Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sex And The Village

The Miami Herald ran an article headlined NBV residents worried about nearby sex-offender camp. It was about an encampment of released sex offenders at NE 10th Ave and 79th St.

The whole issue is one fraught with concerns. What constitutes a valid response to sex crimes? I for one hate the way the state and then the county have dealt with the issue. If the purpose of conviction and sentencing is to safeguard the public from the criminal, and if the state believes that certain types of crimes are likely to be committed again following incarceration, why let the offenders out in the first place?

The boundary laws are "feel good" laws. When the offender is released, he (and the offenders are usually he) in most crimes is not deemed an imminent danger to society and although recidivism rates are high, the release does not for the most part eliminate the chances to live a basic life. Except with this type of crime.

The preponderance of evidence regarding pedophilia is that there is a high likelihood of repeating the crime. When the state acknowledges that and still releases convicted pedophiles, the state ignores its responsibility to protect the public and that's where the line should be drawn. 1000 feet, 2500 feet, it doesn't matter. If the state has reason to believe that certain crimes preying on vulnerable people are likely to not be curtailed by imprisonment, then the state needs to step up and keep the offenders in prison.

There's not much North Bay Village can do about it. The issue is a state and county one that should be resolved at that level but our city can join with other cities to demand the law be changed to provide useful and realistic protections for the public and deal humanely with the offenders, who cannot possibly be better off being forced to live on the street than they were in prison.

Kevin Vericker
April 14, 2012

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