Julia Tuttle Causeway Sex Offender Colony

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Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD December 2013

The Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony (also called “Bookville” by former residents) was an encampment of banished, registered sex offenders who were living beneath the Julia Tuttle Causeway—a highway in Miami, Florida, USA—from 2006 to April 2010. The colony was created by a lobbyist named Ron Book, who wrote ordinances in several different Miami-Dade County cities to restrict convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet (760 m) of schools, parks, bus stops, or homeless shelters. Since Book was also head of the Miami Homeless Trust, he was also in charge of finding housing for the released sexual offenders. Under these ordinances, the only areas where sex offenders could legally reside within Miami-Dade County were the Miami Airport and the Florida Everglades. Miami-Dade laws are significantly stricter than State of Florida laws on residency restrictions for sex offenders. Florida State Law required that no sex offender could live within 2,000 ft from “where children gather”. Under that requirement, housing was possible; however, because of Book’s lobbying, the Dade County Commission increased that number to 2,500 ft, thereby banishing hundreds of local citizens who then began gathering under the Julia Tuttle Causeway.[1]

Colony setup – Before the colony was established, the State of Florida provided sex offenders a list of locations where they could live that did not violate the boundaries set by the City of Miami, but the closest was in Broward County.[2] Although the Florida Department of Corrections initially denied that they were forcing the offenders to live under the bridge, the Miami New Times reported that internal communications in the Department of Corrections proved this was false, that released offenders were told to live in the colony or face more jail time,[2] and sex offenders who were released were issued driver licenses by the State of Florida listing their addresses as the Julia Tuttle Causeway.[3]
As many as 140 people lived in the colony in July 2009.[4] They were required to be in the camp overnight from 6 pm to 7 am, when a representative from the Department of Corrections arrived to check that they were there.[5] Most of the structures in the encampment, described by The Miami Herald as a “shantytown”, were tents, improvised wood, or cardboard structures.[4] Some had plumbing and cooking capacities, and residents of the colony shared generators for electricity, only used to recharge cell phones and the tracking devices they were required to wear.[3]

Conflicts over responsibility – As the number of residents grew, the City of Miami and the State of Florida disagreed over who was ultimately responsible for the sex offenders. Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, worried about how tourists perceived the colony, prompted an attorney from the Florida Department of Corrections to write a letter to the City of Miami absolving the Department of responsibility. The City of Miami responded by filing a lawsuit against the state, citing public health and safety concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had also filed a lawsuit against the City of Miami for imposing the 2,500-foot rule for sex offenders when the State of Florida’s law restricts them to 1,000 feet (300 m) from where children congregate. The ACLU said that the 1,000-ft rule would allow many of the offenders to return home.[3] Ironically, the camp was under further scrutiny for being within the forbidden area; a city park on an island in Biscayne Bay caused questions about the Julia Tuttle Causeway colony’s itself being in violation of the sex offender laws.[3]
Local clergyman Vincent Spann likened the camp to a Biblical leper colony and offered to house the sex offenders in a manner similar to that which he employed to treat those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. He predicted it would cost more than a million dollars a year.[6] In September 2009, a judge responding to the lawsuit filed by the ACLU ruled that the City of Miami was allowed to set its own ordinances. The ACLU promised to appeal the decision. As of 2009 Miami was facing other lawsuits about moving the sex offenders.[7] In February 2010 Miami-Dade County passed a new ordinance that still prevented sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools but only forbade them from living within 1,000 feet of places such as parks and daycares. The county also made this ordinance effective throughout the whole county and declared any stricter ordinances passed by other Miami-Dade cities to be superseded and repealed. With this new county ordinance, various pockets of the county were now legal for sex offenders to live in, and most, but not all, of the sex offenders ceased to be homeless. Previously, the sex offenders had been banned in most parts of the county from living within 2,500 feet of schools, daycare centers, parks, and in some places even school bus stops. To this day,[when?] however, the problem continues.
Throughout the camp’s existence, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, an organization tasked by the county to help end street homelessness in Miami-Dade County, had been working to find permanent housing for all of the sex offenders living under the bridge. The trust is chaired by Ron Book, the lobbyist who helped write and pass into law the 2,500-foot restriction, prompted by the abuse of his daughter at the hands of a hired caretaker. On April 15, 2010, the Trust moved the last of the sex offenders living under the bridge into other housing. However, further protest from nearby communities ensued. Several former residents of the encampment were evicted from a Miami hotel in late April 2010.[8][9]
In November 2011, the Miami Herald reported on the fate of the former Julia Tuttle Causeway colony, which former residents nicknamed “Bookville”. Analysts studying the colony unanimously agreed on two relevant issues: the inability to find a stable home for offenders increased the risk that they would re-offend, and the close proximity of offenders to schools or parks did not increase the possibility that past offenders would re-offend. Despite these findings, Book solicited for and applied federal stimulus money to buy short-term stays for offenders, eventually costing US$1,000 a month which, as noted by the Herald, would have been unnecessary without the more stringent law that Book championed. This is incorrect according to David Raymond, former executive director of the Homeless Trust: federal Stimulus funds were never utilized for this population in Miami-Dade County; the funds used were from the local Homeless Food & Beverage Tax. Rent subsidies, along with job placement services and case management, were provided for up to six months.
Residents of Miami’s Shorecrest neighborhood protested about the 13 sex offenders who had relocated there. Book placed another 43 offenders in a trailer park also housing many children. Book forewarned that the stimulus funds for housing the sex offenders would run out. The Herald reported that out of 1,960 sex offenders who had registered to live in Miami-Dade, 256 stopped reporting their locations to authorities.[10]
Throughout 2013 and 2014, evidence began to reach the news media that there was still a problem of homelessness amongst Miami-Dade sex offenders, despite the county’s relaxation of the residency restrictions. Almost all of the Julia Tuttle Causeway residents found homes immediately after the camp was cleared, but many were once again homeless.[11] A hotel that once housed many of the Causeway’s former residents ended up evicting all sex offenders from the hotel after one was arrested for re-offending.[citation needed] Ron Book later found housing for many sex offenders in a trailer park. However, Book himself evicted the sex offenders from the trailer park after deciding that a nearby youth shelter was legally considered a school.[12] Miami City Commissioner Mark Sarnoff has criticized the problem of homeless sex offenders in the county. However, Sarnoff himself has built miniature “pocket parks” in order to prevent sex offenders from being able to move into the Little River area of Miami, which Sarnoff represents.[citation needed] Now, many of the homeless sex offenders are sleeping on railroad tracks (although most have homes during the day since the Miami-Dade residency restriction only applies from 10 pm to 6 am.) In October 2014, the ACLU announced plans to again sue the county over the residency restrictions. A similar lawsuit by the ACLU against Miami-Dade County failed in the 2009 case Exile v. Miami-Dade County, when it was ruled that Florida law does not prevent localities from enacting stricter sex offender residency restrictions. (This is contrary to a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that invalidated local sex offender ordinances on those grounds.)

1.

Citations – Jump up ^ Miami sex offenders form outcast colony, UPI (May 3, 2009). Retrieved on July 21, 2009.

2. ^ Jump up to: a b Thompson, Isaiah (February 6, 2008). Homeless Sex Offenders Face Eviction, Miami New Times. Retrieved on July 21, 2009.
3. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Allen, Greg (July 21, 2009) Bridge Still Home For Miami Sex Offenders, National Public Radio. Retrieved on July 21, 2009.
4. ^ Jump up to: a b Knipe, Julie (July 10, 2009). Sex offenders sue over Julia Tuttle bridge colony, The Miami Herald. Retrieved on July 21, 2009.
5. Jump up ^ Zarella, John (2007). Florida housing sex offenders under bridge”, CNN.com. Retrieved on July 21, 2009.
6. Jump up ^ Garcia-Roberts, Gus (April 14, 2009). Pastor Spann’s Master Plan, Miami New Times. Retrieved on July 21, 2009.
7. Jump up ^ Strict Miami-Dade sex-offender law to remain in place The Miami Herald (September 18, 2009). Retrieved on September 18, 2009.
8. Jump up ^ Valdemoro, Tania (April 25, 2010). “Shorecrest residents unhappy about relocation of sex offenders – Sex offenders? Not in my backyard, Miami residents tell their mayor and other city officials”, The Miami Herald, Shorecrest.
9. Jump up ^ Lebovick, Jennifer; Beasley, Adam (April 20, 2010). “Hotel evicts sex offenders”, The Miami Herald, p. 3B.
10. Jump up ^ Jonas, Valerie and Bradley, Walter (November 5, 2011). “The end of ‘Bookville’ homeless camp under the Tuttle?” Miami Herald. Retrieved on November 5, 2011.
11. Jump up ^ http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/10/23/3583307/in-miami-dade-sex-offenders-are-relegated-to-outdoor-encampments/
12. Jump up ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article3329717.html, retrieved July 13, 2016.
13. Jump up ^ German Documentary, “Reportage” Arte GEIE 2010
14. Jump up ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P8JGFMdREs&list=PLE2FABE27A178ECC7&index=1copyright ARTE GEIE 2010
15. Jump up ^ http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/407/the-bridge

PD Editorial: Sex offenders who are homeless are the greater risk

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PD Editorial: Sex offenders who are homeless are the greater risk

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD August 1, 2017

The California Supreme Court made the right call in 2015 when it struck down the most onerous provisions of Proposition 83, known as Jessica’s Law, which prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park or school — essentially banning them from finding housing in most cities and suburbs.

In so doing, the measure also kept them away from drug and alcohol treatment facilities, counseling, family and support groups as well as limited their ability to connect with parole officers. A study conducted not long after the measure was approved in 2006 found that more than 70 percent of registered sex offenders in San Diego County were already violating the provisions of the law and had to move. Many did and are still moving. Studies have found that since then, the number of homeless sex offenders in California have more than tripled.

The hope was that after the state Supreme Court lifted the restrictions, the numbers of homeless sex offenders would decline. But that has not been the case. A study found that as of last month, there were 6,329 homeless sex offenders on the California Justice Department’s sex offender registry. That is only about 100 fewer than there were in early 2015.

Homeless registered sex offenders are a far greater risk than those who have been able to transition back into community life, find stable homes and jobs near family connections. This was shown in a study last year by the California Justice Department that found that transient offenders were several times more likely to commit new sex crimes. Homeless sex offenders who are still on parole account for one-third of all new sex arrests although, for the time being, they only account for roughly 6 percent of registered California sex offenders.

But trying to reduce the number of homeless registered sex offenders won’t be easy, and it likely will require greater reforms to the state’s severe — and sometimes lifelong — restrictions on sex offenders.

Proposition 83 requires registered sex offenders who have been convicted of a felony sex offense to be monitored by GPS devices while on parole and for the remainder of their lives. Studies show such harsh restrictions make it very difficult for such offenders to adjust to life outside of prison.

Let’s keep in mind that Proposition 83 was named after 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford who was the victim of a convicted sex offender who had failed to report his whereabouts. When offenders lack permanent housing and stability, they are harder for law enforcement officers to track and more prone to violate the terms of their release.

Let’s also remember that while Jessica’s Law limited where registered sex offenders can live, it doesn’t restrict where they can spend their time during the day. Overall, California would be far better off knowing where sex offenders are than knowing they are out there somewhere — with no place to call home.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/opinion/7253874-181/pd-editorial-sex-offenders-who

Hundreds of Miami Sex Offenders Live in a Squalid Tent City Near Hialeah

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Hundreds of Miami Sex Offenders Live in a Squalid Tent City Near Hialeah

by Florida Action CommitteeAug 8, 2017

Cradling a heavy box of Budweiser against his flour-dusted apron, Mario Medina clicks open the door and greets two waitresses behind the counter at La Cascada, a retro Cuban pizza parlor in Northwest Miami-Dade. Besides the voice of a sports commentator on the TV and sporadic blips from arcade games in the back, the restaurant is quiet, and all five tables are empty. It’s 30 minutes into the lunch rush hour, but only three weary patrons in construction boots sit hunched over glasses of cold beer at the bar.

“Before, we got more than 200 customers every week,” says Medina, La Cascada’s husky, white-mustached 58-year-old manager. “Now it’s 90 at best.” Over the past few months, Medina has lost 40 percent of his regulars, including many families that are afraid to bring their children to the area or to park their cars out front, he says. Though the place used to make about $8,000 every week, it’s now down to $3,000, which must be split among the restaurant’s five employees.

Medina attributes the parlor’s drop in customers to one problem. Less than a block away, pitched along both sides of the road, are 28 camping tents. In them live scores of registered sex offenders.

The encampment is the result of a 2005 county law — much stricter than a similar measure passed by the state ten years earlier — that imposes restrictions on where sexual offenders and predators may live. It eliminated many residential neighborhoods, public housing complexes, and homeless shelters. So the offenders were exiled to live under a Dolphin Expressway overpass, then the Julia Tuttle Causeway, and a spot near the Miami River. In 2014, the colony moved to this block between train tracks in the warehouse district.

No one argues that their crimes, which include everything from sexting with minors on dating apps to raping children, aren’t serious. But critics of the camp consider it an outrage that human beings are forced to live in such horrendous conditions — in some cases, for several years. Although it’s been three years since New Times described the encampment as a sanitation and security nightmare where offenders are forced to defecate in public with no running water, occupants say it has only increased in density. Dozens of sex offenders now live there in donated tents, while an additional 20 to 40 drive in before dusk for curfew and sleep overnight in their cars. Residents and local business owners have filed complaints, yet county officials and local police departments have failed to act in any meaningful way.

“They’re there all day every day,” says Mary Grafton, whose family owns a custom furniture factory two blocks from the camp. “It’s affecting our business, but we’re at a loss of what to do.” Grafton and other business owners have filed complaints with the police and county commission, but she says the response is always the same: “Our hands are tied.”

See more photos of life in the sex offender tent city near Hialeah. Photo by Isabella Gomes

Initially, a 1995 state law prohibited offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers, and playgrounds. Then, in 2005, a child-molesting drifter raped and murdered a 9-year-old 340 miles away in Homosassa, Florida. David Dermer, then mayor of Miami Beach, proposed an ordinance that increased the residency restriction to 2,500 feet, effectively making the entire city off-limits when it passed. Fearing that sex offenders would simply migrate from the Beach to the mainland, Miami-Dade commissioners a couple of months later unanimously agreed to extend the county’s distance to 2,500 feet as well.

“Now they put an ankle monitor and say to stay here. There’s no logic. He can’t even walk!” For years, sex offenders struggled to find addresses that satisfied the harsh countywide ordinance. Even when they found a place, they were often evicted and relocated once a new school was built in their vicinity. By 2014, probation officers called the warehouse district in North Miami-Dade one of the last few places in the county where sex offenders could live. Since then, many have reluctantly called it home.

According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, 233 sex offenders are registered to the area of NW 71st Street and NW 36th Court. Eighty-eight are on probation with ankle monitors tracing their movement.

The area, which straddles the boundary between Hialeah and Liberty City, has no outhouse, so offenders squat outdoors behind an orange Schneider shipping container to defecate. The smell is rank in the summer heat. Without an active sewer line, muddy drainage collects along the curb, mixing with debris and waste. Local businesses have removed knobs from outdoor water spigots, and the only public bathroom is in a Walmart one mile away.

Though a Key Biscayne church group delivers hot meals, water, and snacks Tuesday evenings, it’s merely a Band-Aid on a festering wound.
Summer storms flood the encampment daily. Though most tents are mounted on plastic and wooden platforms, everything is constantly soaked. Brett Borges, a 49-year-old from Hollywood, shows the ripped seams on his tent. An entire side has been duct-taped several times. As he pulls out a green camo sleeping bag, water and sand fall from the fabric. “Every time it rains, we get flies and mosquitoes,” he says. “It’s ripe for disease… Animals live better than this.”
In 2014, Borges, then 46 years old, solicited nude photos and requested sex from an undercover cop posing as a 15-year-old boy on Grindr, a gay social networking app. At the time, he was making $1,200 a week as a senior sales clerk for Kraft Foods. After traveling to meet the minor at a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Borges was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Released this past February, he says, “This was my first offense. I’ve never even gotten a parking ticket.”
From morning to night, truck drivers passing the sleeping tent inhabitants taunt and honk their horns. Because offenders’ addresses are listed in the public registry, living on the streets has involved never-ending harassment and peril, Borges says: “We’ve had bottles and eggs thrown at us.”
https://floridaactioncommittee.org/hundreds-miami-sex-offenders-live-squalid-tent-city-near-hialeah/
For The Entire Article Visit The Above Web Site

Jacob Wetterling Resource Center: We Spend Too Much Money Watching Sex Offenders

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Jacob Wetterling Resource Center: We Spend Too Much Money Watching Sex Offenders

Jacob Wetterling Resource Center May 25, 2017 10:34 PM

Thursday was National Missing Children’s Day, a day meant to highlight the problem of child abduction.

And while there have been advancements in laws and technology to keep children safe and help families, an organization known for protecting kids thinks says we spend too much money in at least one area.

“There is huge hysteria around released sex offenders when they are not usually the problem,” said Alison Feigh, the program director at the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center

Feigh said children are harmed most often by people they know, trust and have access to – not convicted sex offenders.

According to the Department of Corrections, 5.3 percent of level-three sex offenders re-offend. Ninety percent of convicted sex offenders are first-time offenders.

“And if we can support them in their ability to not hurt kids, we’re all going to be better off” Feigh said. “As opposed to turning up the heat when they move in and creating this cauldron of fear.”

Feigh thinks people get emotional about sex offenders. “And I get why people jump to that idea of ‘Not in my backyard,’ because no one wants to think about it,” she said. “But our kids aren’t better off when we do that.” She believes society is stuck on the idea that when a sex offender is released from jail and we know where they are, our kids must be safe.

But she said there are sex offenders in every community and we don’t know where they are. So we need to focus on prevention. “We need to use our resources differently,” she said. “And it shouldn’t be all-in on using resources to watch sex offenders.”

The problem, according to Feigh, is prevention efforts don’t get a lot of money. “We have so few resources in prevention; we want to use our resources on things that work,” she said

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center trains law enforcement, parents and medical and education professionals how to spot suspicious behavior, and when to intervene to protect kids.

“It’s a complicated issue” Feigh said. “I’m never going to go up in front of people and guarantee someone’s not going to re-offend. But how can we increase everybody’s chances and get on board in prevention in a way that best serves kids?”

In the future, Feigh hopes prevention will get the same money as punishment. But laws, policies and attitudes need to change for that to happen.
The goal of Jacob Wetterling Resource Center’s prevention work is to get ahead of abusive behaviors that may lead to offending. Parents can contact the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center in Minnesota at 1-651-714-4673.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is another resource to help families of missing and exploited children. To reach Team Hope, call 1-866-305-4673. To contact NCMEC, call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Credits: Kevin Doran – Updated: May 25, 2017 10:34 PM – Created: May 25, 2017 05:53 PM
http://www.kaaltv.com/article/stories/S4495952.shtml?cat=10728

Law and Order: Hundreds of Missouri sex offenders now required to wear GPS monitoring devices for life

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Hundreds of Missouri sex offenders now required to wear GPS monitoring devices for life

By Jesse Bogan St. Louis Post-Dispatch 05/16/17

ST. LOUIS • A sex offender from St. Charles County thought he had moved on with his life after successfully completing five years of probation for sending webcam photographs of his genitals to an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Now he’s among hundreds of people in Missouri who are learning they must attach GPS monitoring systems to their ankles for life, even though such a requirement wasn’t part of their sentencing agreement.

The devices send out alerts if an offender lingers near a school or a park. Cut the wide black strap and the waterproof device will tell on them.
It beeps to prompt a verbal command from state officials, say to make a payment or report to probation officers immediately.

The retroactive requirements are part of a revised state criminal code that went into effect Jan. 1. Offenders either found guilty or who pleaded guilty to 13 various sex crimes in question based on an act committed on or after Aug. 28, 2006, are subject to the added security measures. Previously, the monitoring technology was used for a more limited class of high-risk offenders.

The St. Charles man is among several sex offenders who are suing and challenging the state. In the lawsuit, in which he is named only as D.G., the 40-year-old argues that the law didn’t exist when he pleaded guilty. He claims he’s no longer “legally subject” to the jurisdiction of state prison authorities.

He argues that he shouldn’t be required to pay monthly supervision fees for decades, nor have travel or residency restricted for life.

“I don’t think a lawyer can make a straight-faced argument that it’s constitutional,” said Clayton-based attorney Matt Fry, who is suing the state on behalf of D.G. and has many other plaintiffs in the wings.

A March 29 “Dear Sir/Madam” letter from chief state supervisor Julie Kempker lays out the law, including threat of a class D felony if conditions are violated.

He called it a “quality-of-life” measure.

“We understand that this change may be unexpected,” Kempker said in the letter. “Rather than being detracted by the lifetime supervision requirements, you are encouraged to remain focused on your daily supervision responsibilities and to do those things that improve your life and positively impact your family and the community in which you live.”

Many sex offenders panicked and started calling lawyers. Some are confused: for instance, those no longer on supervision who moved away from Missouri.

A 41-year-old sex offender from south St. Louis County said he sees the changes as unlawful, too costly and ineffective.
“Lifetime. For the rest of your life. I can’t even comprehend it,” said the man, who didn’t want to be identified to avoid bringing more unwanted attention to himself.
According to court records, he pleaded guilty in 2012 to first-degree child molestation for touching the genitalia of a friend’s 7-year-old daughter.
The first-time offender was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He spent four months behind bars before he was let out to undergo treatment in the community.
So long as he did well, he’d be done with state supervision after five years on probation, not including registering as a sex offender for life. But during a monthly visit to his probation officer in April, he found out about being subject to the added layer of oversight.
To See the Full Story the web site is provided
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/requirement-to-wear-ankle-monitors-for-life-catches-hundreds-of/article_2f21d6bb-1dc2-5395-9513-016fc05ae333.html

Colorado’s pricey polygraph testing of sex offenders under fire as critics target accuracy, expense

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Colorado’s pricey polygraph testing of sex offenders under fire as critics target accuracy, expense

By Christopher N. OsherThe Denver Post PUBLISHED: May 14, 2017 at 12:01 am

Psychologist calls state’s $5 million polygraph program “grossly excessive” as state legislature examines cost

Colorado has spent more than $5 million to administer polygraphs on convicted sex offenders over the last seven years despite concerns that the tests are so unreliable they can’t be used as evidence during civil or criminal trials.

Polygraphs help officials decide which prisoners convicted of sex offenses are suited for release from prison by probing their sexual history, attitudes about their crimes and whether they are committing new offenses. They also guide how offenders on parole or probation are supervised.

“The polygraph really gives useful information,” said Lenny Woodson, administrator for the Colorado Department of Corrections’ Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program. “And we’ve made it clear in our standards that it isn’t to be used in isolation. We’re using as many avenues as possible to make treatment decisions.”

But a bipartisan cross-section of legislators and a retired judge have joined with offenders and their families to question the validity of the tests. They contend too much weight is placed on what they argue is little more than junk science. Flawed polygraphs can complicate efforts for low-risk sex offenders to get paroled and lead to new restrictions for parolees or probationers, critics say. Failure to take the tests can lead to sanctions, including eventual revocation to prison.

Studies show that up to 70 percent of U.S. states polygraph sex offenders, but experts have testified that Colorado uses the tests aggressively, even polygraphing juvenile offenders for consensual sexting. Critics contend an entrenched and profitable cottage industry, rife with conflicts of interests, has grown up around polygraphing sex offenders in Colorado.

“To me, there is no question that it borders on a scam,” said Senate President pro tem Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling. “We incentivize the people who give the polygraph tests to have inconclusive results so an offender has to go back and pay for another one on a more regular basis.”

Colorado’s polygraphing is “grossly excessive,” said Deirdre D’Orazio, a psychologist who serves as an expert on a high-risk sex-offender task force in California, during testimony in federal court in Denver in 2015. D’Orazio led a team of consultants that issued a report for the Colorado department of corrections in 2013 blasting how it manages sex offenders and how it uses polygraphs.

She returned to the state to testify for Howard Alt, then 51, who a decade earlier was convicted for having sex with a 15-year-old girl and possessing nude computer images of teenage girls.

After his release from prison, Alt had taken 28 polygraphs, often with competing results. The treatment provider that tested Alt had a “fiduciary incentive conflict” to fail him, D’Orazio said. The firm was “making money on outcomes that are not in the offender client’s favor” by requiring him to pay for more tests and treatment, she said.

A deceptive finding on one sex-history polygraph had prompted supervision officials to bar Alt, a former software developer, from accepting a job that would raise his salary from $60,000 to $200,000 annually. Months later, the polygrapher found Alt to be truthful on the same questions even though he did not change his answers, showing the sanction against him was unwarranted, D’Orazio said.

“It is not a scientifically valid procedure,” D’Orazio testified. “It has a high false-positive rate, which means misclassifying people who are telling the truth as being deceitful. So there is a lot of controversy about using the polygraph in high-stakes decisions.”
Even Alt’s supervised-release officer said he had worked hard to learn from his past crimes. He was contrite after serving six years in prison. He was free of new transgressions, with tracking software on his computer monitoring his compliance. He had re-established relationships with his former wife and his daughter, according to testimony.
For the Rest of the Story please go to the website.
http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/14/colorado-does-not-require-polygraph-testing-of-most-parolees-but-sex-offenders-get-different-treatment/

Dr. Marty Klein: Changing the Way People, Politics & the Media Look at Sex

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Changing the Way People, Politics & the Media Look at Sex

Dr. Marty Klein April 01, 2017

Yesterday, Callahan Walsh of NCMEC—The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—appeared on Good Morning America to urge parents to stop using the phrase “stranger danger”—the phrase that NCMEC itself popularized for decades. They rightly noted—finally—that most child sexual exploitation is from someone known to the child, not a stranger.

For decades, NCMEC has told parents to fear “stranger danger,” and instructed them to transmit this fear to their kids. They even got the phrase institutionalized in elementary schools.

NCMEC has been one of the single biggest drivers of parents’ fear in our lifetime. By conflating “missing” and “exploited,” they have panicked Americans into thinking the average child is “at risk” of being kidnapped. By talking about “children” they conflate the experiences of five-year-olds and 17-year-olds. According to their own website, over 90% of “missing” teens are not “missing,” they have run away. Some are no doubt living on the street and risking their health and lives, but they have not been kidnapped. In fact, over 3/4 of runaways are running away from institutions like foster homes and other social services.

NCMEC is driving the issue of sex trafficking as hard as it can. By expanding the definition of “sex trafficking” to include every sex worker, porn actress, and minor person having sex with an adult, they have successfully convinced Americans that huge numbers of Americans are sex trafficked. It’s a lie.

NCMEC can’t document even a half-dozen cases of women forced to act in porn, but they’ve planted the idea that porn actresses are trafficked. Outside porn studios in L.A., women are lined up, begging for the chance to act in their films. Trafficked? The industry doesn’t need to traffic anyone. They never, ever knowingly employ minors, and they haven’t been fooled in decades.

NCMEC’s position on cybersex and cybercrime is a disaster. As the internet grew, NCMEC’s warnings about internet predators grew. NCMEC champions government stings in adult chatrooms where adults roleplay age games, pursuing adults for thought crimes that harm no one. Obviously, actual child molesters don’t look for kids in adult chatrooms. And there’s no science that shows that adults who play age games with other adults molest children. But frightening parents about internet predators is where the money is—and that’s always where you’ll find NCMEC.

NCMEC also champions Amber Alert, an enormous waste of money and criminal justice resources that could be used far more effectively. Its main accomplishment is to terrifying parents. Similarly, NCMEC favors punitive, counter-productive sex offender laws and registries—which includes putting children on these registries when they mistreat (“molest”) their peers.

Created by a few agonized people who had been devastated by violence against their children, NCMEC’s initial shocking message was (and still is) “you could be us,” creating an atmosphere of fear, rage, and moral panic completely disproportionate to the actual danger. Yesterday on TV, they encouraged parents to ignore what they used to say, and to use different, more sophisticated words. But their fundamental message—that parents should be scared, that predators lurk everywhere—remains the same.

In revoking their position on “stranger danger,” NCMEC still doesn’t tell the key truth—that the rate of kids being molested is NOT increasing (so says the FBI). And while even a single missing child is too many, it isn’t even a fraction as many as NCMEC invites you to believe.

How many kids are kidnapped each year—150,000? 50,000? The fine print on NCMEC’s own website says the number is less than 1,400—of which over 1,000 are abductions by the child’s own family member. There are less than 200 stranger kidnappings in the U.S. every year. Your kid is more likely to get killed by lightning.

And yet by manipulating and reinforcing our deepest fears, NCMEC has entrenched itself as a political player getting significant government funding.

So good riddance to the fear of “stranger danger.” But don’t hold your breath waiting for NCMEC to apologize. Perhaps they could atone by encouraging parents to pay attention to the biggest danger that kids actually face—texting while riding their bikes.

Please Click or copy http://www.martyklein.com/ncmec-hypocrisy-stranger-danger/

“If He’s Got a Pecker, Run Like Hecker!” Good Morning America’s Hypocritical Advice About Stranger Danger

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“If He’s Got a Pecker, Run Like Hecker!” Good Morning America’s Hypocritical Advice About Stranger Danger”

Free Range Kids By Lenore Skenazy April 04, 2017; 12:15pm

Last week a spokesman for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children went on Good Morning America and told us to stop teaching our kids “Stranger Danger,” despite having rammed that fear down our throats for over a generation — a point I discussed in this post.

To demonstrate how important it is that children learn to approach a stranger for help, in case they ever need it, Good Morning America and the spokesman, Callahan Walsh (John Walsh’s son) staged a bizarre little experiment. They dressed a school stage like an abstract minimalist grocery store and then asked a gaggle of children who they’d ask for help if they were shopping with their mom and suddenly couldn’t find her. Would they ask:

a) A mom with a baby? b) A security guard with a badge? c) The checkout lady, also with a badge? Or — d) A guy.

Of course the children were encouraged to talk to everyone EXCEPT the guy…I guess on the very likely chance that any man in a grocery store will stop shopping for Doritos and steal a lost child, given half a chance. The instructions boiled down to this:

The paper notes that these laws have proliferated — “[a]t least 30 states and hundreds of cities” have them — because of some basic misunderstandings about how sex crimes are committed. There’s a collective American fixation on the creepy image of a sex offender salivating just beyond the playground fence, but that’s just not how things usually work. The guard, mother and clerk all had identifiable markers that signify a safe adult — including a badge, a baby and a name tag, according to Walsh. In a dire situation, a child should feel empowered to reach out to any of these strangers who possess the markers that signify they can be trusted for help.

Somehow wearing a badge or being female makes people good. But a man, even one just minding his own business, is simply not to be trusted, even if the kid is in a “dire” situation. So maybe the new slogan should be: “See a guy/Run and cry.” Or, “If he’s got balls/Jump the walls!” Or, “He’s got a penis?/Those are the meanest!” Feel free to supply your own mnemonic device.

Please Click the Title for the rest of the story or copy and paste http://www.freerangekids.com/if-hes-got-a-pecker-run-like-hecker-how-they-replaced-stranger-danger-on-good-morning-america/

There’s Literally No Evidence That Restricting Where Sex Offenders Can Live Accomplishes Anything

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There’s Literally No Evidence That Restricting Where Sex Offenders Can Live Accomplishes Anything

By Jesse Singal August 25, 2014; 12:15pm

On Thursday, Joseph Goldstein of the New York Times reported that “Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York State are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that governs where they can live.” In short, since 2005, sex offenders in the state can’t live within 1,000 feet of a school, and a February ruling from the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision extended that restriction to homeless shelters.

Because the onus is on sex offenders to find approved housing before they’re released, Goldstein reported, they’ve been left with very few options, especially in densely-populated New York City, where there are schools everywhere. This has led to an uncomfortable legal limbo and sparked at least one lawsuit (so far) on behalf of an offender who is still in custody even though he was supposed to be out by now.

The unfortunate thing about this situation is that laws designed to restrict where sex offenders can live are really and truly useless, except as a means of politicians scoring easy political points by ratcheting up hysteria. There are many tricky social-scientific issues on which there are a range of opinions and some degree of debate among experts, but this isn’t one of them. Among those whose job it is to figure out how to reduce the rate at which sex offenders commit crimes (as opposed to those whose job it is to get reelected, in part by hammering away at phantom threats), there is zero controversy: These laws don’t work, and may actually increase sexual offenders’ recidivism rates.

Maia Christopher, head of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, sent Science of Us a policy paper her organization has prepared on this issue (it’s not yet online, but should be later this week). ATSA’s views on housing restrictions for sex offenders are completely straightforward: the group “does not support the use of residence restrictions as a feasible strategy for sex offender management” because of a lack of evidence they do any good.

The paper notes that these laws have proliferated — “[a]t least 30 states and hundreds of cities” have them — because of some basic misunderstandings about how sex crimes are committed. There’s a collective American fixation on the creepy image of a sex offender salivating just beyond the playground fence, but that’s just not how things usually work.

Rather, these crimes are generally committed by someone known to the victim — 93 percent of the time when it comes to child victims, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics — and the majority take place either in the victim’s home or the home of someone they know. “Therefore,” the authors write, “policies based on ‘stranger danger’ do not adequately address the reality of sexual abuse.”

Please Click the Title for the rest of the story.

Should sex offenders be allowed to use Facebook? Supreme Court will decide

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Should sex offenders be allowed to use Facebook? Supreme Court will decide

Jordan Rudner, Washington Correspondent 12/10/16

WASHINGTON — Like tens of thousands of other Texans on the sex offender registry, Andrew, who lives in Dallas, is legally barred from using the vast majority of social media websites, including Facebook and Snapchat.

Every state places different restrictions on the rights of convicted sex offenders, limiting where they’re allowed to live, travel and work. And several, including Texas, also severely limit the websites that sex offenders are allowed to visit.

But on Monday, lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that such blanket bans may be a violation of their right to free speech.

Andrew, who was arrested for possession of child pornography in 2004, spent 10 years in federal prison. He’s still on parole today, his keystrokes and clicks are constantly monitored, and he isn’t allowed to own a smartphone. He knows his story isn’t a particularly sympathetic one.

“My choice cost me everything,” said Andrew, who agreed to discuss his case if he were referred to by his middle name only. “But it isn’t a sob story, it’s just a fact. I know I did this to myself.”

Since his arrest, Andrew’s wife has left him. Of his three children, only one will speak to him. He had to seek special permission from the court to activate a LinkedIn profile so that he could find another job, and he describes his boss as “probably my only friend.”

So he wishes he could rejoin Facebook, if only to temper his isolation. Unlike sex offenders, perpetrators of violence, kidnapping and even murder are still allowed on social media, he noted.

“I’ve been through treatment, I’ve paid my dues,” he said. “I’m no danger to anyone.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who co-signed a brief in support of the North Carolina law now before the Supreme Court, disagrees. In the brief, Paxton and 12 other attorneys general argued that laws restricting the use of social media by sex offenders is a “practical solution to a practical problem.”

“The problem is that social media is a dangerous place for children and that registered sex offenders disproportionately commit additional sex crimes online,” the brief read.

For The Full Story Click On Title or Copy and past http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2017/02/27/sex-offenders-allowed-use-facebook-supreme-court-will-decide.