« Should we be worried or hopeful about the Obama Administration and the drug war? | Main | Still more blogosphere buzzing about the Presidential pardon polka »

December 28, 2008

"Laws to Track Sex Offenders Encouraging Homelessness"

Offenders under bridge The title of this post is the title of this notable article in today's Washington Post.  Here are snippets from an effective piece:

Strict new laws aimed at keeping track of sex offenders after they leave prison appear to be having the opposite effect, encouraging homelessness in a population believed more likely to re-offend if cast into the streets without structure or family support, say prosecutors, police, parole officials and experts on managing sex offenders.

The issue is starkest in California, where the number of sex crime parolees registering as transient has jumped more than 800 percent since Proposition 83 was passed in November 2006. The "Jessica's Law" initiative imposed strict residency rules and called for all offenders to wear Global Positioning System bracelets for the rest of their lives....

"The public definitely was sold a bill of goods on this one," said Detective Diane Webb, supervisor of the Los Angeles Police Department unit that tracks 5,000 sex offenders in Los Angeles County. "Unfortunately, it bodes well for politicians to support it because the public does have this false sense of security that this is somehow protecting them when it's not."...

Similar complications face 31 other states that have passed residency restrictions. Georgia's Supreme Court last year struck down its law on the grounds that the 1,000-foot restriction violated property rights; the succeeding measure also faces a court challenge.  Homeless offenders in Miami huddled nightly under a bridge after being kicked off a vacant lot neighboring a center for abused children.  [The Miami sex offender shanty is what is pictured in this post's photo.] 

In Iowa, the number of sex offenders whose whereabouts were unknown doubled after passage of residence restrictions. "I don't think anybody has found any evidence that they contribute to safety," said Corwin Ritchie, head of the Iowa County Attorneys Association. "The main defenders are people who are just basing it on emotion, not good public policy.  I think most legislators have figured that out in their hearts."...

The state lawmaker who championed Proposition 83 said he was not bothered by homelessness resulting from the initiative because every transient offender is supposed to be wearing an ankle bracelet.  "We knew the consequence from the very beginning; that's why we included GPS as well as residency requirements," said state Sen. George Runner, a Republican who represents an L.A. exurb.

December 28, 2008 at 09:30 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Laws to Track Sex Offenders Encouraging Homelessness":


The problem is most people read something like this and they say "awesome, take that!"

They didn't mention the sex offenders in florida who, due to such restrictions, can only live underneath a bridge overpass (like actual trolls)?

I don't see how "can't live at or within X" can be a legitimate, constitutional punishment for crimes in America. Especially when enacted after the offender has already served his time.

Here we go, I'm going to say something shocking again... if the choice is between mass homlessness and a few kids getting raped (though I believe that to be a false dichotomy), the lesser of the two evils is the few kids getting raped.

"Bruce said he wants children to be raped!"

No, I did not. Read what I fucking said before you accuse me of saying something which I did not say. I stand by my words, but not your asinine interpretations of my words.

Posted by: BruceM | Dec 28, 2008 11:10:14 AM

"Bruce said he wants children to be raped!"


Posted by: Mark | Dec 29, 2008 12:43:24 AM

It is absurd to classify young men about age 19 who have sex with their 14 or 15-year old girl friends as sex offenders. In any case, such offenders should be distinguished from 40-year old men who have sex with 11-year old girls. Many states don't care about the obvious differences and great injustices are being done. However wrong it may be for the teenage boy to have sex with the 14-year old girl, it is not a symptom of "perversion" and the "offender" certainly doesn't need psychiatric treatment.

Sidney Gendin, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Philosophy of Law
Eastern Michigan University

Posted by: Sidney Gendin | Dec 31, 2008 7:42:51 PM

It is wrong to force anyone from their homes and family. It is wrong to brand our youths as sex offenders based on laws named after murdered children. It is wrong to register, track, hunt, and torture any American citizen, especially those who have paid their debt to society. But who cares about anyone else, these days? That's America, don't forget to wear your seat belt and smoke out side,too. What else can they dream up?

Posted by: Land Of The Free? | Jan 5, 2009 7:13:02 PM

I am a convicted sex offender, who has been thru the whole system. Not just in Texas, but here in New Hampshire. The law agencies do there best to return all ex-cons to prison because of the Grants, and Financial aid they receive from the Government. An employee of the Prison system named Smith actually showed me on Official papers how much the states receive from the Government, and it was hundreds of millions of dollars. Smith retired soon after, and I actually met him on the streets months later, and he explained to me that the sex offenders program is just a bigger ploy to exploit prisoners from the free labor they do free of charge, and to think that they create more jobs that less people can do, just to milk the tax payers. When you try to get a copy of the Rules, and Laws, and Policies that the People running the Sex Offenders program they give you the run-a-round, and when you do find a way to finally get it, they charge you hundreds of dollars to get the copies. The local police spread the word to all companies, and stores in the ex-cons area so they will not get hired, and force them to live on the streets, or run them out of the area. Of course, it makes the sex-offender just move to another town, or state to go thru the same hell again. I am hoping that with the new presidential government in place, that alot of that will change, but not holding my breath. Now they are charging $17.00 every six months from the sex-offenders, when the only jobs we can get pay minimum wage, so we will never rise out of the lowest income bracket. If the Justice Department would get off their lazy worthless behinds, and really investigate the Sex Offenders Program, they would find that most of the information, and data they put out on the internet, and to other agencies are incorrect, and put to further make the sex-offender seem like an animal, instead of a human being. If you contact me, I will gladly prove that to you, or anyone else who believes in Justice, and fairness to all people. But, like I stated the government is corrupted thru, and thru, soon the world will end. What then??? Who will come out running the World??? I would say the strongest human beings who indured hell in prison!!! Think about it, and the truth will come to you. Thank You DAB for being a strong, and solid person who wants the truth made known to all. JLA

Posted by: | Jan 12, 2009 10:01:16 PM


Newspaper article from our research archive:
Police still seek sex offenders
Article from:Gurnee Review (IL) Article date:January 1, 1998 Author: BY MICHAEL ULREICH | Copyright informationCopyright 1998, Gurnee Review, Pioneer Press. All rights reserved. REPRODUCTION PROHIBITED. (Hide copyright information)

Early in the morning, three days before Christmas, a coalition of local police forces spread out to execute arrest warrants on the 19 Lake County suspects who failed to comply with the Sex Offenders Registration Act including a Wildwood resident convicted of rape and deviant sexual assault.

Those arrested Dec. 22 and indicted for violation of the Sex Offenders Registration Act include Nathan Defensor, 39, of unincorporated Gurnee, convicted of criminal sexual assault; Douglas Lunsford, 62, of Lake Villa, convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse; Kimberly Mielke, 28, of unincorporated Antioch, convicted of child pornography; and Michael Scott, 42, of Gurnee, convicted of criminal sexual ...

Read all of this article with a FREE trial

Related newspaper, magazine, and journal articles:

Posted by: john smith | Mar 17, 2009 12:34:21 PM

No matter what the local and federal law makers do it is up to every parent who owns a computer to BLOG Child sex offenders registered or not giving the unsuspecting communities, schools, employers the information they need to protect our children. The future generations need not be exposed to these rejects of humanity. There are plenty of bridges in america so if you are a sex offender reading this PICK ONE! because I will BLOG you until the day I die, "PROMISE".

blogmaster -"B"

Posted by: terry | May 12, 2009 9:15:04 AM

You are right why should we deal with these sex offenders just stickem under bridges and let the high rivers wash them down stream like the poisoness trash they are.

Posted by: outofjurisdiction | Jun 1, 2009 3:02:41 PM

You really have to wonder if the extended family and or children are supportive of there convicted child sex offending parent. Would they take them in from under these bridges and risk there own children being sexually abused at the same time. Maybe the sex offenders own family & children want nothing to do with him/her so they can try to preserve there own reputation and protect there own family and future even going so far as denying being related all together. ????????!

Posted by: mark | Jun 24, 2009 2:44:12 PM

I have worked with hundreds of sex offenders as a job counsoler. The one thing they all have in common is they say they are not guilty or they were just young and dumb at the time or had a bad lawyer and somehow they were framed for the crime or better yet make claims of some sort of dependency for the trouble they were in. FYI ! The court system does not hand out felonies like crispy cream dounuts without due process with all evidence concidered.

sorry just venting.

Posted by: rainman | Jul 10, 2009 2:40:56 PM


IL – Law may deter sex offenders
December 31, 2007 — sntina


Law-enforcement officials hope that a new law will help solve cold cases while deterring repeat sex offenders.

The law, which takes Monday, requires convicted sex offenders to provide DNA samples as part of their sex-offender registration process. Officials say people convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses are those affected by the change.

Although treatment professionals support efforts to find repeat offenders, some say the new law won’t necessarily deter sex offenders.

The new law joins others addressing sex offenders in 2007. Other initiatives include revamping the state’s sex-offender registry so the public can look up offenders by a specific address; a global positioning system for paroled sexual predators; and stricter requirements on where offenders may live in relation to child-care facilities.

Sex offenders now will have to renew their driver’s licenses every year, as opposed to every four years. Another law prohibits custody or visitation by a father who was convicted of a sexual crime that resulted in the child’s conception.

In the new DNA law, samples will be kept by the Illinois State Police for analysis and comparison. State law already requires those convicted of sex offenses to provide their address, employer and other information to police.

Although some sex offenses required a registration process in the 1980s, the list as it’s known now began in 1996 with the creation of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry. Some offenders are required to register for 10 years, while others spend the rest of their lives on the list.

Assistant State’s Attorney Justin Fitzsimmons, who prosecutes mostly sex offenses in Kane County, said the new law would enhance his ability to charge such offenders and aid police investigations.

“A DNA sample will last forever,” he said.

Fitzsimmons said the new measure closes a loophole that allowed some registered sex offenders – those convicted of misdemeanor offenses – to disappear from the system after 10 years. Many misdemeanor sex offenses don’t require the lifetime registration, but instead have the 10-year limit, he said.

Anyone convicted of a felony must submit DNA. However, the new law allows for those convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses – which never carry prison time – to join that group.

“If a sex assault occurs 20 or 30 years later… [a convicted sex offender’s information] may not show up,” Fitzsimmons said.

He also said more identifying information from sex offenders might offer deterrence.

“I think any additional requirement of people convicted of misdemeanor or felony sex crimes is going to have some effect,” he said. “It’s going to make them stop and think twice. That’s the hope.”

State Rep. Susana Mendoza, a Chicago Democrat who proposed the measure earlier this year, said Chicago police asked lawmakers to introduce the new law.

Sex-offender DNA on file could provide answers to unsolved crimes, or be used to solve future crimes committed by a convicted, repeat offender, Mendoza said.

“The average rapist rapes seven times before he’s caught,” she said, adding “So many sex crimes relate to DNA.”

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, supported the measure.

She said DNA samples from unsolved rape cases are “sitting” in the state crime lab.

“This is another tool we can give to law enforcement,” she said. “Not only do we put the DNA on record, but we could solve unsolved cases.”

Chapa LaVia said other states have started this process.

“This is the wave of the future,” she said, adding that she believes that the new law will deter repeat sex offenders.

“If someone knows their DNA profile is on file for the rest of their life, they are less likely to commit crimes and get help fro the problem they have,” she said.

Psychologist Debra Nickerson heads the Illinois chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sex Abusers. Although she is not a law-enforcement expert, she does not see how the new law will deter sex offenders.

“If there is such a thing as a deterrent, there are plenty of laws on the books already that would deter,” she said. “I’m not sure it’s helpful in that way.”

Illinois state Police Lt. Lincoln Hampton said DNA collection from inmates was a useful tool and should continue to be useful with the addition of sex-offender DNA collection.

“We’ll be able to track them … and track crimes,” he said.

There were about 100,000 samples analyzed in 2006 alone, Hampton said.

– Sex offender law history

After laws placing various restrictions on those convicted of child molestation offenses, the Illinois legislature passed the Sex Offender Registration Act in 1996.

That act said that anyone convicted of a felony sex offense must register on the state’s Sex Offender Registry, and placed living, employment and other restrictions on those registered.

This information was available to the public through their local law enforcement, and eventually accessible via the Internet.

Since then, many laws have added qualifying offenses, placed more restrictions on registering offenders or changed the laws in scores of other ways.

Starting in 1997, those convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses also started registering.

In 1999, the category of “sexual predator” was created.

Also in 1999, the registry was available online, along with a photo of the offender.

In 2002, juvenile delinquent sex offenders were required to register.

Beginning in 2004, it became a Class 3 felony for those violating the terms of the registry.

In 2006, juvenile sex offenders must start registering as an adult on their 17th birthday.

Source: Illinois State Police

Posted by: hurtme | Jul 15, 2009 10:20:20 AM

DNA a is that like a donut or something?

Posted by: CHRIS | Jul 15, 2009 5:16:05 PM

chris from arba-vista wrote,

no that is short for diana!

Posted by: chris | Jul 18, 2009 10:13:16 AM


Can I borrow $5000 to post bond for my cannabis charges? I swear i did not inhale, I was framed!!!!


Posted by: MARY JANE | Jul 19, 2009 9:42:54 AM

Scout leader charged with sexual abuse of 12-year-oldFriday, January 26, 2007 | 7:59 AM By John GarciaJanuary 25, 2007 (WLS) -- Investigators have charged a Cub Scout leader with sexual assault and abuse in a case involving a 12-year-old girl. Authorities are trying to determine if there are more victims because of Carl Doty's close relationship with the organization.
Doty is a Cub master and Wolf Den leader. He lives in Antioch Township and works with the Antioch Cub Scouts.
The Boy Scout organization has kicked Carl Doty out of the Scouts on the basis of these allegations. They say they have no information that he abused any of the scouts, but the safety of children is their highest priority. Prosecutors have charged Doty with four felony counts and police say more charges could be forthcoming.
Prosecutors say the assaults took place in a remote Antioch Township home. The suspect, 46-year-old Carl Doty lives in the home. Prosecutors say the alleged victim was a 12-year-old girl not related to Doty. They say he sexually assaulted her numerous times during the last six months.

Posted by: MARY JANE | Jul 19, 2009 10:20:48 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB