Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sex offenders law is backfiring, driving them underground

What did I tell you?

What are we going to do about sex offenders? While the hearts of Lt. Gov. Steve Pence and his task force were in the right place in trying to protect the public, what has happened in reality is the opposite.

The change in Kentucky's law has totally eliminated most social service agencies willing to work with offenders, because of the strict boundaries of where offenders may be housed or served.

House Bill 3 added the restriction of 1,000 feet from parks, as well as child care centers. There are 123 Metro Louisville parks and 17 more from Shively to St. Matthews.

Metro Parks alone encompass over 14,000 acres, and as the Mayor continues his vision to add even more parks and green space, sex offenders will be constantly moving in order to maintain the appropriate distance.

Some have had to move from permanent supported housing units, private apartments and even their own homes in order to meet the law's restrictions.

In 1994, Megan's Law was passed to keep the public informed of the whereabouts of sex offenders, but since housing options are so limited, there are few substance-abuse programs, shelters, mental health facilities or prison re-entry programs available to them.

Instead of knowing where the offenders are residing, new laws such as House Bill 3 are in essence driving them underground, and no one is really sure where they are living.

If an offender wants to seek help, it is almost impossible to serve him/her in Metro Louisville. Lack of services to help ex-offenders maintain stability only increases the likelihood the person may violate the law and be rearrested. ...

But all that's okay if the Mayor gets re-elected.


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