Thursday, July 7, 2011

Potential L3SO Reforms Likely Tabled for 2011 (Thanks, Government Shutdown)

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photo from the Johnny Northside blog.

Today on Johnny Northside, the lead post is of a sex offender who removed his monitoring device and is a wanted fugitive.  Four months ago, the Minnesota Auditor's department released a report about how flawed our sex offender treatment program is.  As part of that report, a sex offender task force was recommended.  (or click here for the bill, which is now languishing in the Senate)  Thanks to our government shutdown, this bill probably won't be considered in a special session, meaning that we'll have to pressure our legislators to bring it forward again next year.

The sex offender task force would examine a multitude of issues, and the legislation leaves an opening to add more items for review.  But one issue NOT mentioned in the proposal is...

...the high concentration of sex offenders in neighborhoods such as north Minneapolis, especially the 55411 zip code.

For example, counties get to decide which offenders are civilly committed after their prison term.  In Hennepin and Ramsey counties, about 35% of offenders are committed.  Throughout the rest of Minnesota, it's roughly twice that number.  Some offenders who are released have a higher recidivism rate than those who are committed, meaning that the counties 1) are not making consistent decisions, and 2) aren't even making inconsistent decisions that benefit our community.

The Sex Offender Issues blog has an excellent post detailing this problem in an even-handed way.  The post cites the specific law about concentration of sex offenders:

“The agency responsible for the offender’s supervision shall take into consideration the proximity of the offender’s residence to that of other level III offenders and proximity to schools and, to the greatest extent feasible, shall mitigate the concentration of level III offenders and concentration of level III offenders near schools.”

There are 229 level three sex offenders in Minnesota, with 107 of those living in Hennepin County.  102 of them live in Minneapolis, with 50 in north Minneapolis - 24 in one zip code.  That zip code has more L3SO's than the entirety of St. Paul.  In the short term, there may not be much to be done that can reduce this number.  But folks should call their city council member and make it clear that the L3SO issue should be part of the city's 2012 legislative agenda.  And when the task force does finally get created, north Minneapolis deserves several things:  a spot at the table for making recommendations and decisions, a consistent statewide approach to supervised release vs. civil commitment, and a promise that the concentration of offenders is properly addressed.

9 comments:

  1. I've called the Folwell Assoc. and Barb's office about this, and do you think they give a shit? They make YOU sound like the bad and intolerant guy. "'Oh, L3SOs rarely cause problems... they're residents too." The thing that our elected bobble-heads consistently fail to realize is the fact that L3SOs and thugs may be the only goddamn groups of people left in Nomi after the economy picks back up. How is Nomi going to attract and re-fucking-tain folks who actually make a good amount of money (I should say, actually make money) other than slum-lords? I'm getting fucking tired of it and the fucks who are allegedly "in-charge" around here. Nomi will continue to be a fucking ghetto trash piece of shit neighborhood until people with REAL EARNED money move here. I know money isn't everything, but it sure makes an impact.

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  2. My position on this is more moderate than a lot of people who have raised their voices in protest (like JNS, NoMi Passenger, Denny Wager, etc). I kind of agree with the statement that they rarely cause problems and I also feel like the issue is sensationalized.

    BUT

    There IS a law about mitigating the over-concentration of sex offenders. In my opinion, that law is there not just to protect people from sexual predators but also to protect communities against the negative perception of a high concentration of sex offenders. In both instances, NoMi is suffering from a failure to fully enforce this law.

    So the fact that L3SO's rarely re-offend is precisely why other communities should take a fair share of them too.

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  3. Statistically that may be true, but it's a contradiction to the very definition on L3SO. I also don't blame other communities for not wanting them either. But, if these primarily Repub. voting areas want to continue to do more with less, and take all of the services away that help mitigate even the possibility of a person becoming a L3SO, they need to step-up to the plate and put their "ideology" to work in their own communities. I know that you have an excellent moderate voice, and that's why I like you. However, people haven't (in my opinion) gotten mad enough, or have made enough noise around here.

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  4. Picture this: the elected officials and staff are sitting around in a meeting and say, "Man, those people sure are moderately raising their voices over there in that neighborhood, we better do something about it."

    Not.

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  5. Is it possible we could relocate families displaced by the storm into the housing currently occupied by these offenders? Perhaps we could force landlords to evict them and bring in homeless renters who have been displaced by the storm.

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  6. What services are in place that prevent the "possibility of a person becoming a L3SO"? If we have these i'd like to ensure more are out there as i've never heard of any L3SO prevention programs. Maybe some sort of screening?

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  7. @Folwell Fox, thanks and agreed. @NoMi Passenger, my approach is that I'd rather be moderate (when moderation IS my view, of course) and well-informed, and I believe my voice carries more weight when I'm not crying wolf at every opportunity. If others decide to be firebrands, that's fine with me too.

    @Anon 10:06, no that's a stupidly illegal idea that would go nowhere even if it were serious.

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  8. Crying wold would be saying there is a problem when there is no problem. You already said in your post that it is a problem and the law is being ignored.

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  9. The stories on various North Minneapolis blogs already show how often these L3S0s go on the lam, get themselves in hot water...

    How is it they "seldom reoffend" when they are so often in fugitive status?

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