June 12, 2017

Here's why some Louisiana sex offenders eligible for early release have to stay in prison

6-12-17 Louisiana:

More than 400 Louisiana prisoners who are otherwise eligible for early release can’t leave correctional facilities because they are unable to find an approved place to live that complies with the state’s sex offender requirements.

Instead they must wait for their full-term release date, costing taxpayers roughly $13,000 a day, only to be released without supervision or requirements for classes or therapy.

For Louisiana corrections officials, this poses a conundrum. It is important to release offenders only when they can meet the strict living restrictions for registered sex offenders, they said, or else the inmate is likely to end up back behind bars again. But they also noted the extra time in prison robs the state of the opportunity to require these prisoners to attend therapy or be under supervision on the outside, which is key to their potential success back in society.

“The problem with that is if they don’t get out then they’re full term and we have no supervision over them, we can’t help them get adjusted, can’t make sure they’re going to their classes and we can’t keep a close eye on them at least for the time that we have them,” Probation and Parole Director Pete Fremin said.

People convicted of certain crimes — such as video voyeurism, human trafficking, sexual battery and rape — must register as sex offenders in Louisiana for a period of time dictated by the "tier" of the conviction. Sex offenders then must comply with a series of requirements about where they can live, including that they cannot reside within three miles of their victim and those whose victims were under 13 years old cannot live within 1,000 feet of places where minors would gather, like schools, playgrounds or day cares.

Incarcerated sex offenders need to secure an approved home that complies with these restrictions before they can be released on probation. Right now, the 425 men and women eligible for early release have otherwise earned so-called "good time" in prison, meaning that they participated in certain programs and had good behavior behind bars. This accrued early release, however, is overshadowed by their lack of an approved residence. ..Continued..

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