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June 2, 2017

Considering the unique housing challenges for aging sex offenders

This new Atlantic article explores the questions that now attend an ever-growing and ever-aging sex offender population.  The piece is headlined "The Puzzle of Housing Aging Sex Offenders: States are grappling with how to care for a growing population of registered offenders in long-term care facilities."  Here are excerpts:

When state officials finally released William Cubbage from the Iowa Mental Health Institute in 2010, they predicted he was too sick to hurt anyone again. But the octogenarian only became an even more notorious sex offender....

And while Cubbage’s case is extreme, he’s symptomatic of a larger puzzle in America’s long-term care facilities that no one’s managed to solve.  As lawmakers in Oklahoma and Ohio have found, isolating aging sex offenders is easier planned than achieved.

“The problem is that you’re talking about a project that’s uniquely difficult when it comes to structural needs and safety,” says Amy McCoy, a public-information officer with the Iowa Department of Human Services. “You’re talking about things like hallways without corners. You’re also talking about building a place that isn’t a prison. It’s something entirely different from a traditional care facility. You want people in the least restrictive setting, but you also want to be able to respond if something does happen.”

Local lawmakers have been sounding alarms for at least a decade whenever sex offenders strike.  With no federal regulations dictating how long-term care centers should handle offenders, solutions vary state to state. In 2012, Iowa’s Governor pushed a bill requiring nursing homes to notify residents if an offender moved in, but it died in the legislature.  California’s Department of Corrections notifies nursing homes if anyone on the sex-offender registry applies for residency, and the nursing homes are required to notify residents and employees.  Illinois facilities forbid offenders from having roommates and tests them for any special care needs before sending the results to local police and the Department of Public Health. (Requests to interview multiple nursing homes in Iowa, Ohio, and Illinois for this story went unanswered.)

Just as Iowa’s now considering, Oklahoma passed law in 2008 to create a specialized nursing home for offenders.  But not a single bid to construct the property was submitted.  A contractor’s reluctance to be involved with such a property could be due to its specialized requirements, but in the view of the sex-offender advocate Derek Logue, it’s just as likely another case of people not wanting any connection to the registry. Logue is the founder of Once Fallen, which calls itself the “leading reference & resource site for Registered Citizens.” A Cincinnati resident, Logue himself is registered in Ohio for a 2001 conviction of First Degree Sexual Abuse against an underage girl. At age 40, he calls himself “one of the younger guys”; most offenders who call for help finding a place to live or a job are in their 50s or 60s.

“If you look at the nursing homes that do take registered citizens, they tend to have below-average grades,” Logue says. “It’s the same issue [offenders] face when they’re trying to find a place to live.  You’ll never be anywhere decent, you always end up with some landlord who doesn’t care about the property.  We don’t exactly get quality service.”

Logue knows you won’t cry over his failure to score a luxury penthouse, but he counters that he’s served his time.  And it’s his tribe’s pariah statues, he says, that makes registered offenders likely to need extra medical attention in their declining years.  Beyond the Gordian knot that is the ongoing argument over the sex-offender registry’s effectiveness, constitutionality, and methods of inclusion, offenders are less likely to be employed, more likely to live in poverty if they do have full-time work, and subsequently less likely to have access to preventive care.

It’s also hard to gauge exactly how much of a danger they pose as seniors. Sexual assaults are already underreported crimes, and recidivism rates among all ages vary from study by study. Karl Hanson and Kelly Morton-Bourgon, a pair of sex-crimes researchers who work for the Canadian government, estimate that the average rate is likely around 13.7 percent. Meanwhile, multiple recent studies suggest recidivism rates seem to decline among the elderly....

Another blind spot is that almost no one is counting how many sex offenders require end-of-life care. Back in 2006, the U.S. Government Accountability Office counted 700 registered sex offenders living in nursing homes or intermediate care facilities. More recent numbers among the nation’s 15,600 long-term care facilities and their 1.4 million residents are hard to come by.

June 2, 2017 at 02:18 PM | Permalink


Of the 700 sex-offenders reported living in nursing homes in 2006, HOW MANY caused any problems. I am sure it was about the same percentage as the "normal" aging population.

We not only have fake news, snowflakes, safe rooms, etc., but also mostly publically educated idiots, including the legal profession and especially lawmakers and justices.

Posted by: albeed | Jun 2, 2017 5:16:44 PM

Another phrase I see all the time is sex offenses are under reported. Lots of crimes are under reported. I had my purse stolen once. I didn't report it, I called my credit card to cancel it. I am not minimizing sexual assault, but I wish people would quit saying that like sex offenses are unique in being under reported.

Posted by: Anne | Jun 2, 2017 7:00:02 PM

Medicare and Medicaid are starving nursing homes. They are all going away, soon.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 2, 2017 8:52:12 PM

This is a problem created by big government sponsored and promoted hate.

F all people who support it. Make them pay.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 3, 2017 2:40:35 AM

That's a good point, Anne. There are a lot of memes and mantras that get repeated with respect to SO's and crimes that are of dubious accuracy and origins. Even the Supreme Court has gotten into the act.

Why do people's brains seem to just shut down when considering certain types of odious offenders?

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 3, 2017 9:07:51 AM

Again. Again and again. Give us the name. The name of the nursing home where your grandma resides. That is where we are sending these vicious super-predators.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 4, 2017 12:40:41 PM

Government made problem.
Those that are "too" dangerous to be let out should be kept in.
Everyone else should have a fair shot at resuming their lives, without the registry. Problem solved.

Posted by: kat | Jun 5, 2017 11:26:42 AM

David Behar | Jun 4, 2017 12:40:41 PM:

If there was no "s*x offender" witch hunt then I might actually care about legitimate issues regarding putting people who were dangerous in the past into nursing homes. But there is a witch hunt so I don't care and none of us should. And we should vote that way and direct our money that way.

There is nothing unique about a person listed on a S*x Offender Registry being any more or less dangerous than a hundred million other people. The only thing that made them unique is big governments' decision to create and promote a "s*x offender" group for everyone to hate. That is the only thing that is unique.

A person could be on parole for going into a nursing home and shooting people and big government doesn't think that person is dangerous at all.

So sorry, I don't give a shit about dangerous "s*x offenders". When an article, person, or anything else says "s*x offender", I don't have to worry about being rational.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 5, 2017 11:37:08 AM

kat | Jun 5, 2017 11:26:42 AM:

You are exactly right. That would also increase public safety. It would allow our country to divert resources to much more productive and beneficial activities. It would allow the disintegration of our country to slow. It would allow some people to consider being good citizens again. It would be a huge win all around.

But you know big government can't let that happen. They are far too arrogant for it and they are getting to much out of it. Same with the victim and prison industries. Those people really want to keep getting paid.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 5, 2017 11:53:11 AM

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