Archive for Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Keeping track

Inconsistent monitoring of sex offenders who move from state to state undermines the effectiveness of registration laws.

September 21, 2011

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The story of Curtis Mongold, who was convicted in Douglas County for sexually abusing a girl and who served three years in prison, is disturbing.

As part of his sentencing, Mongold received a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. He told Kansas authorities he was moving to California in 2001, but there is no record of him in California, according to the National Sex Offender Public Website, which collects registry information from all 50 states.

Of the 4,500 registered sex offenders in Kansas, only 8 percent are currently not complying with the registration requirements, which include verifying home addresses four times a year. In the corrections community, that’s considered a good record.

But a Journal-World investigation identified 161 registered sex offenders like Mongold who have moved out of Kansas since 2006 but do not show up on offender registries in the states to which they reportedly moved.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation sends letters to states that offenders move to, but after that it’s somebody else’s responsibility. There could be cases where an offender moves to one state, then to another, but that information isn’t necessarily communicated among states, KBI officials say.

That worries Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center, a nonprofit advocate for accountability in sex offender registries nationwide. Different laws in different states make keeping track of sex offenders a complicated endeavor, Ahearn said. In some cases, an offender in one state may not be required to register in another state.

That’s the problem. Sex offenders shouldn’t be one state’s concern and not another’s. The offenders are a concern for every state and should be followed by all as long as they are required to be on a registry.

Despite the issues identified by the Journal-World investigation, Kansas has taken steps to improve its sex offender registry, but numbers pointed out in the J-W story show that far better national tracking systems are needed.

A state law that went into effect July 1 strengthened Kansas’ offender registry, increasing penalties for offenders who fail to register and reducing from 10 to three days the length of time offenders have to notify authorities of an address change. The updates made Kansas just the 10th state in the country to comply with the 2006 federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, known as SORNA.

SORNA gives the U.S. Marshals Service authority to investigate sex offenders who move out of state but fail to register in their new state. The U.S. Marshals’ office now relies on tips from the public and law enforcement about which offenders are not in compliance across state lines.

For the protection of all U.S. residents, all 50 states must be part of the SORNA program. Communities should not be left in the dark when dangerous offenders move in from another state.

Comments

Cai 3 years, 11 months ago

...Either the sex offender has adjusted to society and we should not be stigmatizing him/her anymore, or the sex offender is still a danger to society and should not have been let out. There is no middle ground here.

I understand that 'reform' isn't always cut and dry, so if cops want to keep a private list of past offenders ... wait, those are called court records.

Continuing to stigmatize people is only going to drive them back into a criminal lifestyle - you've taken all other options away from them.

kawrivercrow 3 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for removing the stigma of being a parasitic stain on society. Now, take off that little shirt, and them panties, too. Now, squeal like a pig.

I had no idea that this new liberal ideology was so liberating. I just wanted to try something I saw once on TV. I promise not to do it again.

(On second thought, it felt pretty good making you squeal like a pig (plus...you know what else). I hope I can stop now, sometimes I get bad habits that are hard to break.

Cai 3 years, 11 months ago

And what about the man who WANTS to change, but can't get a job, can't get any help, and can't find any support because no one will let go of his past?

If there's no hope for any of them, why don't we just use capital punishment? (which, btw, I'm all for - If they aren't safe, and we're convinced of that - why are we letting them go?)

Tiredofit 3 years, 11 months ago

REAUTHORIZATION OF THE ADAM WALSH ACT TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2011

Senator Bobby Scott asks Ms Doran who is representing the SMART office.

Mr. SCOTT---- Are there any studies that show whether or not someone who is compliant on a registry versus someone who is not compliant on a registry is more or less likely to offend? In other words, the list of 100,000 that Ms. Hylton is chasing down and incarcerated, is that list more likely to offend than those on the registry that are in compliance?

Ms. DORAN---- No.

Mr. SCOTT----- No, there is no difference?

Ms. DORAN ----That is correct. They are not showing to be more or less likely.

Mr. SCOTT----- The fact that you are not in compliance does not mean that you are any more likely to offend than if you are out of compliance; that is the finding of the studies.

Ms. DORAN---- That is one study, yes, sir.

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