Work  Group to House Individuals with Sex Offense Histories
January 9, 2013

In attendance:  Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Corrections/DOC re-entry program;  Joe Critelli, Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept; Danielle DeBerry, ServiceNet,  Laurie Guidry, MASOC, Richard Hendricks, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services,  Madeline Johnson, Hampden County AISS, Sgt. Anne McMahon, Northampton Police Department, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Reikka Simula-Gooden, Amherst Community Connections

Updates on local outreach:

Waiting to hear back from HAP and SMOC re: meetings on sex offender housing policy.  Should be meeting with HAP by the end of the month or Feb. Note: meeting scheduled for 2/1/13.  SMOC staff Allison Maynard was going to reach out to ED again toto schedule a meeting with us.

Legislative Update:

Laurie Guidry informed us of the following:

On January 18, new sex offender legislation will be filed.  The recent Burbine case in Wakefield (level  1 sex offender who assaulted 22 children in his wife’s child care) has triggered a new level of activity and determination around making change in the way leveling is applied.

There is a converging effort around recognizing that the tool SORB is using is not adequate.  Could be a real opportunity for change.  MATSA and MASOC working with lobbyists and advocacy agencies – meetings in Boston on 1/12 to educate policymakers;  Laurie working closely with legislators to put language in bills around this issue.  Wakefield representative reaching out.

In context of Sex Offender Management bill, looking to support evidence-based practices,i.e.,  the tools used to identify risk in registered sex offenders will be supported in the research/literature and validated and applied to the appropriate populations.  The tool will make distinctions between adult males and females and juveniles.  A review committee would look at this and examine it and ensure it is up to date with best practices.  Aiming for tool to most closely represent and reflect the population.

The federal Adam Walsh Act is also object of renewed interest to pass.  Adam Walsh Act supports tier-based leveling and is based on the offense committed.  MA’s tool, while inadequate, is based on risk posed (which is more appropriate).  While MA tool is currently inadequate, it is supported by the constitution, while Adam Walsh, due to being offense-based, is not.

Additionally, Adam Walsh Act does not make good distinctions between adults and juveniles (MA makes some distinction, although could be better).  However, the Adam Walsh Act does support communication between states which is a good thing.  In short, the Adam Walsh Act is a mixed bag.

We will hear back from Laurie about her day with legislators and take stock at our next meeting about the Network’s role to advocate for changes.

Next meeting:  Wed., 2/13, 11 am – 12:15 pm, Northampton Senior Center

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