Archive for February 15, 2010

Time For A New Approach To Released Sex Offenders

February 15, 2010 Comments off Time For A New Approach To Released Sex Offenders – Rethinking Crime And Punishment.

New Zealand seems to be “getting it” long before the USA does :

“Sex offenders and paedophiles present the greatest challenge in ensuring their effective reintegration into the community”, says Kim Workman of Rethinking Crime and Punishment. He was commenting on the case of Justin Ames Johnston, a released rapist who planned to live with his sister in Raumati. “The public are more afraid of sex offenders than any other kind. Typically, their release is often accompanied by police/media/community scrutiny increasing ostracism and subsequently reducing the likelihood of a successful reintegration. Of all offenders, this group have the least support from the community, even though, especially in the case of paedophiles, the risk of re-offending is very low at around 5% . “

“It is not logical to suggest that these offenders not live near schools. In any New Zealand urban community, the nearest school is probably less than a kilometre away. Children are more at risk where there are less of them; in public parks, swimming holes, or bush walks.”

“We have to find some way of increasing the community sense of safety, without resorting to vigilantism, and harassment of people that have served their sentence. Groups such as Prison Fellowship, provide a successful response, through Circles of Accountability and Support (COSA). Around 5 – 7 community volunteers, who are committed to public safety, undertake to monitor and support such an offender, thus lowering any risk to the public, and at the same time assisting the ex-offender with work, housing, and social support. This approach has been operating for more than a decade, and none of the ex-prisoners have reoffended.

This programme is delivered in the absence of government funding. With a bit more government support, it could be expanded and picked up by other voluntary organisations, who have the same commitment to public safety.

NE: Low-Risk Sex Offender Harassed

February 15, 2010 Comments off Low-Risk Sex Offender Harassed.

A man says his neighbors have turned on him after Nebraska’s state law changed. The new law requires information about all sex offenders to be made public online, not just those considered high-risk to re-offend. The change in Nebraska law January 4th put Jeff’s face on a Web site and it didn’t take long for neighbors to notice. “I have a friendly neighbor in the neighborhood and she calls me up and says people are passing your picture around the neighborhood.”

That was just the beginning. In the 45 days since the law has changed, Jeff has come home and found threatening notes taped to his front door. The message was move or suffer. “A couple of other ones were really vulgar, talking about what people would like to do to me, removing body parts.” His teenage children have also found them. “There’s my picture off the Internet with a message that’s too vulgar to say on TV of what this person wants to do to me because I’m a pedophile in their mind and it’s taped to my son’s truck.”

His situation sums up arguments on both sides of the debate. Some say exposing people like Jeff makes neighborhoods safer. Jeff says the law just makes it difficult to find the most dangerous and he is not one of them.

Jeff has notified the police. He does not know who made the threats and so at this point no charges have been filed. It’s illegal to retaliate against individuals on the registry, their family members or employers. The law is very clear about that. Vandalism or threats are illegal and will be prosecuted.

VA Bill to Further Restrict Sex Offender Residency

February 15, 2010 Comments off (VA) : New law would dictate where sex offenders could live.

Delegate Clifford “Clay” Athey (R-Front Royal), recently introduced a bill to the 2010 session of the Virginia General Assembly which would greatly restrict where child predators (correction: sex offenders) could live. Athey says the measure is necessary “to protect the most vulnerable citizens.”

If approved, HB 1004 would ban those who are court-ordered to register as sex offenders for crimes against children from living within 500 feet of various places children are known to frequent.

Predators (correction: sex offenders) would not be allowed to live near, school bus stops, community parks, playgrounds, rec centers, day cares, public pools, and schools (both public and private).

Once again, this idiotic reporter does not know the difference between a “registered sex offender” and a “predator”. Most people listed on sex offender registries are not “predators” by legal definition, but Dave Gibson of the Norfolk Crime Examiner did not bother to learn this before writing this report.

(Read next post below where a Virginia Senator falsely claims that his new bill will help offenders re-integrate into society. Maybe he should talk to Delgate Athey to figure out if Virginia is trying to make this more or less possible)

VA Bill Protects Employers of Sex Offenders

February 15, 2010 Comments off Bill Protects Employers of Sex Offenders.

Richmond – A bill making headway in the General Assembly seeks to protect employers of sex offenders by not listing the name of the offender’s workplace on Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry. (Yes, folks: in most states, any employment location of a registered sex offender is posted online)

Senate Bill 635, sponsored by Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Burke), would still list a sex offender’s work address. The bill passed the Senate unanimously this month and now will be considered by the House of Delegates.

Marsden said the bill is meant to help sex offenders integrate back into society.

(All this bill does is to remove the negative publicity of the businesses. It will do nothing to help those on a registry to get a job! To suggest or believe so is foolish.)