Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories
June 10, 2015
In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Colin Blair, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Michelle Billings, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department/Re-entry Program, Joe Critelli, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Joe Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Corrections, Ellie Harris, ServiceNet, Richard Hendricks, social worker, Madeline Johnson, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS –Homeless Services, Phyllis Lutskey, VA, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Reverend Joe Tetherley, Hampden Correctional Center/United Church of Christ, Jordan Walder, UMass student
Pamela summarized the presentation before the Special Commission to Reduce Sex Offender Recidivism of May 28 (click here). The Commission chairs made clear that they were interested in hearing what we wanted them to DO to promote reform. At this point, there is no uniform “platform” organized by any statewide group, so we are in a position to think creatively and bring it back to others on the Commission (Laurie Guidry and Larni Levy).
After excellent discussion, we agreed on the following for our priorities:
- Reform leveling system to reflect best practices;
- Adopt state law/regulation that requires housing authorities and other state-funded housing providers to consider housing sex offenders on a case-by-case basis, relying on evidence-based indicators
- Fund pilot projects that provide housing and support services for Level 3 sex offenders (e.g., half-way and step-down housing)
- Issue directive to state agencies (e.g., DPH, DHCD) to explicitly incorporate in their policy language that, pursuant to evidence-based practices, public safety is best served by appropriately housing people with sex offense histories
- Amend language on SORB website to explicitly state positive community outcomes and positive individual community re-integration through the provision of appropriate housing and employment.
We agreed we would produce a draft list of “indicators” to be applied in the case-by-case review (e.g., time lapsed since office, nature of offense, level of treatment and community support). Joe Critelli will provide the initial draft. Joe will also provide anecdotes demonstrating the application of the criteria.
Pamela will bring back these proposals to Laurie and Larni for further discussion and we as a group will continue this conversation via email over the summer.
We will come together in person again on: Wed., 9/9, 1:30-2:30 pm, presumably Northampton Senior Center, to be confirmed