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The Plight of Homeless Sex Offenders

November 18, 2009 Comments off

Change.org : The Plight of Homeless Sex Offenders.

Last winter shelter season, my eyes were opened to the horrible plight of sex offenders living on the streets. Our street outreach team was called to find shelter for a man. He was a registered sex offender, so he wasn’t allowed to stay at the winter shelter. He had done everything right, reported to the police and the shelter workers. But there was no shelter that would allow him to stay.

No matter what you think of the crimes this man committed, he had served his debt to society and was adhering to the terms of his punishment. Still, finding housing – even emergency shelter – proved nearly impossible.

Up until that time, I had rather a hard stance on this subject. I thought sex offenders were dangerous, a threat to society. Who cares if they have to continue paying for their crime once their jail time is up? But one look into this man’s eyes gave me different point of view; he was so filled with hopelessness, so beaten down from trying to survive. It’s a difficult memory.

I met Tim in Cleveland, Ohio. He’s trying to make something of his life. But as a sex offender, it’s nearly impossible for him to find the help he needs.

I don’t know what Tim did to become a registered sex offender. But I believe an equally heinous crime might be our own society allowing people like him to suffer on the streets, sex offender or not.

Tim from InvisiblePeople.tv on Vimeo.

Click to Watch Video

FL : Sex Offender’s Home Burned Down

November 18, 2009 Comments off

miamiherald.com : Sex offender’s Davie home destroyed – A registered sex offender lost his mobile home in a fire police called suspicious.

The blaze destroyed the mobile home in Western Hills Estates. No one was inside at the time.
The cause of the fire was under investigation and it is considered suspicious, said police spokesman Greg Gasse.

The owner registered as a sex offender at the Davie address on Friday.

Richard Fogaros, 38, a parent of two children, 9 and 7, said “I wouldn’t want to speculate,’ but we are coming to a point where I’m going to have to sacrifice my children’s freedom and outside time. Where they [sex offenders] are living is closing in on our area.” (suspect #1)
Ten sex offenders are registered within a mile of Muniz’s address.

S. Korea to Post Sex Offenders Online

November 18, 2009 Comments off

koreatimes.co.kr : Identities of Child Sex Offenders Disclosed Online.

South Korea will soon regret this decision, as they will see what we have seen in the United States. The fact is that these public registries and notification are counter-productive and ineffective with regard to public safety, and result in ostracism and social banishment of whole classes of citizens. We do not know the Korean Constitution, but our guess is that it is modeled after the U.S. Constitution. In that case, they will be experiencing similar nationwide legal challenges to such laws. As friends of South Korea, we honor their desires to model themselves after our nation. But they should have learned from the U.S. and chosen NOT be follow the U.S. in this case.

South Korea will disclose the identities of all convicted child sex offenders on the Internet starting next year in an effort to better protect children amid a growing number of sex crimes against minors.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs said all adults aged over 20 will be allowed under a revised law to log on to a government-run Web site featuring the latest information on all convicted child sex offenders, including their names, ages, addresses, photos and summaries of the offenses.

With the opening of the new Web site, South Korea will become the second nation in the world to make public photos of sex offenders after the U.S., Yonhap News Agency reported, adding their personal information will be disclosed for five to 10 years.

The Korean government will also push for separate legal revision to mail the personal information of all convicted child sex offenders to all households with children in their neighborhoods.

Under the present law, the personal information of those who are convicted of sex crimes against minors under 13 is open to the public only on a limited basis, making it available in the district police stations alone.

A growing number of violent sexual assaults on children have recently put escalating pressures on the government and judiciary to get much tougher with sex offenders.

To avoid possible revenge attacks or violence against the registered offenders, the revised law will prohibit the spread of their information through media or Web sites, the officials said.
(This is one thing the U.S. system has failed to do)

MA : Kick Sex Offenders from Homeless Shelters

November 18, 2009 Comments off

boston.com : Sex offender ban sought for homeless shelters.

As the state’s steep budget cuts have forced organizations that help the homeless to cut beds, staff, and programs, the advocates for the needy say banning sex offenders would allow shelters to save money on security, open up space for others, and make shelters safer.

The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, which represents 90 organizations that provide services to the homeless, has urged state lawmakers to add shelters to an increasingly long list of residential bans for many sex offenders. They are already barred in some communities from living near schools, day-care centers, parks, playgrounds, libraries, or nursing homes.

While those who study sex offender recidivism rates say such residential restrictions are counterproductive, state lawmakers who support the proposed legislation argue that it also would fix a loophole in the law, which for five years has required the most dangerous sex offenders to post their names, addresses, and photos on a public website. They say too many sex offenders bypass the law by listing a homeless shelter as their address when they live elsewhere.

In a review yesterday of 162 Level 3 sex offenders – those with a high risk of committing sex crimes again – who list addresses in Boston on the state’s online registry, the Globe found that at least 74 percent reported they were living at homeless shelters.

Those who treat sex offenders and monitor recidivism rates say such residential restrictions make it more likely they will commit future crimes.

Tracy Velazquez, executive director of the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute and author of a report, “The Pursuit of Safety: Sex Offender Policy in the United States,’’ said Massachusetts would be one of the few states to pass such a restriction. Florida also bans sex offenders from homeless and hurricane shelters.

She said if the bill becomes law, Massachusetts would join other states in making it more likely that a sex offender ends up on the street. In 2000, she said only five states had residential restrictions limiting the proximity of an offender to a school, park, or nursing home; now 30 states have such restrictions, forcing many into homelessness.

“If the purpose of this ban is to continue to punish and effectively banish people after they’ve done their time and paid their debt to society, then it’s a pretty effective policy,’’ she said. “If it’s to increase public safety, then banning registered sex offenders from shelters is counterproductive. It will make it harder for law enforcement to keep track of their whereabouts, and harder for them to meet their basic human needs, which in turn makes it harder for them to live successfully in the community.’’ She and others said research shows there’s no link between where sex offenders live and whether they commit new crimes.

Jill Levenson, a professor of human services who researches sex crime policy at Lynn University in Florida, said a study she completed last year of 330 sex offenders who live near schools and day-care centers in Florida found that they were no more likely to re-offend than other former convicts.

“The risk that sex offenders might pose in shelters for women and children may make sense, but to ban them from any shelter would have to be balanced with the need to provide social services to sex offenders,’’ she said. “If someone is homeless, despondent, and desperate, they’re more likely to resume a life of crime.’’

Others questioned the constitutionality of banning sex offenders from shelters, which are often obligated by state contracts to accept just about anyone they have room for who presents themselves as homeless.

Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which has opposed similar residential restrictions from Barnstable to Lynn, argue that they impose additional punishment after convicts have served their time.

“Just as a matter of public policy, these restrictions make no sense,’’ said John Reinstein, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Do we want to cut them loose entirely, so we don’t know where they are? What does someone do with no place to live, and they can’t go to a homeless shelter? And what are the implications for public safety and the sex offender law, which requires them to register where they live?’’

IN : Retroactive Registrations Unconstitutional

November 18, 2009 Comments off

theindychannel.com : Hundreds Of Sex Offenders Removed From Registry –
Court Ruling Calls Retroactive Registrations Unconstitutional.

(If you are registered in Indiana, you must follow this procedure to have your name removed):

Indianapolis – Hundreds of convicted sex offenders could have their names and pictures removed from county lists after a state law was ruled unconstitutional. In 1994, the Indiana Legislature created Zachary’s Law, or the sex offender registry. Three years later, the Legislature amended the law to require all persons convicted of sex offenses to register. But this September, the Indiana Supreme Court reaffirmed its own ruling that the law was unconstitutional because it required those convicted before the law was enacted to register.

On the advice of the state attorney general, the Marion County sheriff will now allow those required to register retroactively to have their names removed from the list, 6News’ Jack Rinehart reported.

“We’re not going to remove anybody. We’re taking no enforcement action,” said Lt. Bob Hanna, who oversees the Sheriffs’ Sex and Violent Offender Registry. “As far as removing faces, names and addresses, we won’t do that without a court order.”

Sex offenders who registered retroactively can petition the court that held jurisdiction over their case to remove their names from the registry. They will then have to present that order to the local sheriff’s department.

In Marion County, which currently has 3,606 registered offenders, more than 800 sex offenders would be eligible to have their names removed from the list.

Residents said they’ll find a way around the law change. “I think what you’ll see is groups or agencies that will pop up and track these individuals that will try to take themselves off the list,” said Bill Callahan of the Brookside Neighborhood Association. “There’s nothing to stop people from getting public information about a person and creating their own list.”

Is that a threat of vigilantism or harassment ? Perhaps someone should report this threat to the authorities.