had told him he was a RSO, but no one did. Being as he's been to Mexico every year he did not know there would be a problem. My question is, WHY DID THEY LET HIM WASTE HIS TIME AND MONEY BOARDING THE PLANE AT ALL!!!