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The ‘Predator’ Next Door Risk Management at the Community Interface Daniel J. Brodsky, LLB 37 th Annual AAPL Meeting Toronto, ON Canada Chicago - October 26, 2006
Incapacitation of high risk sexual offenders for the purpose of protecting the public is a legitimate federal and provincial state concern
The implementation of this laudable objective has not been easy from a legal or clinical perspective
Indeed, the preventative detention of sex offenders and the practice of psychiatric gating underscore some of the most critical tensions between the roles and mandates of the federal criminal justice system and the provincial civil mental health systems
In June 1998, three months after Joseph Fredericks was released from prison for the rape of a child, he abducted another child, Christopher Stephenson, from a shopping mall in Brampton, Ontario. Christopher was sexually assaulted, mutilated and the 11 year-old was left to bleed to death in a wooded area – it was a catalyst case
On December 15, 2004, the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) enacted Canada’s first-ever National Sex Offender Registry
The Registry is maintained by the RCMP and police agencies (not the public) in every province and territory can access the database
The animating objective for the database was to provide the police with important information that will improve their ability to investigate crimes of a sexual nature by identifying possible suspects known to reside near to the offence site
Persons convicted of a designated sex offence as defined by the SOIRA may be ordered to register
Sex offenders must report to a registration centre and must re-register annually and every time they change address or legal name
The practice of community notification has grown in recent years and is becoming increasingly controversial
The Corrections and Conditional Release Act directs prison authorities to provide identifying information to agencies authorized to supervise and monitor sex offenders
Knowledge of a sex offender can be helpful if community members view themselves as support to that offender in his reintegration
Is the purported benefit to the public interest illusory?
Notification laws, protocols and regulations have been enacted in most provinces to make the presence of high-risk offenders known to the public
There is no single method of notifying the community. The term embraces methods as diverse as creating web sites, holding community meetings, notifying staff at places which children frequent, creating bulletin boards, and issuing press releases
But are communities safer for knowing that high risk offenders are in their midst?
Widespread community notification without public education heightens fear of victimization
In most cases communities react with fear and outrage, rather than support and supervision
A convicted pedophile living in west-end Toronto since his release from prison over the weekend has decided to move.
Peter Whitmore, 29, had been staying at a home in Etobicoke, but has left the residence for an undisclosed location. It's believed he will stay with his lawyer until a more permanent address can be found for him. Toronto police are reportedly trying to place him in British Columbia.
On Wednesday, about 1,500 citizens jammed into a town hall meeting in Toronto and angrily called for action to get the man out their neighbourhood.
Parent Oriana Pintaric expressed the anger of many in the room by saying,I am quite upset at the criminal justice system, that they have failed our children by releasing this person has committed more than one offence.
Whitmore was convicted in 1993 for sexual offences involving children. He has refused psychological counselling for his crimes.
He is under a court order to stay away from children and any place children congregate, unless in the company of an adult.
Actuarial Instruments and the Incapacitation of Risk
High risk offender proceeding typically commence with an assessment that produces an everlasting actuarial score
The score does not inform treatment needs
Successful treatment intervention is not reflected in the actuarial score
The score does not inform management needs
Good management of risk is not reflected in the actuarial score
A spectrum of behavior from spitting to murder with an unknown event horizon is forecast