July 30, 2011

Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry: Is it working?

7-30-2011 Indiana:

The Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry has been available to citizens for more than a decade. The Perspective is proud to provide a copy of the registry to its readers each year, sponsored by the City of Kokomo, the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, AFSCME Council 632 and Local 2185 and White’s Meat Market. But is the registry working?

That can be a difficult question to answer without identifying what its existence is supposed to accomplish. According to Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers, it isn’t a deterrent for would-be offenders, but it certainly provides valuable information to citizens and law enforcement agencies alike.

“People do re-offend, even if they’re on the sex offender registry,” said Rogers. “Sex offenders -- especially those committing crimes against children -- are so dreaded that citizens want us to watch those folks.”

The sheriff acknowledged that recidivism rates are high among sex offenders, which makes a registry a valuable tool. And long before the Internet exploded in popularity, the registry was around -- on good old paper -- to help investigators solve crimes.

Another example of spreading incorrect recidivism information! Also, there is no correlation between the registry and high recidivism rates, he obviously said this to make him sound good.
Rogers had an opportunity to use the registry in its early form when he worked to find Victor Steele, the man who abducted Anita Wooldridge in 1998.

“Even Victor Steele was on a hard-copy registry; that’s how we located him,” said Rogers. “When the name ‘Tom Steele’ came up during the investigation, we cross-referenced the name in the big book and found Victor. That led us to making him a suspect.

“Recently, we had a fellow who attempted to abduct a woman on the north end of Kokomo, and they determined later that he had been on the sex offender registry and got away from where he was supposed to be. That information gets to be very valuable during an investigation. If you have someone who has committed a crime and you can match it to someone who has committed a similar crime who lives in the neighborhood, it gives you someone to look at as a suspect. As a law enforcement officer, I see the value in that.”
This is an example of misconstruing the facts. If you determined something -after the fact- then the registry was useless to find that fellow initially. And being on a registry does not restrict folks to specific areas, they can go where they want.
For citizens, the registry is successful as an informational tool.

“The community knows to be aware,” said Rogers. “You tell your kids to be careful, but when you realize there is a predator close by, it makes you more careful.”
Obviously this policeman does not know that, there are folks on registries who are not predators, in his mind all are.
The sheriff’s department takes the enforcement of sex offender restrictions very seriously, and since the beginning of the year, that effort has risen to a new level of effectiveness. Those who choose not to follow the rules are finding themselves back behind bars.

“Some do resist,” said Rogers. “Sometimes, they register at a certain address, and later we find they haven’t maintained residence there for a long time. That’s when we start building a case against them. Then, they’re referred to the prosecutor, and warrants are issued.

“I don’t want this to be seen as a negative, but we have a much higher rate of warrants issued under Prosecutor Mark McCann’s watch. He has taken this very seriously for us. We have an increase in successful warrant requests and an increase in arrests. You are going to get arrested and charged if you violate the rules.”

In reviewing this year’s registry, readers should notice that offenders are broken into categories, based on the severity of their offense. The sheriff’s department provided an explanation of these categories.

The sex offender is a low-level offender who has committed a crime such as sexual misconduct, sexual battery or possession of child pornography. They have no living restrictions.

The offender against children is a higher-level offender who has committed a crime such as child molest, child seduction, child solicitation or any other sexual crime involving a child. These offenders must maintain a 1,000-foot living distance from any state-licensed daycare, public parks and schools.

The sexually violent predator is the highest-level offender. This is a person who has be convicted of A felony or B felony child molest, rape and more serious sexual offenses. Also, those offenders with two wholly separate convictions for sexual offenses of any type automatically fall into this category. In addition to the living restrictions, these offenders must report to the sheriff’s department every 90 days -- four times a year. ..Source.. by KoKoMoPerspective.com


Anonymous said...

This cop and D.A. are cowboys who have tunnel vision and i would like to see the stats for that county and see where the rate of real crimes are being comminted.Like armed robbery,meth labs,homicides and such.

Anonymous said...

The title of tis article asks"Is Indians's registry working or not"?
In predictible fashion, the article
presents opinion and not FACTS. Most of the opinion is from a member of law enforcement who is obviously out of the loop. So, is Indiana's registry working? I see no verifiable statistics mentioned. If there were the statistics would show that few if any registered offenders recidivate or committ any further crimes. It would answer the title question. Which is "NO" the Indiana, or any other States, registry is NOT working. It is a very hard pill for lawmakers to swallow, but the public registry has evolved into a failed and flawed policy. People are convicted of registerable offences every week. Most, if not all of these new convictions are for people who were "NOT" on the registry. Society is no safer with the existence of a public registry as most registered offenders will never commit another crime, sex related or otherwise. As the policy makers come into this realization today you can observe thier ackward attempts to get things corrected and save face.
Hopefully, more planning based on facts and the desire to HEAL, and not emotion and HATERED, are employed when the inevitable restructuring of laws becomes a reality.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the prosecutor is isuing multiple warrants has nothing to do with keeping people safe. Any prosecutor knows that FSO's are easy to convict on violations. It makes his or her conviction record look outstanding.
The rationale behind the registries
being a preventitive tool for law enforcement is absurd. Most on the registries have no record of crime in thier lives. Most will never commit another crime of ANY kind.
Being on the registry will never stop the small percentage of offenders from commiting another sex offense. Those type of offenders are not detered in the least by being on the registry. They are the truly dangerous people that need to be incarcerated for life.

Anonymous said...

I am from Indiana and more over from this exact area. All this registry does is create a "FEEL GOOD" law to citizens here and around the country. This new prosocuter is only making himself look tough on crime by all the warrants. As far as the paper who puts the offenders in it each year makes me about puke. Why do they have to continue to drag pople through the mud. Most on the registry do not reoffend. Do people in this community and others think this stops someone who wants to reoffend? Does keepingthem from living with restrictions really keep someone from reoffending? NO..if a person has that mind set (god forbid) then no law, restrictions, or some public shunning is going to stop him or her. In a local crime just recently a female with convicted and sentenced for sexual mis conduct with a minor in this county BY THIS NEW PROSOCUTER and she walked away with probation. She admited to having sex with an under age male. SHE IS NOT EVEN ON THE REGISTRY and will not have to register due to the plea. So you tell me how that works? Is she not a threat? Yet a person with a victimless crime such as lets say a computer crime of soliciting a minor and it was actually a cop and an adult. And that person has to register and jump through hoops to live. Society thinks these laws work. Well look at the crimes some or these individuals commit and you tell me if they are a higher risk than a person selling drugs, doing drugs, drinking and driving (multiple offenses). How can an individual be on the registry when no sex crime was commited and no victim was involved in any crime? no loss, no trauma, no rights infringed on. Makes absolutely zero since.