Dear legislators, in reviewing the framework of your legislation in HB 1133 - 2007-08, Monitoring sex offenders. I was concerned that there appeared to be no oversight and allotment of any real-world cost analysis to public safety benefit in the report slated for delivery on or around December 31, 2007.
It appears, and what I see lacking, are no controls for oversight or identification of a benefit analysis to align the proposition that the dollars earmarked for this legislation is to enhance public safety and should be reconciled against a zero tolerance towards sex offender and recidivism in the community?
Providing the goal is not simply to implement technology on sex offenders, because it is feasible to do so, there could be no other resultant affect of any monitoring tool? The fact remains to date, no country has dealt with such a panacea as we see today regarding sex offenders. American public opinion is devoted not only financially but emotionally, to pay the costs to assure known sex offender criminalised are either incarcerated, kept on a short leech, or driven out of almost every community that elects to do so.
The concept of zero tolerance, in today's wake of legislation, is not only pushing the brink of sentencing, post conviction requirements, but as well broadening the ability for prosecutors to prosecute. In this vain, I entertain, that if this is the goal then a more comprehensive plan must be devised, than ad-hoc emotionally charged disparate legislation. Which often needs retooling, whenever a new unacceptable crime is committed. Thus curtailing problematic and costly revisions of old ideas yet again not working.
To move away from being recognized a few years from now as just another 'feel good' sex-offender law against the most-despised it is imperative to sit and retrace how and where the laws of come to date, and evaluate what, if any have we learned.
When we review these laws it must be openly evaluated as to the change and the empirical data as towards the tools enhancement of public safety. The benefits of each tools cost-effectiveness. The tools ability to deliver or change recidivism of sex offenders. And a cost analysis of program effectiveness to public benefit, perceived or not. There is no question that perception often out weighs actual relevance. But, in this case, it becomes the duty of the government to assure that perceived panacea, is in fact reality.
Today there appear to be many gaps in how the current system can benefit from electronic monitoring. Being a sex offender, regardless of how I got here, I can say the current identification process is week at its very foundation. The creation of the PSI (pre-sentence investigation inventory). Here the DOC interjects it first subject analysis of an offender. (It is important to note, although a defendant can object to the material within the PSI, if is very often allowed to be maintained as-is and as factual throughout an offenders DOC life span).
Currently, with this type of structure, the down-stream reports are compounded by an opion never mitigated or corrected by the current system. For example, in my PSI my attorney objected to it in its entirety, the judge accepted the objection, and ruled on my sentence without its use. But, for every report thereafter, made my the DOC the objected to report was used by the DOC.
If we were to conitue with this type of maligned procedural characterization of offenders, adding onto it a tool that electronically monitors offedners, becomes superficial, for the electronic monitoring tools functionality, although in isolation has value, will only have the ability to enhance public safety when it is worn by a correctly identified wearer.
The concern is not only in the effectiveness of monitoring and the benefit perceived or not. But is the current system capable enough to even properly identify a potentially at risk to reoffend sex offender? The answer is in the facts. No. In the current system the DOC controls all upstream reports which the local police department accepts as the representative profile of an offender. The PSI, LSI, CHI, RMA currently are developed through DOC administrators who have a limited amount of investigative police, therapeutic, and social service tool sets, and a magnitude of responsibility for reporting valid opinions that can later be used singuarily to represent a sex offenders risk in the community.
Although on it its face this lends to a high degree of capriciousness, in laying out the activity seen in the trenches, it is the departments best practice. In allowing these administrative type officials to make critical, potentially life saving decisions, as limited experienced evaluators is connecting the dots to liability, which are resulting in inconsistent metrics of measurement and a classifications scheme that relies more on subjectivity than objectivity, and dtractions from community safety.
The fact remains that any identification system that relies on subjective questioning and answering will always lend itself to skewed results. Even in the most conscientious examinees. Thus, when devoting a program utilizing any subsystem tool, such as electronic monitoring, it too will become prone to its antecedents failures.
This issue is concerning, as if not recognized and given its greater worth, will divert much needed resources, opposed to funneling it towards the greatest perception of need. I advocate carefulness in your reporting and I entertain the need of a comprehensive value-add proposition which puts the problem directly in hand and enhances a system that accumulates to safety to the community, and lives.