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April 1, 2014

"Sex offender housing restrictions do more harm than good"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable Concord Monitor editorial.  Here are excerpts:

Of all the constituents that politicians want to help out, sex offenders probably rank at the very bottom of the list.  But the New Hampshire Senate should summon the courage to do just that. By helping sex offenders, as strange as it sounds, the Senate will end up making life safer for everyone else.

At issue is legislation that would ban cities and towns from placing broad restrictions on where sex offenders may live.  Several communities have attempted such restrictions, and lower-court judges have already struck down two as unconstitutional: one in Franklin and one in Dover.  In both cities, local officials wanted to keep convicted sex offenders from living too close to places where children regularly gather: schools, day care centers and playgrounds.  Several other communities still have such ordinances on the books, among them Tilton, Sanbornton, Northfield and Boscawen.

The impulse to keep sex offenders away from kids via zoning is completely understandable.  But there is strong reason to resist. And there is strong reason to set such policy at the state level, rather than leaving it to individual communities.

A growing body of evidence — gathered not just by civil liberties lawyers, but from law enforcement officers, public officials and child advocacy groups — suggests that residency restrictions are placebo pills at best and counterproductive at worst.  Such ordinances give communities a false sense of security while driving sex offenders underground or into rural areas where they can’t access the services that give them the best chance at rehabilitation....

An Iowa study, for instance, showed that sexual-abuse convictions had remained steady since statewide residency restrictions went into effect five years earlier but that the number of sex offenders failing to register their addresses with local police departments, as the law required, had more than doubled.

When a sex offender has served his sentence, it is in everyone’s interest that he succeed on the outside. Passing this bill would help.

April 1, 2014 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Thank you, Douglas. This is as it should be. I cannot add anything more here.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Apr 1, 2014 3:06:03 AM

Add parks?

| Park Forest Police Arrest One Man In Connection With Naked Attack on A Woman |
• 29 Mar 2014 10:55 |Written by Gary Kopycinski |
• Category: Local Police Reports

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Park Forest police announced an arrest in one of the assaults that occurred in the community last week.
The attacks prompted police to issue a Code Red community alert.

[O]n the morning of 3/20/14 at approximately 9:00 a.m., a 39 year old woman walking near Shabbona Park was approached by a subject who grabbed
the victim’s waist from behind …
The offender was described as a black male approximately 25 to 30 years old …
Greska was also charged with one misdemeanor count of Disorderly Conduct for an incident on 3/26/14 where he was seen in the same area
wearing only boots and a hat, but otherwise naked.

Greska was ruled out as a suspect in two incidents where women were battered near Winnebago Park during the same week ...

Anyone who may have witnessed any incident or who may have information about any incident is urged to call the Park Forest Police Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 1, 2014 8:43:49 AM

Adamakis:

I don't believe that fellow was an RSO, was he? Therefore, I don't think the ban would have applied to him to begin with -- thus you inadvertently (I'm assuming it was not intentional) underscored the editorial made about these laws having nil positive effect on public safety.

Posted by: Guy | Apr 1, 2014 9:16:58 AM

Residential restriction laws give former sex offenders an extra incentive to disobey registration laws and an extra incentive to show contempt for authority. Not only do these laws deny housing stability for those offenders who have served their time, but if it clusters them into other areas, they could band together like slaves and other outcasts to build on their collective rage and devise ways to rebel the way slaves did in the pre-Civil War era.

Second, these laws will make it harder for law enforcement to monitor them since these laws give former sex offenders the attitude that they no longer have anything left to lose. The offenders will think: "Why obey a law that will simply make our lives even worse than doing prison time? Better to risk a return to prison than to submit to punitive post-sentence indignities."

We all want our children to be safe, but offenders who are rendered homeless by these laws will have no incentive to go straight, but to lash out.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Apr 1, 2014 9:22:27 AM

william r. delzell --

I've noticed that you put up essentially the same comment every time: We had best resolve Question X in favor of the criminal, lest the criminal become resentful and violent, and begin some sort of rebellion against the authorities.

I have no particular knowledge about these sex crimes; it wasn't the sort of thing I handled as an AUSA. So I take no position on the issue here.

I am quite sure, however, that no democratic society will or should base its law on what makes criminals angry. We're not exactly going to bargain with them. The entire idea of the social contract requires citizens, including those convicted of crime, to abjure violence in pursuit of their aims. A society that allows its convicts to walk away from the social contract, or legislates out of the fear that they will, is a society headed for dissolution.

P.S. In fact, there is no evidence you produce showing that SO's are anywhere near starting the second Civil War.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 1, 2014 10:32:21 AM

|Man sexually assaults girl after luring her from Oakland school, police say|
By David DeBolt | ddebolt@bayareanewsgroup.com|POSTED: 03/31/2014

The assault took place in the 950 block of E. 28th Street near Bella Vista Elementary School
at about 3:15 p.m., according to police.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man between the ages of 20 and 25 …

Guy:
My point was that sexually assaultive males are using parks to obtain women to rape,
just as the one above used a school. Perhaps as an RSO in the future, a ban might result in his arrest
should he dowdle IVO a school, thus having more than a “nil positive effect on public safety.”

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 1, 2014 11:17:39 AM

| And a study in the journal Federal Probation -- Concord Monitor editorial |

Findings by research presented in Federal Probation Journal, June 2012:
“The typical characteristics of a recidivist include not having a registration failure (68 percent), being black (77 percent), Mage = 43.0, and being a child offender (64 percent).

The typical characteristics for those with registration failures include being a non-recidivist (58 percent), black (80 percent), Mage = 45, and a child offender (82 percent).

For instance, this research finds that child offenders have more registration failures.”

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 1, 2014 11:20:17 AM

"A society that allows its convicts to walk away from the social contract, or legislates out of the fear that they will, is a society headed for dissolution."

Bill, I agree with you about a society (us) that not only legislates out of fear, but breaks the greatest social contract of them all "the Constitution" is headed for ruin. Restrictions on residency, travel, free movement, employment and continuous fees (i.e. fines) after the convicted's social contract with the "STATE" (penalties of imprisonment, fines and probation/parole) have long since been fulfilled are the very definition of fascist. Laws based on hatred for a particularly perceived class (imaginary stereotype) will lead us to hell. Who will be the next government supported hated class, people who want to hold onto more of their earned income?

I have never seen such truly remarkable and misleading mental gymnastics as that practiced by our politicians with the support of the black-robed priesthood in denigrating the Constitution by supporting the laws as they are currently constructed. Ten years in prison for failure to "register" and become a vigilante target, or an error in the required information made by solely the state and not double or triple checked by the registrant (non-compliance) is a farce and the government and the supporters of these laws have actively earned my disrespect.

PS: Adamakis, please take your medications!

Posted by: albeed | Apr 1, 2014 11:55:32 AM

Would not society benefit from the registration of this rapist?

| Orillia sex offender jailed 7 yrs for attack |By Tracy McLaughlin, Special to QMI AGENCY | 29Mar2014

BARRIE - An Orillia man was sentenced to seven years in prison for his violent, random, sexual attack on a woman in 2011.
Court heard Thibodeau came up behind the woman in the darkness as she walked alone behind the Metro grocery store on Front Street
at around 2 a.m. Aug. 27, 2011. He put his arm around her neck and began to choke her. The woman tried to hit him with her purse
and struggled for her life as she yelled for help, but no one heard.

[Thibodeau was] asked if he would provide a DNA sample, but he refused. Police were able to get a sample of his DNA from a cigarette butt
he threw away and it matched …
Lucas Thibodeau, 26, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault causing bodily harm … has insisted he doesn’t need help … calmly sat
in the prisoner’s box and even appeared to smile as he received his sentence.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 1, 2014 1:04:20 PM

It appears that others think so (at bottom).

// “I wake up gasping, choking … There is air, but I can’t breathe,” she said.

More from rare stranger attack:

As Fuerst announced her sentence, the victim, who sat in court, breathed a sigh of relief and wiped tears from her eyes.
• Earlier in court, she stood on the witness stand and described how she believed she was going to die when she was attacked.
• She said she had to stay in urine-soiled clothing until the rape kit was completed.
• She had to take HIV medication and pregnancy medication — just in case.
• In the following days, the bruises that covered her face and body became black and more swollen.
• Clumps of her long hair came loose from her scalp. Her eyes were blackened. The hemorrhaging from busted blood vessels turned her eyeballs blood red.
• She sleeps with a baseball bat beside her bed. But still, she has nightmares.
// “ “I am free ... I will just take it one step at a time.”“//

Thibodeau … has four-and-a-half years left to serve — though he could apply for early parole. His identity and location will also remain on the sex offender registry for 20 years.
 www.thesudburystar.com\

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 1, 2014 1:07:07 PM

Adamakis:

No, we wouldn't be better of with the noted offender's registration. That particular perpetrator needs at least 25 years behind bars. Only 769,000 further cut and pastes to go. I am awaiting ALL of them.

Posted by: albeed | Apr 1, 2014 1:16:44 PM

Adamakis:

Assaultive males already use parks or other public places to find victims, irrespective of whether there is an RSO ban in place or not. If someone is determined to assault someone in a park, whether they have to live 1,000 feet away from said park won't have any impact on their decision to assault someone in it or not. In fact, the evidence suggests that RSOs who do reoffend tend not to do so in their own neighborhoods and instead travel to other areas in order to do so (read, a housing ban has a nil impact on public safety).

It's placebo, feel-good legislation that functions essentially as crime-control theater. It gives the illusion of safety without actually providing it, at the expense of (at best) the rights of people who have served their time or (at worst) actual public safety.

What a world we live in where we prefer to have the illusion of safety, even if that means making ourselves less safe in the process.

Posted by: Guy | Apr 1, 2014 2:31:14 PM

I agree that having zones where sex offenders are banned gives a false sense of safety, after all, what is really stopping a sex offender from walking through a park where they are banned? Although it offers a false sense of security, I do feel that sex offenders should be banned from certain areas, but the fact that they are banned from them should not be public knowledge. Once it is made public knowledge, a false sense of safety is established. Maybe in future tags will be developed that will go warn authorities that a sex offender is in an area where they shouldnt be.

Posted by: Lawyers | Apr 1, 2014 3:01:03 PM

Lawyers,

Maybe?

In the future everyone will have a GPS tag implanted at birth. First for the children, then to help find bodies at disaster sites, then just for the hell of it. The most important thing is to learn to love Big Brother because he isn't sadistic when he slides it in (not that, the tag, maybe). It's for our own good.

Posted by: George | Apr 1, 2014 4:00:11 PM

no offense adamakis but in this your talking out your ass. just because THIS attack occurred in a park is no reason to ban anyone from parks. Unless of course your ban is to include anyone convicted of a felony after all robbers, murders, drug dealers, prostitutes even pickpocket's use parks.

bill your missing the main point about sex offender residence restrictions. William also misses it. They are illegal and unconstutional based on 100+ years of united states law. Never mind the 2002 doe v smith USSC that made the damn thing legal in the first fucking place!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 1, 2014 6:24:15 PM

that's true George. Of course maybe we will turn so many American citizens into no class non-citizens that they will get together and kill our asses and take over.

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 1, 2014 6:25:44 PM

A registry not omnipotent, does not a placebo make.

As indicated by the rapist Thibodeau above, the sentence for even unquestioned sexual brutality
may be slimmer than Obama's "red line" on Syria.

I merely proffer that should the rough equivalent of a stay away order fail for a child rapist,
at least the charges would include this added crime, e.g. loitering in a school yard.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 1, 2014 8:33:45 PM

P.S. I would advocate for the death penalty for Thibodeau's rape and is sort,
but fear not, my mum is an other-than-criminal judge,
and I have no chance of securing such a position myself.
[Henceforward rapists shall enjoy indulgence, whilst their victims endure injustice.]

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 1, 2014 8:47:44 PM

Iowa seems to have gotten it right for the most part. It's just too bad they still have a public registry. There are still places offenders can't go to loiter, but they can at least go places with their families and live where they want. A registry and restrictions are not going to keep someone from committing another crime. Humans pushed into a corner will fight back and if they are homeless, prison might be better than the streets.

Posted by: JillSmith | Apr 1, 2014 9:03:08 PM

In response to Adamakis and Otis's counter-responses:

First, I do NOT support those who commit violent crimes, sex or otherwise.
Second, in response to Adamakis, one does not have to be male to commit a horrible sex crime OR to be female to be the victim of such a crime, although most reported perpetrators are male and most reported victims are female.
Third, in response to Otis, I never said that former sex offenders have started a new civil war in this country. I simply said that these restrictive laws breed contempt by those who have to register under these laws. There MIGHT (not necessarily WILL) be a tipping-point where enough former sex offenders who are forced to live together in restricted areas might decide to band together the way oppressed racial minorities did during the 1960's and early 1970's to form radically militant self-defense groups against vigilantes and others, and that this could lead to pitched street battles with the authorities. I pray it does NOT.
Finally, Adamkis and Otis, I do NOT advocate any violent uprising. I'm simply saying that these restrictive laws MIGHT have the UNINTENDED effect of doing so as well as giving law-abiding crime victims/survivors a FALSE sense of security.

Posted by: william delzell | Apr 2, 2014 9:49:22 AM

To Bill Otis, Adamakis, and John Walsh, My son was accused in 2006. Due to a slightly autistic personality, he was unable to defend himself against the prosecutor's henchmen. He has a 24 year sentence. Already served 8 years. He is dying slowly from torture and so am I. As well as his son and his brothers from the torture that is caused by these hysterical laws, and this hysteria that is gripping this nation. To people like you I say this:
What's right is right, even if no-one is doing it...
What's wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it...

Posted by: lainy | Apr 2, 2014 11:04:06 AM

very very interesting seems every time I mention the 2002 USSC decision it just get's ignored and the silence becomes defeaning. shows me you know the same thing I do. based on it pretty much every sex crimes law passed in the decade since is basically illegal on it's face.

just in case you want to refresh your memory!

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/01-729.ZS.html

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 2, 2014 11:50:53 AM

lainy --

The problem, sir, is that we have no way of knowing, from a two-sentence account given with zero detail by a person who says he's the father, whether the sentence was just, too long, or too short. How could anyone on this blog possibly reach a judgment about that?

In addition, while you say that your son was unable to defend himself, you do not say that he didn't do the acts spelled out in the indictment.

What were those acts, and did he do them?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 2, 2014 3:46:11 PM

otis, lainy makes a comment about a personal situation and your the first to pipe up about needing to know the dirty deeds behind the comment to prove it...sounds just like a reaction that one might expect from a closeted voyeur who salivates and relishes over the retelling of a sordid tale.

Posted by: web | Apr 2, 2014 5:23:53 PM

web --

When self-serving stories are anonymously served up as "proof" of some pre-existing point of view, yes, they're going to provoke curiosity about their authenticity.

"...sounds just like a reaction that one might expect from a closeted voyeur who salivates and relishes over the retelling of a sordid tale."

Which sounds just like the self-justifying resentment of a sex offender.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 2, 2014 8:39:04 PM

horse pucky bill. you don't need every detail. a simple google search will give you all the dirty details of the criminal stupidity of the registry. how about years in prison for moving 200 feet? from one side of the hallway to the next?

or 20years on the registry of the heinous crime of grabbing an idiot girl who almost got run over and making her get out of the damn street.

ir 3 years for living 999 ft from a school instead of 1000 as required by law when it was the local law enforcement who approved the damn address.

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 3, 2014 2:33:30 AM

rodsmith --

I have no evidence that this person calling himself "lainy" even exists. I also have no way of knowing whether the sentence was, as he claims, unjust, until he tells us what this case is actually about. If it was for public urination, it was too long. If it was for the violent rape of a five year-old, it was too short.

How am I supposed to know that?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 3, 2014 9:32:17 AM

rodsmith, don't waist you time. Bill Ottis is a former federal prosecutor. His views are HIS views and he will, most likely, never change them.

What we all know is that the current SO laws are illegal!

You do make a good point about the 2002 doe vs Smith decision. Swing vote was cast in favor of the registration by Justice Kennedy. He noted that none of the sex offenders living arrangements and employment would not be effected by passage of this civil restriction. He based that decision on no "factual data", that I am aware of. It was his "best guess" at the time.

We now know for a fact that the public SO Registry does indeed effect the living arrangements as well the employment status of anyone convicted of a sex offense.

Because no empirical data was used by the justices in making that decision back in 2002, the doe vs. Smith decision needs to be revisited.

Posted by: Book38 | Apr 3, 2014 8:18:55 PM

actuall book that 2002 decision was based on a fraud against the court by the govt. they used a so-called 100% reoffence rate to squeak it by. that renders the entire decision illegal based on the state and federal laws that prohibit any criminal from profiting from their crime. they used a 1994 study that used less than 200 repeat offenders to decide a reoffence rate. NO SHIT. they were in prison for repeat offenses no shit they reoffend! pretty much every major study that has come out since shows it for the junk science it is.

what is it prosecutors use. deliberate blindness or deliberate ignorance. They had known for almost a decade before the 2002 decision that the study was junk and there were 100's after it and before the hearing that proved it and used it anyway.

that is fraud when done in a legal govt setting. that is a CRIME.

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 4, 2014 4:40:06 PM

My apologies. I stand corrected. 2003 Smith vs Doe decision is what I was referring to.

Posted by: Book38 | Apr 4, 2014 4:48:41 PM

Book38 --

"rodsmith, don't waist you time. Bill Ottis is a former federal prosecutor. His views are HIS views and he will, most likely, never change them."

Which of your views are you going to change?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 4, 2014 7:59:49 PM

Bill:

Why should Book38 be willing to change his views? He was making an accurate observation based on an exceedingly long and consistent history of posts attributed to one non-anonymous (which MUST give them extra weight) poster who uses your name.

You seldom if ever address presented information directly but deflect them by a method that can best be described as "willful ignorance". That is often a common legal method to feign whatever you want it to mean to not address direct issues.

That is also a method used by congressional committees to make themselves look above the fray, such as was recently done in the GM interrogation. I'm trying to figure out who learned what from whom.

Posted by: albeed | Apr 4, 2014 8:51:55 PM

When a person is on probation or parole, it is appropriate for a supervisor to examine where and how the person lives. But after that, it is not appropriate at all. In fact, "residency restrictions" are just pure theft. People who support them are un-American, thieving criminals who deserve no respect. They also deserve to be attacked.

And again, we have to ask, how it is possible that these un-American, thieving criminals who love "residency restrictions" have not applied them to people who shoot people? Or to millions of other people who have committed many other types of crimes? And then people expect to take them seriously when they lie about "protecting children"?

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Apr 10, 2014 5:20:40 PM

Bill Otis | Apr 1, 2014 10:32:21 AM:

I agree with you that our nanny big governments should not create laws based on worrying about if it makes criminals angry or not. But, they should make laws that are just, fair, and reasonable. Somebody has to be on the high road. Otherwise, they are no better than the criminals that they claim to be able to judge.

I also agree with you that there is no second Civil War being started. The war doesn't need to start, it has been underway for a long time. It is obviously not an overt war like the Civil War. It's a war being waged, mostly secretly, by individuals.

You do realize that children have been murdered in retaliation for the Registries, right? Is that not enough for a war for you? And I have no doubt at all that a lot of people are actively and illegally harming other people in retaliation for the Registries. No doubt. That's just "lone wolf" stuff, I guess. And I know that there are a lot of Registered people who are definitely going to retaliate at a level appropriate to any harassment from a criminal regime. For example, I know that if some Registered people are arrested, they are definitely going to hurt random people in response.

We don't have to call it a war. But you know how our nanny big governments that we need to protect us like to call things "wars", right? Like "War on Drugs", "War on Crime", and "War on Sex Offenders". I think we need to follow their lead and call it a war.

And unlike william r. delzell, I would love to see blood flowing. I didn't used to feel that way but now my desire for that grows almost daily. I am not going to be participating in anything illegal but I would really like to see other people do it. For example, I think it would be great when a bunch of these nanny big government agencies get together to do some of their grandstanding BS "compliance checks" that they go out to a home and all die violent deaths. I think that would be a great message. Or how about mass murders? Those would be good messages too. Registry Terrorists need to know that there will be a price for their harassment.


Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Apr 10, 2014 5:28:42 PM

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