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FL - Zero Tolerance and Homeless Sex Offenders
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FL - Zero Tolerance and Homeless Sex Offenders


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  • Bruce Grant, Assistant Secretary of Community Corrections: Zero Tolerance Absconder Initiative Homeless Sex Offenders George Sapp, Assistant Secretary of Institutions: Aliens in state prison Trends in prison admissions
  • Definition of ‘willful’ Notice to Appear Technical Notification Letters
  • In addition, SB 1792 authorizes the courts to direct the department to use a ‘Technical Violation Notification’ letter to report certain technical violations and a ‘Notice to Appear’ in lieu of a warrant for violations. It also gave the court the authority to accept faxed or emailed documents. Each circuit administrator met with their chief judge and state attorney to discuss SB 1792 and possible utilization of alternate methods of reporting and addressing violations in the court. The Office of Community Corrections developed and posted a ‘Judges Preference List’. The list provides individual judge’s decisions regarding use of Notice to Appears, Technical Letters, faxed or emailed documents and other information for staff to refer to when preparing violation paperwork.
  • Violations are going down while the population is going up
  • Use example of Debra LaFave Probation officers report non-compliance to the court Reporting violations (zero tolerance) does not: Incarcerate offenders for minor discrepancies Remove responsibility from courts for addressing violations
  • Community Backlash Counties send out flyers forcing offender’s movement Law enforcement forces movement In many situations, sex offenders have no choice but to reside in places that are not designed for safe supervision. Under bridges Periphery of a city It is not an ideal situation for the department or law enforcement to monitor ‘homeless’ sex offenders under these conditions. Recently GA and JAX ruled certain residency restrictions unconstitutional
  • Florida Statue 420.621 – Defining homelessness "Homeless" refers to an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence or an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is: (a)  A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill; (b)  An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or (c)   A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. The term does not refer to any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to state or federal law.
  • Residency restrictions are not the sole solution, but part of the solution. Within 3 years post-release from prison from prison, over one-third (39%) of sex offenders are returned to prison. (Center for Sex Offender Management) Three or more convicted sex offenders who are in therapy and ender supervision living together. Probation officer can make frequent home visits. Offenders report each others nonproductive behavior. – 2004 report from Colorado Sex Offender Management Board Legal label implies sex offenders are all the same, the reality is they are a heterogeneous population.
  • Partnerships Social Security Administration (SSA) Cross reference absconder database with subjects known to be receiving Social Security benefits SSA provides any home address on record at the time benefits were provided Agency for Work Force Innovations Employment records Provides Contact information for current or last known employer Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Allows access to DHSMV’s Driver and Vehicle Information Database for obtaining address information and photos Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Cross reference absconder database to determine absconders deported or in ICE custody Florida Department of Law Enforcement Allows access to Sex Offender database Children and Family Services (DCF) Cross reference absconder database with subjects known to be currently receiving food stamps and or cash benefits DCF provides any home address on record at the time benefits were provided Bureau of Prisons Cross reference absconder database with record of active Federal Inmates to determine possible active custody status U.S. Postal Service Assists with providing address verification for possible absconder addresses
  • Transcript

    • 1. 1 Florida Department of Corrections Presentations to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday, December 11, 2007
    • 2. 2 OFFICE OF COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS Zero Tolerance Update
    • 3. 3 ZERO TOLERANCE UPDATE The following actions have been instituted to ensure consistency in the reporting of ‘willful’ violations: • Published memo from Secretary McDonough on “willful” violations in March 2006 • Revised “Reporting Violation Procedure” • All probation officers and supervisors have received “Reporting Violation” training. The training covered ‘willful’ violations and alternate methods of reporting violations
    • 4. 4 REPORTING VIOLATIONS As of November 2007: • 49 counties (121 judges) authorize the department to report certain technical violations via Technical Violation Notification letters. • 45 counties (112 judges) authorize use of ‘Notice to Appear’ hearings in lieu of a warrant, which reduces the number of arrests required and the number of offenders in jail pending VOP • 94 judges authorize the department to fax documents • 74 judges authorize the department to email documents • 19 out of 20 circuits have court officers
    • 5. 5 New Arrests & Technicals Against Population - 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000 Jan-01Apr-01Jul-01Oct-01Jan-02Apr-02Jul-02Oct-02Jan-03Apr-03Jul-03Oct-03Jan-04Apr-04Jul-04Oct-04Jan-05Apr-05Jul-05Oct-05Jan-06Apr-06Jul-06Oct-06Jan-07Apr-07Jul-07 Violations 120,000 125,000 130,000 135,000 140,000 145,000 150,000 155,000 160,000 Population Violations - New Arrest Violations - Technical Active and Active Suspense Population
    • 6. 6 REPORTING VIOLATIONS Violations per 1,000 Offenders 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 March 2004 March 2006 20% Decline
    • 7. 7 REPORTING VIOLATIONS Probation officers continue to: • Address violations quickly and consistently • Report willful violations • Prevent future crimes by immediately addressing non-compliance • Allow courts to decide on additional sanctions • Exercise good judgment in ensuring offenders comply with the terms of supervision
    • 8. 8 Homeless Sex Offenders OFFICE OF COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS
    • 9. 9 HOMELESS SEX OFFENDERS • Challenges locating appropriate lodging: – Lack of financial resources, family support, or transportation. – Residence restrictions imposed by state law and local ordinances (121 statewide). • Homelessness is not a willful violation
    • 10. 10 HOMELESS SEX OFFENDERS • Their poor living situation limits the sex offender’s ability to get a job, secure a better residence, attend sex offender treatment, and acquire other basic needs (food, clothing, hygiene) to transition back into the community. • ‘Homeless’ sex offenders with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) lack access to electricity. Offenders must search for ways to charge the tracking device in order to comply with Electronic Monitoring conditions.
    • 11. 11 MYTHS • Residency restrictions are the sex offender panacea • Sex offenders recidivate more than other criminals • Groups of sex offenders living together are more dangerous to society • All sex offenders are the same
    • 12. 12 Absconder Apprehension OFFICE OF COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS
    • 13. 13 Absconder Unit • Secretary McDonough launched new initiative in March 2006. • Goal: To reduce the total number of absconders by 20% or more within 1 year. • By March 2007 the Department successfully reduced the number of absconders by 25%. • To date, the number of absconders has been reduced from 44,040 to 30,638 (30% reduction)
    • 14. 14 Apprehending Sex Offenders • March 2006: 1,019 sex offender absconders December 2007: 577 sex offender absconders 43% reduction in sex offender absconders
    • 15. 15 In Pursuit of Absconders • Actionable intelligence is vital to track and apprehend absconders. • New partnerships were formed to share intelligence and coordinate enforcement operations. • Intelligence sharing has led to effective partnerships • Message to would be absconders: We will apprehend you.
    • 16. 16 Absconder Gainsby Month 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 Jan-01Mar-01May-01Jul-01Sep-01Nov-01Jan-02Mar-02May-02Jul-02Sep-02Nov-02Jan-03Mar-03May-03Jul-03Sep-03Nov-03Jan-04Mar-04May-04Jul-04Sep-04Nov-04Jan-05Mar-05May-05Jul-05Sep-05Nov-05Jan-06Mar-06May-06Jul-06Sep-06Nov-06Jan-07Mar-07May-07Jul-07 Absconder Gain Date NumberofAbsconderGains Absconders To Prison Monthly Gains from Absconding Status