October 8, 2013

Allen Parish considers raising sex offender registration rates

10-8-2013 Louisiana:

ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) - "I don't like seeing people leaving an adjacent parish to come here as a sex offender because it's more affordable, which is what I'm trying to say," said Allen Parish Chief Deputy Ricky Johnson.

It happened first in Lake Charles, then in Sulphur, a raise in sex offender registration rates.

And now, Allen Parish officials say they are feeling the effects of those decisions.

"It's not a mass exodus from Calcasieu Parish, but we've had a few sex offenders that came to Allen Parish and they basically voiced to our sex offender registry people who keep up with that, Lieutenant Turner, that the reason they're leaving Calcasieu Parish is that the fees are too high," Johnson said.

Johnson said Allen Parish has roughly 44 sex offenders. And while it's hard to say if they all came from those areas who have recently upped their costs, he said there has been a recent influx.

"I'm sure Calcasieu and Jeff Davis and Beauregard wouldn't want us to raise ours to where sex offenders started to move to their parishes. So, there probably needs to be some standardized fees," Johnson said.

But there is a standardized fee. Louisiana state law regulates sex offender registration rates at $60 a year, but as Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier told KPLC in July, jurisdictions have the right to raise that cost if it's comparable to the services rendered.

"I think it's entirely reasonable for a municipality to charge an amount that is reasonable particularly when it is in direct relation to the amount that it costs, DeRosier said.

And Johnson said that's the case in Allen Parish.

"It costs the taxpayers for the sex offenders to be tracked by the Sheriff's Office so I think they should pay a portion of it," he said.

There is no word yet on how much Allen Parish wants to raise their fee.

There will be a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Allen Parish Police Jury administrative office in Oberlin to discuss the fees. ..Source.. by Gerron Jordan

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