Monday, March 21, 2016

In 2006, Donald Keegan was arrested for trying to murder four registered citizens. So why aren't we warned about him?

In September 2006, Donald Keegan, who reportedly worked as a maintenance man at the Suffolk County Department of Public Works in Yaphank, tried to burn down one of Suffolk County's temporary shelters to kill all the registered citizens inside. 

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota told the NY Post an undercover police officer befriended Keegan in the days before the abortive attack and was able to tape him planning the murder through audio and video surveillance. An excerpt of one videotape allegedly shows Keegan lurking in the rear of the targeted home and telling the undercover officer: “I want them dead.” Spota added that Keegan, who was employed as a maintenance worker by Suffolk County, expressed his dislike for blacks, Native Americans and welfare recipients during his conversations with the officer.

Donald Keegan was held on $1 million cash bail and $2 million bond. He faced up to 25 years in prison. He got between 6 and 9 years.  

This guy isn't on an "arsonist's registry" (Ohio, California, and Louisiana have arson registries). This guy isn't found on any mugshot websites. I had a hell of a time finding a picture of his arrest photo (found in the archives of an obscure newspaper). I'm willing to bet the neighbors weren't warned a person who tried to kill FOUR people moved in next door to him. 

But hey, it seems PFML is more concern with teen sexters than an attempted murderer.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wait, did Laura Ahearn just state it is better to have an untrained goon knock at the door than a trained investigator?

It certainly sounds that way.

PFML's registrant Keystone Kompliance Kops
How Do You Track Sex Offenders? NY County Hires Ex-Cops

The "registry verification representatives" wear street clothes and travel in nondescript Toyota sedans. They work in pairs, knocking on doors at run-down trailers and waterfront mansions to find out if registered sex offenders are actually living where they say they are.

But this is not some elite police unit. It is part of an unusual public-private partnership in Long Island's Suffolk County that uses six retired New York City police officers to hold ex-cons accountable to sex-offender registry laws.

Since 2013, Suffolk County has paid the nonprofit group Parents for Megan's Law about $780,000 a year to run the program, resulting in 8,700 home checks and 104 people charged with violating the registry law. Detectives found some offenders on the registry were deceased or deported; others listed addresses that ended up being vacant lots or abandoned homes.

County officials have deemed the program, which also includes counseling services for crime victims, a success and want the nonprofit's three-year contract renewed, but some are questioning whether the checks amount to harassment and whether a private entity should be performing duties that traditionally have been the purview of law enforcement.

A registered sex offender claimed in a federal lawsuit filed last year that he was "the target of two harassing investigations" by Parents For Megan's Law. The offender, who was only identified in court papers as John Jones because of concerns about retribution, said retired officers came to his home "without a warrant and absent any suspicion."

The lawsuit is pending. A judge ruled last month that despite its status as a private organization, Parents for Megan's Law could be sued for civil rights violations in its role as a "state actor."

There are also questions about whether the effort is achieving the main goal of sex registries, which is to prevent habitual rapists and molesters from striking again.

The laws, which require sex offenders to tell authorities where they are living, are named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed in 1994 by a twice-convicted sex offender who lived near her.

Dr. Bill O'Leary, a forensic psychologist and longtime critic of the program, said intense scrutiny of convicts is a poor use of resources because 95 percent of sexual abuse occurs between a victim and a known acquaintance, not a stranger living down the street.

"One of the most unethical pieces of the situation has been saying that we need to do this to prevent sexual abuse when we know statistically that this has nothing to do with preventing sexual abuse," he said.

Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Meghan's Law, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said she is confident the program helps deter crime.

"We can't allow state and federal lawmakers to say you have a great sex offender registry law, and then walk away from it," Ahearn said. "If you're going to have a registry, that registry needs to be up-to-date and accurate."

She also said her group is saving taxpayers money in a county where active-duty detectives can earn as much as $200,000 annually, including benefits.

"Do you really want that detective who is highly skilled at doing an investigation knocking on the door of a registrant? No, you don't," she said.

The Suffolk County Police Department maintains oversight over the program and approves all home visits in advance.

The visits are unannounced. On a recent morning, retired detectives carrying IDs, but not badges, checked on the status of three offenders, but no one answered at any of the homes. They return as many as five times before contacting the police department to suggest an investigation of an offender's whereabouts.

Jack Rinchich, president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police/American Police Hall of Fame, said he knew of no similar program in the country.

It's not clear whether Suffolk's efforts since 2013 have been more successful than in years past. The department could not immediately provide such statistics.

In neighboring Nassau County, the police department makes random compliance checks of offenders and has a 99-percent compliance rate, said Detective Lt. Richard LeBrun.

The program hasn't been operating long enough to draw conclusions about its impact on recidivism. According to Suffolk police, two people on the registry who would have been subject to the checks have been arrested for new sex crimes since 2013.

Statewide, at least 2,230 arrests have been reported to the Department of Criminal Justice Services for offenders who failed to register since 2013. As of early March, there were 39,313 registered offenders in the state, with the whereabouts of 463 unknown.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Craigslist? Really?

A multi-million dollar business is using Craigslist to hire more workers. Is being a douchebag a prerequisite for the job? Where's the Craigslist Killer when you need him?

F/T - Sex Offender Address Verification Program (Suffolk County) 
(google map)

compensation: Salaried
employment type: full-time
non-profit organization

The Crime Victim's Center - Parents for Megan's Law) a Long Island not-for-profit organization is seeking retired law enforcement professionals to work in the Sex Offender In-Person Verification and Community Support Program. 

Candidates must have a minimum of 20 years law enforcement experience and will be subjected to a rigorous background check. In this position you will interact with the community, crime victims and all levels of law enforcement, prosecution, registered sex offenders and offender supervisory agencies on sex offender management issues. 

Strong research, computer software (Excel, Word, Accurint) and interpersonal skills and the ability to write concise and accurate reports is essential. 

Preference will be given to candidates who have documented investigative, computer crime and sex offender management experience. 

Email your resume in Microsoft Word format. You must name your resume file using your last name, ie. if your last name is Smith, then your resume file should be named "Smithesume.doc" Enter "SOM Program" in the subject area of your email. Please include salary requirements. Positions do not require a 211 waiver. 


If you have submitted your resume in the past, please resubmit it for consideration.

All applicants will be considered for positions without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, genetic disposition, family care status, carrier status, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or other legally protected status. All qualified applicants must undergo a mandatory drug and alcohol screening, a full background check, education verification, professional reference checks, an e-verify check and a sex offender registry verification.

PFML claims their harassment campaign is working. I beg to differ

There are TWO lies in this very brief article. 

  1. Because there have been no arrests in Suffolk County for two years of a registrant committing a sex crime, their program "must" be working. 
  2. Registrants who fail to register are more likely to commit sex offenses than those who do not. 
Regarding the first lie-- Ahearn makes a claim in her questionable work, "Sex Offender Registration and Notification, a Common Sense Approach" (on page 15) "Since program inception there have been no arrests of registered sex offenders for contact sex crimes in Suffolk County, New York. In comparison, from 2009 to program start date, May 1, 2013, there were 12 arrests of registered sex offenders for contact sex crimes within Suffolk. So in five years, there were 12 arrests (about 2 arrests per year), but no arrests in about one year (since she wrote this article in 2014). 

That is not really statistically significant, considering there is a yearly average of two arrests in any given year. The number goes up, the number goes down. Within the past few months, that number went up because there were a few recent arrests of registered folks accused or sex crimes (see HERE an HERE). Because the case of the former is a Level 1, Ahearn is conveniently using this case to push her agenda of extending registration of Level 1s, even if she can't claim success of her program. Apparently, the program doesn't deter sex crimes at all. (Nor did it stop the Suffolk Co Police chief from beating a man for stealing his sex toys. Is this a sex crime?)

Concerning the second lie, Ahearn . That is easily dispelled by a number of studies, which found FTR is NOT a predictor of recidivism:

Levenson, J. S., Letourneau, E., Armstrong, K., & Zgoba, K. (2010). Failure to register as a sex
offender: Is it associated with recidivism? Justice Quarterly, 27, 305-331.

Criminal Justice and Behavior, 37, 520-536.

The Big Bad Wolf or a Red Herring? Sex Abuse August 2012 vol. 24 no. 4 328-349

"Failure to register was not a significant predictor of sexual recidivism, casting doubt on the belief that sex offenders who are noncompliant with registration are especially sexually dangerous. Few differences between groups were detected, but FTR offenders were more likely to have sexually assaulted a stranger and to have adult female victims, further challenging the stereotype of the child predator who absconds to evade detection."

As a bonus mention, I'd like to point out that Ahearn is still claiming there are 100,000 missing RSOs. In retort, I refer to the article "BEATING THE PROVERBIAL DEAD HORSE: Addressing the 100,000 Missing Sex Offenders myth once and for all" by Derek W. Logue. An analysis of various studies on "missing" or absconded registrants were compared and found that even today, nowhere near 100,000 registrants were missing. See also Jill S. Levenson and Andrew J. Harris. 100,000 Sex Offenders Missing . . . or Are They? Deconstruction of an Urban Legend. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 2011. DOI: 10.1177/0887403411415398 (Page numbers are  from an advance unpublished copy); See also Garrine P. Laney. CRS Report to Congress, Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law: Recent Legislation and Issues. CRS, April 18, 2007., Retrieved July 31, 2011, pgs. CRS-19 to CRS-20, where it was also noted that PFML’s study was never published and  some of the numbers are disputed.

The bottom line is that Laura Ahearn and PFML lied not just once, but TWICE, in a very brief news story. But all in all, she's one time, two times, three times a liar!

Suffolk touts success of sex offender monitoring
February 27, 2015 3:28 PM

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, lawmakers and members of Parents for Megan's Law on Friday spoke about the success of the county's Community Protection Act. Since the program was implemented, officials say that no registered sex offenders have committed new offenses. (2/27/15)

WOODBURY - A plan that was implemented to monitor sex offenders in Suffolk is working, according to the county executive.

Over the past two years, retired law enforcement officials have been knocking on the doors of registered sex offenders in Suffolk. They have been verifying that the registry information is current.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, lawmakers and members of Parents for Megan's Law on Friday spoke about the success of the county's Community Protection Act. Since the program was implemented, officials say that no registered sex offenders have committed new offenses.

"What research has indicated across the country is that when an offender is compliant with their registration requirements, their recidivism rate is lower," said Laura Ahearn, of Parents for Megan's Law. "So offenders who are not complaint are offending more often."

The Community Protection Act, which was enacted earlier in 2013, allows for stricter monitoring of sex offenders. Nassau does not have a Community Protection Act, but Ahearn says it appears to be in the works.

Video version:

Looking back at Suffolk Co's first 'arrests"

I stumbled upon this as I was trying to locate more info on Suffolk County's contract with Parents For Megan's Law. This was on the Suffolk Co. website. Interestingly, none of the arrests were anything other than probation violations or a traffic warrant. Half were arrested for "failing to have a picture taken." That's the job of the police!

These arrests were nothing more than a publicity stunt to justify that outrageous contract between Suffol Co. and PFML.

Bellone Announces Eight Arrests Made Under Community Protection Act

Department: County Executive | Posted: 5/23/2013 | Views: 4142
First arrests made under the comprehensive sex offender monitoring and verification program called “toughest in the nation”

(May 23, 2013 – Yaphank, NY) Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined today by Suffolk County Chief of Detectives William Madigan, Parents for Megan’s Law Executive Director Laura Ahearn, Director of Probation Patrice Dlhopolsky and members of the Suffolk County Legislature to announce that initial arrests have been made under the Suffolk County Community Protection Act, sex offender legislation that provides for the toughest monitoring and enforcement program in the nation.

The Community Protection Act, which was enacted earlier this year, includes a partnership with Parents for Megan’s Law (PFML), the most respected organization dedicated to the prevention of sexual abuse in the region. It provides law enforcement and PFML with the resources they need to verify that registered sex offenders are in compliance with all elements of sex offender law and provides for heightened monitoring of the over 1,000 registered sex offenders who reside in Suffolk County.

Today, Bellone announced the arrest of eight registered sex offenders who were found to be in violation of sex offender laws as a result of the Community Protection Act. They are:

Brian R. (Level 3)
Arrested for failing to report for his 90 day appearance

Robert W. (Level 3)
Arrested by 3rd Precinct Patrol for VTL warrant

Lawrence G. (Level 2)
Arrested for failing to register a change of address

Kevin G.(Level 2)
Arrested for failing to have photo taken

Lawrence L. (Level 2)
Arrested for failing to have photo taken

Terrance C. (Level )
Arrested for participating in computer activity involving sexually stimulating material

Christopher P. (Level 1)
Arrested for failing to have photo taken

Kevin S. (Level 1 Sex Offender)
Arrested for failing to have photo taken

“Because of the adoption of the Suffolk County Community Protection Act and through the efforts of the Suffolk County Police Department, Parents for Megan’s Law and Suffolk County Probation, we now have the ability to monitor registered sex offenders in Suffolk County like never before,” said County Executive Bellone. “These arrests prove that with a comprehensive plan to strengthen verification efforts, we have the tools needed to keep our communities safe.”

“Parents rely on up to date sex offender registry information to keep their children safe,” said Parents for Megan’s Law Executive Director Laura Ahearn. “As a tool, the registry is only effective if it is accurate. This program will not only ensure accuracy, but send a message to registrants that they must comply with the law. We are proud to be part of a team dedicated to protecting our most vulnerable in Suffolk County, brought together through the leadership and support of County Executive Steve Bellone and the Legislature.“

“Protecting children from sex offenders is a high priority for the Suffolk County Police Department,” said Police Commissioner Edward Webber.  “Special Victims Section detectives will continue to work closely with other county agencies to enforce the Community Protection Act, a proactive approach to ensure that sex offenders are complying with laws.“

“I want to thank the members of our Police and Probation Departments for taking swift action to protect our most vulnerable residents,” stated Deputy Presiding Officer Wayne R. Horsley. “I am confident they will continue to be vigilant in working with Parents for Megan’s Law for the safety of our children.”

Look at all these schmucks pretending to actually do something. 

If PFML already gets $1.5 million, including $900,000 from Suffolk Co., why did they need an extra $25,000?

Good question. It isn't like PFML needed an extra 25 Grand, but they got it anyways. It was even taken from the crime victim's fund at that?

It had been reported elsewhere that PFML was only to get $900,000 a year. Is this money in addition to the $900,000 they already get? Or is the county so broke it needs to dip into the crime victim's fund?

This is pure speculation, but I think PFML is using the money to "lobby" for keeping Tier 1s on the registry.

Intro. Res. No. 1280-2015 Laid on Table 4/28/2015
Introduced by Legislator Hahn


WHEREAS, the 2015 Operating Budget, when adopted, included an additional $25,000 for Parents for Megan's Law Crime Victims Center; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Suffolk County Legislature to transfer this funding to the contract for Parents for Megan's Law; and

WHEREAS, Section 4-31 (G) of the Suffolk County Charter now allows amendment of the County Operating Budget by County Legislators four times during the fiscal year as long as the amendment reduces, lowers, terminates or cancels appropriations; abolishes positions of employment; terminates contract agencies; terminates or reduces the size of County programs or departments, or makes transfers of appropriations that are offset by reductions in other programs; now, therefore be it 1st RESOLVED, that the 2015 County Operating Budget is hereby amended as
follows and that the County Comptroller and the County Treasurer be and hereby are authorized to transfer the following funds and authorizations.






and be it further 2nd RESOLVED, that the moneys appropriated pursuant to this resolution shall be
used for the sole and exclusive purpose of funding Parents for Megan's Law.

DATED: May 12, 2015

/s/ Steven Bellone,
County Executive of Suffolk County
Date: May 28, 2015

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Parents For Megan's Law is a "state actor" and can be sued, according to US Disctrict Court

Scroll down to the other article I posted today, and you'll see it didn't take long for someone to sue PFML.

Group's Monitoring of Sex Offenders Called 'State Action'
Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
February 19, 2016  

A private group hired by Suffolk County to increase monitoring of registered sex offenders is a state actor and can be sued for civil rights violations, a federal judge has ruled.

Eastern District Judge Joanna Seybert said representatives of Parents for Megan's Law were acting under color of state law in 2013 when they went to the home of a man convicted of sex offenses, questioned him about his addresses and the car he drives, demanded to see his driver's license, and threatened to show up at his job with no notice.

The plaintiff, John Jones, was convicted of rape and sodomy in 1992. He was released from prison in the late 1990s and now lives in Suffolk County with his wife and children. As a convicted sex offender, Jones has been required to abide by the reporting procedures in the New York Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA).
SORA classifies offenders on three levels, with Level 1 being those who pose the lowest risk of re-offending. Jones was classified as Level 1, which still requires him to fill out an annual registration form, visit his local police station every three years for a new photo, and notify police or the state, within 10 days, of any changes in his address, educational enrollment or "Internet identifiers."

In 2013, Suffolk County passed the Community Protection Act, Local Law 10-2013, which was intended to toughen sex offender monitoring and verification. The law allowed the Suffolk County Police Department to enter into a three-year contract with Parents for Megan's Law to verify residency and monitor offenders already under the requirements of SORA.

Agents of Parents for Megan's Law, who are required to be former law enforcement officers under the contract, knocked on Jones' door, asked him questions and then followed him closely down the front walk to the street where his car was parked. He handed them his license, which they kept for several minutes while asking about his employment. The agents then told him they might make later, unannounced visits to his place of employment to conduct additional inquiries.

Two agents returned to his home in July 2014 and three more agents followed up a week later, again taking his license and asking him questions.

In Jones v. County of Suffolk, 15-cv-0111, Jones alleged deprivation of his constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. He claimed that Parents for Megan's Law, which advocates requiring sex offenders to live far away from population centers, has left him and his family in fear that the neighbors will find out about the visits. Jones also said he has been less active in the community and in his children's activities.

Suffolk County and Parents for Megan's Law moved to dismiss, saying the private group was not a state actor, and there was no constitutional violation nor any municipal liability.

Seybert said the fundamental question in the different tests for determining state action, whether it be the "close nexus" or "joint action" test is whether the actions of the private entity can be "fairly attributable" to the state.

"Although the mere existence of a contract between the state and a private entity does not create state action, additional factual allegations that the state 'insinuated itself' into the management of the organization are sufficient to confer state actor status at the pleading stage," she said.

Here, the judge said, Suffolk County "retained the power to actively manage the home verification program," as the police department "proscribed the number of visits each registrant was scheduled to receive, and Parents for Megan's Law was required to submit a schedule of its in-home verifications" to the department, which could then modify the schedule.

And the department also created the appearance of joint action when it sent registered sex offenders, including Jones, a letter saying they needed to show personal identification and employment information to Parents for Megan's Law (PFML) agents.

"In addition, Jones sufficiently alleges that the county delegated to PFML the inherently public function of monitoring registered sex offenders," she said, and the "monitoring program was described in the contract as a 'law enforcement initiative' and it required PFML to use ex-law enforcement personnel to perform the work."

Having found the private group was a state actor, Seybert declined to dismiss a Fourth Amendment claim, turning aside the defendants' contention that the Parents for Megan's Law agents were doing no more than a "knock and talk" with Jones.

"[T]he allegations in the complaint raise questions about whether a reasonable person in Jones' position would feel free to terminate his interactions with the PFML," she said. "The questioning here did not take place in an open field, or a Greyhound bus (other situations in which courts have held police inquiries and seizures did not violate the Constitution) but rather within Jones' curtilage—an area afforded heightened Fourth Amendment protection."

Christopher Dunn and Erin Harrist of the New York Civil Liberties Union and Jennifer Spirn and Lawrence Spirn of Spirn & Spirn in Hauppauge represent Jones.

Harrist said the decision vindicates the view "that the suspicionless home investigations that Suffolk County is running violate the Constitution."

"Instead...the county should be investing services that really help people and help registrants find stable housing and employment. That's the best way to ensure public safety," she said.
Assistant County Attorney Marlene Budd represents the county.

Michael Miranda and Richard Epstein of Miranda Sambursky Slone Sklarin Verveniotis in Mineola represent Parents for Megan's Law.

See the court decision HERE:

Parents For Megan's Law is sued yet again for harassment as they are looking to renew their contracts

You won't be able to read the article without paying for it so here is the full article. PFML is being sued for harassment, and they are currently in talks to renew their contract.

Sex offender sues Suffolk, monitoring group over ‘harassment’ 
By Darran Simon 
Newsday March 1, 2016 7:45 PM

A registered sex offender claims in a federal lawsuit that a Suffolk County group charged with monitoring offenders violated his rights when former police officers visited his home and “interrogated” him. 

The suit by the Suffolk resident, who served time for rape and sodomy in the late 1990s, says he was “the target of two harassing investigations” in 2013 and 2014 by Parents For Megan’s Law, a Ronkonkoma-based nonprofit. 

The plaintiff, identified as “John Jones,” complied because he feared criminal penalties, but the monitoring efforts — allowed under the county’s 2013 Community Protection Act — “far exceed” state sex offender registration requirements, according to the suit. 

The former officers twice showed up at the offender’s home “without a warrant, and absent any suspicion” that he was not complying with the state requirements, the suit said. 

They parked out front, “interrogated” him about his address and car, and “followed closely behind” as he retrieved his driver’s license from the vehicle. Jones — a Level I offender, the lowest-risk category — claims he no longer attends his children’s school events, and he and his family “live in constant anxiety.”

 A federal judge recently denied motions by the defendants, the county and nonprofit, to dismiss the 2015 suit, ruling that Parents For Megan’s Law is a “state actor” and can be held liable for constitutional violations. 

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert, in her Feb. 16 ruling, said Suffolk police “created the appearance of joint action” with the nonprofit by sending letters to sex offenders requiring them to provide information, such as identification to the nonprofit. 

Mineola attorney Michael Miranda, who represents the nonprofit, said Seybert’s determination “does not mean that the court has decided the case or vindicated the plaintiff’s view.” 

County spokesman Justin Meyers said the county and the group acted reasonably. Erin Beth Harrist, a New York Civil Liberties Union attorney representing the plaintiff, said the ruling “is an indication that this type of forced compliance with these investigations is not OK.” 

The nonprofit pays former officers to do regular checks on more than 1,000 Suffolk sex offenders. 

Officials say the monitoring has reduced recidivism and alerted police to inaccurate addresses. 

Suffolk’s three-year, $2.7 million contract with the nonprofit expires in April and renewal talks are underway.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Guest Column: Perpetual homelessness just won’t work

This was a guest column in the Riverhead News Review 

Guest Column: Perpetual homelessness just won’t work
by Jerry Bilinski | 03/08/2015 8:00 AM

East End towns and villages are now under political and media pressure to participate in Suffolk County’s sex offender monitoring program. This program is operated, under contract with the county, by the Parents for Megan’s Law advocacy organization. Taking a position against a new sex offender monitoring program, here or anywhere, will not help me win any popularity contests. However, I think it’s important for us to take an objective look at this program’s potential impact on the community, its taxpayers and those it targets before jumping on the “Let’s get tough with sex offenders” bandwagon. 

Before retiring, I worked as a case manager for several nonprofit mental health agencies that provided services to sex offenders with mental health and substance abuse problems. Having worked with dozens of registered sex offenders during the past 20 years, I can share with you that all the laws passed to restrict where they can live have created a large class of modern-day untouchables who are forced into homelessness and have great difficulty finding and maintaining treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues.

In Suffolk County, the Department of Social Services is responsible for housing homeless sex offenders. Here’s how it works: Once a week, every Monday, homeless sex offenders are moved from one location to another in Suffolk County. The policy allows homeless sex offenders to stay only one week at any specific shelter or other housing paid for by DSS. This goes on 52 weeks out of the year and involves significant costs to taxpayers in terms of not only housing but also transporting the sex offenders by taxi to new housing every week. We should also be aware that just last month, the New York State Court of Appeals overturned Nassau County laws that restricted where registered sex offenders could live. The court essentially indicated that only the state could pass such legislation. This ruling is also likely to impact Suffolk County, where we have also created a hodgepodge of local laws restricting where sex offenders can reside.

The creation of the county DSS plan to house homeless sex offenders was the result of political pressure from various towns and elected officials who complained that their particular localities were being saturated with homeless sex offenders. The plan makes little sense in terms of trying to provide a stable system where these offenders can be monitored safely over the long term. Think about it: Every week the sex offender has to move all of his or her belongings to a new location in Suffolk County. If they are in treatment, they then have to figure out how to get to a treatment provider, who could be up to 40 miles away. These individuals have no real chance to achieve any type of stability in their lives, including maintaining mental health stability and sobriety. The clinical literature clearly indicates that these types of stressors, involving lack of stable housing and treatment, can actually trigger additional offenses.

Registered sex offenders are required by law to register a new address with the local police station within 10 days of moving. Failure to do so could, and often does, result in them being arrested and incarcerated. The deck has been stacked against them. Who picks up the costs for all of this? Suffolk County taxpayers. Not only the cost of housing and moving them every week, but also the cost of incarcerating them in the county jail when they fail to comply with registration policies. The cost of keeping someone in our county jail for one month is approximately $6,000. The vast majority of sex offenders incarcerated in Suffolk at any given time are not there for new crimes associated with a sex offense, but rather for technical violations associated with failing to register a new address on a timely basis or not being at the address where they were last registered.

In my opinion, the county’s new monitoring program, which costs Suffolk taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in county contracts, exists to not prevent recidivism in terms of preventing offenders from committing new sexual-related crimes, but rather to keep them perpetually homeless and subject to revolving-door incarceration in the county jail at an enormous expense to Suffolk taxpayers. A much better and less costly approach to housing and monitoring sex offenders is to provide them with stable and ongoing supervised housing, with treatment support components. This approach has been successfully implemented in various states and jurisdictions across the country.

Providing supervised housing and treatment support programs to sex offenders has been documented in studies to reduce rates of recidivism for these offenders. I also think Suffolk County residents would feel much safer knowing that sex offenders were being housed in a specific location with staff supervision, which could include on-site assigned probation and parole officers, along with mental health and other treatment professionals. I know I would sleep better at night knowing that these offenders were in stable housing with available staffers who could intervene if the offender exhibited symptoms or behaviors that could lead to them reoffending.

Jerry Bilinski is a Riverhead resident with experience in social work and advocating for incarcerated and mentally ill people.

Laura Ahearn, Steve Bellone, and Kate Browning