Mike Cernovich has added another thought-provoking post at Crime & Federalsim, on the topic of residency restrictions for sexual offenders. He asks whether we’re creating a new kind of leper colony. (There’s a thoughtful comment by Nebraska attorney Maren Chaloupka. ) I wonder where such “colonies” will be allowed to exist — or, is this an economic development opportunity for enterprising communities? (Around my neck of the woods, it will definitely not be the prosperous Albany, NY, suburb of Colonie seeking such status, despite its having a few remaining trailer park communities).
In Albany, some activists and politicians don’t want sexual offenders living near parks. This week, Albany County Legislator Dan McCoy says: “You can live wherever you want in this great country, but they choose to live next to schools and parks. For what reasons?”
How about cheap motels? A newscast on February 4, 2005 from CapitalNews9 in Albany, started with the words “Just down the road from the Malta Community Center and HighPointe development, four Level 3 sex offenders are living at the Shamrock Motel, leaving residents uneasy and concerned.” Six days later, News9 reported “A spokesman for the motel said . . . the motel’s policy would be changed to prevent any Level 3 offenders from staying there again.” If ex-con sex offenders can’t stay at crummy motels, just where are they supposed to live?
Dr. Richard Hamill, a clincial and forensic psycholgist (with whom I worked as a Law Guardian in child sex abuse cases), is President of the NYS Alliance of Sex Offender Services. He’s quoted in last Sunday’s Schenectady [NY] Gazette (April 24 2005, “Consequences stem from sex offender registry,” $ub. req’d) saying:
– “If a child is sexually assaulted, the person is more likely to be someone not on the registry than on the registry. . . .”
– “A sex offender who is at lower risk of offending is one who has a full-time job, is stable in the community and has a circle of friends with support.”
In the same article, Prof. Jill Levenson, a board member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual of Abusers, is quoted:
- “Sometimes good politics makes bad policy. Good social policy needs to be well
thought-out and based on research information so that it can be cost effective.” . . .
- “Eighty to 90 percent [of children] are molested by someone their family knows and
There aren’t any easy answers and we shouldn’t let politicians or noisy activists (or vigilantes) say there are. If I wanted to protect the kids in my neighborhood from a real, everyday threat to their safety, I’d be trying to get folks with vehicular moving violations as far away as possible. [Prof. Douglas Berman has put together a list of his prior posts on sexual offender sentencing, and promises to write soon on the Doe case and "what seems to be an ever-growing 'sex offender panic'."] update (April 30, 2005): Cernovich has posted on the legal issues raised by Doe v. Miller.
train toward Baltimore
the setting sun
jumps the tracks
in the midnight meadow:
my sleepfilled eyes
through the tunnel