Archive for May 9, 2010

AL: Sex Offender Arrested For Living With Minors

May 9, 2010 Comments off Sex Offender Arrested For Living With Minors.

Attorney General Troy King announced the arrest today of a Muscle Shoals sex offender who is charged with residing with young children in violation of state law.

M. Jones, 47, was arrested today at the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office, where he has been registered as a sex offender for a 1988 conviction of sexual abuse against a girl who was younger than 12 years old.

“Alabama law requires sex offenders to register and to abide by certain rules and restrictions for the protection of our citizens, and particularly for the safety of vulnerable young children,” said Attorney General King. “If a sex offender has previously committed a crime against a young child family member, it is a crime for the predator to endanger other children by living in the same household with them.”

The Attorney General’s Family Protection Unit presented evidence to a Colbert County grand jury on May 5, resulting in Jones’ indictment. Specifically, the indictment charges that Jones “as an adult criminal sex offender, did knowingly establish a residence or any other living accommodation where a minor resides…and that the defendant has been convicted of a criminal sex offense…in which any of the offender’s minor children, grandchildren, or stepchildren were the victim, in violation of Section 15-20-26, of the Code of Alabama.” If convicted, Jones faces a penalty of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $30,000.

Let me see if I get this right. If you made a terrible mistake over 20 years ago, the Alabama government will ban you for life from living with a child or person under the age of 18? Do Alabama people understand that even someone who made a mistake (involving a relative) has the right to start a family and have children?

Duluth Ordinance to Ban Sex Offenders from Affordable Housing

May 9, 2010 Comments off Ordinance would ban sex offenders from most affordable housing -Three city councilors are proposing an ordinances that would prevent convicted Level 3 sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a church, playground or day care. But critics say the measure would push those offenders back toward a life of crime.

If you look closely, there’s a spot on the Aerial Lift Bridge where Level 3 sex offenders could live.

Otherwise, if an ordinance proposed by three Duluth city councilors passes on Monday, the number of areas sex offenders who are most likely to reoffend can live in Duluth would be severely limited. The ordinance would all but bar them from most low-income housing areas in the city.

That’s according to a map put together by the city of Duluth that shows where the offenders would be banned — which is within 2,000 feet of any church, playground or day care.

Not that the councilors who proposed the ordinance have any problem with that. But some experts disagree. Studies suggest that limiting where sex offenders can live doesn’t reduce the rate of repeat offenses — but actually increases it, said William Donnay, the director of risk assessment and community notification for the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

A Department of Corrections study of all 224 sex offenders from 1990 to 2002 who returned to prison for another offense found that in not a single case would the reoffense been prevented by restricting where the offender could live.

Donnay says other studies show that making it harder for an inmate to find housing increases that person’s instability, leads to homelessness and increases chances of reoffending. An ordinance like the one proposed by the Duluth City Council, he said, provides a false sense of security for residents.

“People conclude because of the residency restrictions, there are never any sex offenders in my neighborhood,” he said. “It’s not where they’re sleeping at night, who they’re hanging out with, who they are associating with. It’s where are they spending their time during waking hours? That’s what we need to look at in terms of recidivism.”

Tom Roy, executive director of Arrowhead Regional Corrections, which supervises the offenders, said he also believes the restrictions might increase the likelihood of reoffending. “We would support efforts that would tend to support sex offenders rather than destabilize their lives,” Roy said.

Offenders would largely be banned from the areas and facilities they typically use for housing now, such as the Seaway Hotel and the CHUM shelter.
———————————————- News Tribune.

It really worries that me experts with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Arrowhead Regional Corrections say the ban would probably make it more likely that the Level III sex offenders would re-offend. Is it spin? Surely the ordinance would make their jobs harder in finding a place to live for the offenders, but their foremost interest is in making sure their offenders don’t re-offend. So I’ll take their word that the ordinance will make it worse, not better.

If you’re interested in looking through the data cited to me by the DOC, it mostly went with this 2007 study. And it seems pretty conclusive that this ordinance won’t make our neighborhoods safer. One of the things pointed out to me by the DOC that I didn’t quite squeeze into my article: in an overwehelming amount of the re-offenses (89 percent), the victim was known to the offender — meaning the council ordinance would have no real affect on that percentage. Of course, if the council ordinance reduces the 11 percent were strangers number, then that’s a positive, right?

The city council has only received four emails on this topic so far — all in opposition to the ordinance.