Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IRELAND - Councils to house sex offenders in radical new plan

HousingOriginal Article

12/30/2013

By NIALL O'CONNOR

Sex offenders should be given homes by local authorities on their release from prison, according to a report being considered by Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

A high-level plan devised by a number of powerful state agencies recommends that sex offenders be placed in social housing estates and apartment complexes so as to avoid homelessness.

The plan, which relates to the Dublin region, is designed to assist sex offenders who have just left prison or returned from abroad.

The state agencies, which include An Garda Siochana, the Irish Prison Service and the HSE, recommended the setting up of "placement committees" who will decide where sex offenders should live.

According to the plan, the following steps will take place:

  • Offenders will undergo a risk assessment prior to their release from prison, categorising them as low risk, medium risk, high risk or very high risk.
  • They will liaise with an official local authority staff member prior to their release.
  • A placement committee will decide what "suitable" estate or apartment complex the offender should reside in. This committee will meet at least every two months.

The "implementation plan", seen by the Irish Independent, has been brought to the attention of the Justice Minister.

However, a spokeswoman for the minister insisted that work on the plan is "ongoing".

According to the report, councils would be obliged to take part in an "exchange" programme involving the transfer of sex offenders "due to victim and offender protection issues".

It states that "wherever possible, sex offenders on release from prison should be accommodated in housing services rather than in emergency homeless accommodation".

RESPONSIBILITY

The report added: "Local authorities will have a responsibility to consider the move on accommodation requirements of all sex offenders including those placed in the proposed supported temporary accommodation unit for very high-risk offenders."

If implemented, the radical measures will shift the onus of housing responsibility on to local authorities.

The report added: "It is currently difficult to place offenders who've been convicted of a sex offence into emergency, transitional or long-term social housing due to concerns regarding public protection, the risk of reoffending and the potential reaction of local communities."

Serious concern has been raised about the current system, which leaves sex offenders staying for weeks and months on end in hostels and temporary accommodation when they leave prison.


UK - Littlehampton neighbours threaten paedophile after return from prison

Mob mentality
Original Article

01/07/2014

Violent threats have been made against a convicted sex offender who is believed to have returned to his home after serving half of an eight year prison sentence.

_____ was caught with 42,000 indecent images of children and was described as “predatory” and “dangerous” by police following his conviction in 2010.

Yesterday, residents living in the same street as _____'s former home in Littlehampton confirmed he was back at the address and went on to name and shame him on a Facebook page.

They claim they are angry they weren't informed about his return to the property which is just half a mile from Wickbourne Infant and Nursery Community School.

Company director _____ was arrested in 2009, then aged 56, after police discovered his involvement in a paedophile ring in Scotland.

As well as tens of thousands of indecent pictures, investigators discovered _____ had been helping to arrange, take part in and photograph the abuse of teenage boys in the Bognor area. He also admitted four counts of sexual activity with a child.

The Argus made attempts to speak to _____ at the address yesterday but there was no answer.

Those in nearby homes said they were not too concerned with his return despite the threats of vigilantism posted online.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “I don't like the idea of him living here but I wouldn't harm the bloke and I certainly don't agree with people making threats against him on the internet.”

There was complete shock in the neighbourhood when we first heard about him, you don't expect it on your doorstep.”

A mother-of-three living in the street said: “I think there are just so many of them that they have to live somewhere.”

I would have preferred to know if he's here so that if kids are playing out on the green, I would take a little bit more notice about what is going on.”

The release of _____ is being handled through a Multi-Agency Public Protection (MAPA) Arrangements between police, probation, the prison service and other partners.

A MAPA spokeswoman said that all release addresses are assessed for potential risk from offender to the public and from the public to an offender and this risk is subject to review.

Under Sarah's Law, which was created following the murder of Sarah Payne whose body was found in a Pulborough field after she was killed by _____ in 2000, parents and guardians can ask the police if a person who has contact with children is a child sex offender.

The spokeswoman added: “There exists a range of powers under prison licence conditions, and registered sex offender requirements, depending on the individual case, which for example can impose strict conditions on access to communications devices, can require exclusion from particular areas and types of locality, and can prohibit contact with particular age groups or individuals.”

MAPPA panels will also consider the need to make disclosures to relevant parties in the community following a comprehensive risk assessment of each case.”