Friday, November 22, 2013

Village pauses on sex offender ordinance

Village pauses on sex offender ordinance

MOUNT PLEASANT — After hearing testimony on how sex offender placement ordinances can backfire, a village committee voted unanimously Wednesday to take more time in creating such an ordinance for Mount Pleasant.
Such ordinances set restrictions on where child and violent sex offenders out on supervised release can live, sometimes limiting them to only small sections of a municipality. Village Board members on the Finance/Legal/License committee said Mount Pleasant’s proposed ordinance is designed to mirror those passed by Racine, Caledonia and Sturtevant, ensuring their village doesn’t become a “dumping ground” for released offenders.
But Department of Corrections Field Supervisor Matt Kaesermann cautioned committee members Wednesday, saying research and experience shows such ordinances can hurt more than they help, leading to homelessness among offenders after release. When offenders are homeless, it makes it hard for authorities to monitor them and increases their chances of re-offending.
Following a recent flurry of sex offender ordinances passed in the area, Kaesermann said only one transitional living home, in the 2100 block of Mount Pleasant’s Racine Street, is available to temporarily house offenders upon release. The other approximately 15 to 20 homes that previously served the purpose can no longer house them thanks to recent ordinances, he said.
Additionally, although his department is currently working to re-establish those transitional homes in areas that comply with the ordinance, Kaesermann said the next group of sex offenders scheduled for release this January is currently expected to be homeless.
According to Kaesermann, limiting the locations released offenders can be placed leads to “unintended consequences” by increasing the number of homeless offenders and draining department resources by complicating the search for housing. It additionally makes those offenders harder to monitor and/or concentrates them into small geographic areas, he said.
“That’s not public safety,” said Kaesermann, himself a Mount Pleasant resident. “In my opinion, that doesn’t do anything.”
Mount Pleasant Chief of Police Tim Zarzecki said that after speaking to Kaesermann, he reached out to law enforcement officials in Brown County, where similar ordinances have been in place and at least one has been rescinded.
“What they both told me, in essence, summarized, is that in their opinion, the sex offender ordinance has pushed people underground,” Zarzecki said.
Research shows recidivism decreases when offenders are kept separate from one another, re-integrated with society and closely monitored, Kaesermann said.
“Suitable housing, positive social supports … that leads to a reduction in recidivism. Are they working? Do they have a sense of self-worth?” he said.
In light of Kaesermann’s testimony, Mount Pleasant trustees unanimously voted to temporarily delay a decision on the ordinance.
“We’ve received some new information,” said Village President Mark Gleason. “We need to have an ordinance that has the right teeth in it.”
Gleason stressed the need to carefully craft the ordinance to best ensure public safety, but he also insisted, “We don’t want to sit on it. We really need to focus on this a little bit and bring it back as soon as we possibly can.”

A countywide sex offender ordinance?

MOUNT PLEASANT — The possibility of creating a countywide ordinance for placing sex offenders on supervised release surfaced Wednesday as trustees mulled a proposal to restrict sex offender placements in the Village of Mount Pleasant.
Mount Pleasant Village President Mark Gleason also serves as a supervisor on the County Board. He said Wednesday he planned to schedule a sit-down with Racine County’s corporate counsel to explore sex offender placement on a countywide basis.
Gleason and other members of Mount Pleasant’s Finance/Legal/License Committee spoke of the need for a “holistic approach” to placing sex offenders across Racine County, not just in Mount Pleasant.
It’s unclear what impact that might have on local ordinances until the measure is drafted, according to Gleason, but he hopes it would mean Mount Pleasant won’t need to duplicate the county ordinance.
Mount Pleasant Chief of Police Tim Zarzecki is contacting the Racine County District Attorney’s office “to ensure what we create is enforceable,” Gleason said, adding that he’ll be checking with the county’s corporate counsel as well.
In the interim, Gleason said, the village may consider “stopgap” measures limiting sex offender placement.
“I want to be clear,” Gleason said. “We are very committed to public safety.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

GPS Ankle Bracelets Now Have the Ability to Listen and Record Conversations - :

GPS Ankle Bracelets Now Have the Ability to Listen and Record Conversations - :

Board removes bike paths from offender restriction list

Board removes bike paths from offender restriction list

November 15, 2013 6:23 am  • 
RACINE — Although Thursday was the first time the city’s Sex Offender Residency Appeal board considered an appeal to where an offender can live, it was not the first official action of the board.
That occurred a few weeks ago when the body voted to remove bike paths from the list of places violent or child sex offenders are restricted from living near under a city ordinance.
When aldermen voted this spring to bar violent or child sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of locations where children spend time, the list included a host of places, including schools, playgrounds, day care centers, libraries, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, houses of worship and bike paths.
A review by The Journal Times of a map drafted for by the city showing the effect of such restrictions revealed that left only few pockets of the city available to such offenders.
On Thursday, John Campion said he and his fellow board members decided to strike paths from the list after determining that is was “unnecessarily restrictive without an attendant benefit.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In the news by Karen Franklin PhD: Static-99 developers embrace redemption

In the news by Karen Franklin PhD: Static-99 developers embrace redemption

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Static-99 developers embrace redemption

Sex offender risk plummets over time in community, new study reports

Criminals reform.

Violent criminals reform.

And now -- drum roll -- the authors of the most widely used actuarial tool for assessing sex offender recidivism are conceding that even sex offenders cross a "redemption threshold" over time, such that their risk of committing a new sexual crime may become "indistinguishable from the risk presented by non-sexual offenders."

Tracking a large group of 7,740 sexual offenders drawn from 21 different samples around the world, the researchers found that those who remain free in the community for five years or more after their release are at drastically reduced risk of committing a new sex offense.

The offenders identified as at the highest risk on the Static-99R saw their rates of reoffending fall the most, from 22 percent at the time of release to 8.6 percent after five years and only 4.2 percent after 10 years in the community. Based on their findings, the researchers say that risk factors such as number of prior offenses are time-dependent rather than truly static or never-changing.

"If high risk sexual offenders do not reoffend when given the opportunity to do so, then there is clear evidence that they are not as high risk as initially perceived," note authors R. Karl Hanson, Andrew J. R. Harris, Leslie Helmus and David Thornton in the article scheduled for publication the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Quoting two of my favorite scholars -- criminologist Shadd Maruna and law professor/forensic psychologist Charles Ewing -- the authors challenge the notion that sex offenders represent a special case of perpetual danger. They question the need for life-time monitoring and supervision.

"Even if certain subgroups of sexual offenders can be identified as high risk, they need not be high risk forever. Risk-relevant propensities could change based on fortunate life circumstances, life choices, aging, or deliberate interventions."

The time-free effect was similar across all subgroups examined, including those defined by age at release, treatment involvement, pre-selection into a "high risk/high need" category on the Static-99R, or victim type (adults, children, related children).

The authors recommend revising estimates of risk for individuals who do not reoffend after being free in the community for a certain period of time.

"Once given the opportunity to reoffend, the individuals who reoffend should be sorted into higher risk groups, and those who do not reoffend should be sorted into lower risk groups. This sorting process can result in drastic changes from the initial risk estimates."

The article is: "High Risk Sex Offenders May Not Be High Risk Forever." Copies may be requested from the first author, R. Karl Hanson (HERE).