Warehousing Sex Offenders

Hartford is home to 10 percent of Connecticut's registered sex offenders, and the city doesn't like it one bit. A recent news story reports that 537 sex offenders live within the city's 18 square mile. With all those sex offenders you'd expect a libidinal tidal wave to overtake the city. Here's the story as reported in the New Haven Advocate: http://newhavenadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=15611.

I am not sure what to make of this reporting, and, am, frankly, disappointed in the Advocate. It simply went surfing on the surface of statistical date without asking what the data meant.

How many of the folks on the list are registered for consensual status offenses such as statutory rape? How many of the folks on the list are present for crimes of violence? The ratio would shed light on whether Hartford residents at risk.

But of course we get no such statistics. A sex offender, is a sex offender, is a sex offender. The same scarlet brush paints them all with the same hysterical exclamation point. And, what's worse, Connecticut just passed a new law requiring enhanced notification of neighbors when an offender takes up residence. Why is it unlawful to cry "fire" in a movie house, but permissible to fan even more dangerous hysteria by screaming "sex offender"?

There are hidden gems in the story. For example, probationers are typically forbidden to live near children. Where, exactly, is such a place to be found in a crowded city? Many sex offenders resort to living in homeless shelters. And if such a shelter cannot be found, or will not take the person in, then the probationer is deemed in violation of the law. I've had clients who slept on factory floors or under a bridge because of their designation as a sex offender. A separate arrest and incarceration follows those with no fixed addresses in some jurisdictions. (I am told, however, that in some states reason prevails: An offender with no place to go can simply list a park bench. I'd like confirmation of this anecdote from someone with specific knowledge.)

The public fears recidivism. Yet we create conditions in which recidivism is encouraged. Studies indicate that the key to avoiding repeat offending is reintegration in the community and elimination of the sort of asocial and anti-social that prompt some folks to deviate from lawful norms.

So what do we do? We crowd sex offenders in what amounts to substandard ghettos, where they huddle with one another, scorned and rejected by a culture whipped into an undiscriminating frenzy. One shelter in Hartford is home to 29 registered offenders. Do you think cramming these poor souls together yields reintegration? Or might it just reinforce deviance?

I am puzzled by the great rush to classify ever more Americans as sex offenders. Until recently, there was no such epidemic of misplaced desire. We are now either criminalizing what has always been present, and creating new outcasts, or there is something astir that yields new levels of deviance as yet unforeseen. Whatever the cause of these new arrests, it is clear that the criminal justice system and social service system is failing.

Several years ago, Connecticut allocated $3 million to create housing for released sex offenders. That money disappeared in a bad economy. But the sex offenders did not. So where are these folks going? Wherever they can.

It's a national disgrace.

Comments: (1)

  • Kudos, Mr. Pattis. You are definitely on a roll,.....
    Kudos, Mr. Pattis. You are definitely on a roll,... a one-man crusade against the inanities and insanities that are par for the course in the corrupt State of CT. There are many books here, for sure.

    Some have been written already, but read by few. Others have yet to be written. We will come to look back on this incomprehensible 'police-state' era with chagrin and embarrassment.
    So many lives destroyed by the State, needlessly; in some cases, without warrant or probable cause. In other cases: evidence planted; the use of 'excessive force'; false and/or illegible police reports, etc. The illegal use of 'confidential police informants', the subornation of perjured testimonies under oath of compromised individuals and police officers by the State's attorneys, endless repeated visits to the courthouse without anything ever being accomplished in the vain hope that the defendant will get disgusted, Fail to Appear--at which point a re-arrest warrant is issued and the defendant goes to jail for 8 months with no charges being filed.
    This is justice?!?
    The 'speedy trial' provision in the Constitution, state and federal, is a meaningless consideration, as it is ignored with impunity regularly by the State, without repercussion (as in my cases).
    If the defendant refuses the plea bargain and insists on going to trial before a 'jury of his peers' in a Constitutional effort to prove his innocence, the State retaliates by 'piling-on' excessive charges, etc. The judges in CT are co-conspirators in this criminal 'justice' Ponzi scheme. After all, those prisons must be kept full-to-overflowing. Crowd them in!?! Violate them. Make them miserable. Yea!
    The State is in the BUSINESS of incarcerating the weakest, the most vulnerable and most indefensible of its citizens. This is a total disgrace and a shame. I myself hereby announce that I am one of many innocent 'victims' of the State's misguided, illegal and unlawful criminal 'justice' practices. We victims are, for the most part, a powerless constituency, as the State removes us from our families, our loved ones, our associates, our neighborhoods and our civil, due-process and 'Constitutional' rights.
    No pro bono attorney, no non-profit organization, and no elected representative will come to our aid. In CT, you only get the justice you can afford. If you cannot afford outrageous attorney's fees--and wind up using the overworked and underpaid offices of the 'public defender'--guess what, you get no justice, or an abridged justice. There exists no fail-safe mechanism or procedure to ensure that the truly innocent are not falsely and/or mistakenly convicted.
    The public defender is not a real attorney. He graduated at the bottom of his class and could not get a good-paying job with a high-profile law firm. He may be dyslexic, apoplectic, Bi-Polar, or merely 'shy'. He wears ill-fitting thrift-shop suits. He does not know how to tie his tie properly. His shoes look like they came from the gulag in Siberia. His/her job is merely to obtain the best plea-bargain for his client. If you go to trial, taking up 'precious state resources', you will be punished, and severely.
    The 'presumption of innocence' is a fraud and a lie in CT. Been there, done that. Konnecticut is a lawless land.
    Posted on November 25, 2009 at 12:36 pm by William Doriss

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