Monday, January 29, 2007

We Know How to Do It . . .

. . . so why don't we? Two excellent items today on how to deal with sex offenders in an effective public safety way (aka "not the way we do it"). Corey Yung at Sex Crimes Blog has an SSRN article that should serve as the foundation for any serious policy. From his abstract, words of nothing but wisdom:

. . . the best policy alternative for tailoring sex offender policy to the nature of the problem includes a move to individualization in sex offender sentencing; provisions for judges to have full access to relevant clinical, actuarial, and social science data about sex offenders; and allowing judges a full menu of sentencing options. These reforms will avoid the worst effects of residency restriction approaches while being substantially more effective in the fight against sex crimes.

And in WI, they're glomming onto the problems and haste associated with residency restrictions for offenders, popular in too many state towns there right now. The representative quoted is a sentencing commissioner there, a really good guy, former law enforcement, solid old school Republican, once again talking sense. Hopefully more people will listen to him than his commission colleagues did. The really good part of the article, though, is that someone FINALLY has bothered to contact Kim English in CO, one of the very best we have on sex offender policy in this country, to get her to weigh in. Once again, words of wisdom:

"If these ordinances worked, I'd be all for them," said Kim English, a national expert on managing sex offenders and director of the office of research and statistics for the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice. "They are emotionally based and not based on any of the evidence of what works and what doesn't. The best protection we can have is to know where they are at and who they are hanging around with." . . .

English, of the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, said two unintended results of the Iowa law have been that more offenders are failing to comply with offender registry requirements and an increasing number are homeless, dangerous developments that make it difficult - if not impossible - to keep track of the offenders.

According to the Wisconsin registry, authorities have lost track of 26 sex offenders, and 33 others had failed to register but were eventually located by authorities.

The ideal situation is for offenders to be in a stable home, be required to receive treatment and to work, English said.

I always try to give Kim the last word.

No comments: