Sunday, October 30, 2011

Texas media waits till last minute for annual Halloween sex offender hype

Grits had been somewhat surprised this year that fewer Texas media outlets had succumbed to the annual Halloween hype over monitoring registered sex offenders out of fear they may give out candy. But on the weekend before Halloween, such stories appeared with a vengeance, especially on local TV news, see here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In politics, Halloween is when demagogues take their latest fear mongering tactics out for a spin to see if a gullible public will bite, and how hard. As the National Post put it, “A one-night festival of ghoulish subject matter, unhealthy food and talking to strangers, it is no surprise that Halloween is an annual magnet for moral criticism. Halloween is when parental paranoia is 'market-tested,' American columnist Lenore Skenazy wrote in a 2010 blog post. 'If a new fear flies on Halloween, it’s probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too.'”

Which is how we get this annual flurry of sex-offender-related stories on Halloween. Forget for a moment that there are only two instances that anyone has identified in the history of the nation of kids being sexually assaulted on Halloween, and in neither instance did the offender have a criminal record that would place them on the sex-offender registry. Reality isn't as important as the opportunity for hyping fear.

When Grits first noticed this annual phenomenon several years ago I blamed the media. But tracking it closely, one discovers that nearly all local stories on the subject stem from a press release from the local Sheriff, probation department, or some other official, local source, so really it's law enforcement hyping the issue that drives coverage. Since it's not actually news but really just self-interested spin, I doubt the media would bother to produce these stories on their own without explicit prodding from officialdom.

Bottom line: Your kids are in FAR greater risk from traffic accidents, drunk drivers, or even being struck by lightning (not to mention obesity and tooth decay) on Halloween than from sex offenders luring them with sweets. Indeed, in terms of sex crimes against children, Halloween may actually be the safest day of the year. If you're lecturing your kids on the risks from sex offenders before they go out instead of making sure they can safely see through their Halloween mask and reminding them to watch for traffic, you're probably diverting their attention - and yours - from the most serious public safety issues surrounding the holiday.

MORE: James Alan Fox makes the excellent point that there is indeed a crime spike on Halloween, but that it's not sex offenses against children but workaday street crime that routinely increases on that day and should be the main policing focus.

AND MORE: See related items from Diane Dimond , Karen Franklin, and at Slate.

See related Grits posts:

111 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh well, Scott; better late than never.
Your analysis is, as usual, of the hitting-the-nail-on-the-head type. Halloween/sex offender hysteria is cut from the same cloth as "If it bleeds, it leads," and while I agree that local law enforcement entities may be the initiating factor, some media sources get in to it with a great deal more enthusiasm than others.
Thank you for being a voice of reason and logic.
Shelly Stow

shabootyboo said...

Might as well declare martial law an October 31st. It's only a matter of time before Christmas is included in this conversation.

Anonymous said...

As usual, you speak with more wisdom than the media, law enforcement, and legislators combined. Would you please run for governor?
BJW

Anonymous said...

You are so correct. It's NOT the registered sex offenders scaring people, it is - and has been- the police. I have searched the internet, called a few attorney friends - and guess what? I can't come up with anything substantiating their (the police) claim. So my question is this: what exactly are they protecting the public from? And more importantly, WHY do they insist on scaring the crap out of the public -the very ones they are supposed to "Serve and Protect"- with undocumented allegations?
As far as the media, unfortunately, there are numerous reporters once again pushing their useless two cents worth on the naive general public -and convincing them.

Anonymous said...

The real threat to children on Halloween isn't sex offenders; it’s being hit by a car crossing a dark street, getting cavities from eating all the candy, and tripping on that too-long Cinderella dress. Most kids are very safe at Halloween, and have little to fear from strangers. Scaring kids and families with unfounded fears isn't nice, nor helpful.
Mary Sue Molnar/Texas Voices

Anonymous said...

This gives the Constables something to do. All the police and sheriffs will be busy dealing with crime.

Anonymous said...

A certain county south of Dallas is requiring all SO's (I don't know if it's all who are probation or parole - or just all so's) to go to the probation office from 6-9 tomorrow. This is just a whim of the Probation Department trying to show how "tough" they are; unfortunately for them they are just making themselves look foolish.

These people who run the department are power hungry and feel they can do what they want. We went to court there in July requesting that my daughter (age 19) have visits with her father. He has been on probation for eight years. Well, the judge there said that a therapist needs to okay it. Well, a therapist DID ok visits--- But the probation department will not take action on this. I have talked to the guy in charge and it is his opinion that
SO's never recover and are like the scum of the earth. So now after spending several hundred dollars for the hearing in July, we now have to go talk to the attorney again.
I think the PO department is acting very unprofessional!

One question about the Halloween event for the SO's -- are they going to have refreshments???

Anonymous said...

Gotta love these "feel good" laws or stupid provisions uneducated lawe enforcement officials conduct. Perhaps they should concentrate on the number of female arrestees getting attacked by male jail guards or females being made to give sexual favors to get out of a ticket instead. Bunch of loser cops!

Gordonsmom said...

I am so over the media hype, especially this time of year. If there were a shred of truth in it that would be one thing, but in the case of RSO's the media can say just about anything without reprisal. In our county for the past six or seven years, the RSO's have been rounded up at the probation office where they watch a movie(which this year we are told might be Rocky V)while drive-by home inspections are done by the probation/police departments for any decorations or "child luring devise" in sight. My son was a bit freaked out when he noticed a pair a "Barbie" legs that our dog was playing with in the backyard that one of the neighbor kids threw over the fence...would that be considered a technical violation? Or Halloween decoration?

Anonymous said...

Maybe teachers, boy scout leaders, and priests should also be banned from participating in Halloween - there have been more teachers and boy scout leaders involved in sex offenses then there have been strangers on Halloween night. I have never heard that priests need to attend a meeting on Halloween evening....?

Anonymous said...

As an s.o. In that wonderful county south of Dallas I can say for a fact that, yes they are allowing us to bring refreshments this year.

texashats said...

When do we start holding the media responsible then? Since it can be proven it's a myth, why don't we all do something about it -- and WHAT?

RSO wife said...

In Harris Co, they are making parolees stay home from 5PM til 5AM and turn off ALL outside lighting, not even security lights are supposed to be on. The parole office will personally be checking on them to make sure they are there. If they open the door and it isn't the police, they could be arrested for participating in Halloween. Sure is easier to keep tabs on people when you know where they are, than to go hunt real criminals.

I believe all this crap makes the sheriff, parole officers, probation officers and state appointed sex therapists, look important and worth the taxpayers money. Mirrors, lights and smoke will do it every time.

And as a side note - they aren't allowed to go to ANY Christmas parties either.

A Texas PO said...

As a probation officer, I have come across many uneducated citizens who see these hype stories and complete flip. At an HOA meeting that I attended, several residents demanded to know what the HOA, police, and probation were planning on doing with the one registered sex offender in the neighborhood. I explained to them that this individual was not under supervision and was under no obligation to abide by any LE or probation/parole order on Halloween, and the groans and jeers I received would have scared the hardest of cowboys out there. It seems to me that police and probation/parole press releases are likely in response to this street-level hatred of what, year after year, has become a great ratings boost for the 10:00 news.

As for the rants about how horrible probation officials are for requiring sex offenders on probation to report somewhere on Halloween, the growing trend is twofold: (1) several sex offenders on probation (especially those recently placed on probation) have been assessed as high risk, primarily because they have not started treatment/counseling or are not far enough along in the program yet (and before anyone gets outraged by that, I said "several," not "all"), and, (2) by having these probationers report to a single location, we can ensure that the probationer is not violating the terms and conditions of probation and the one night of the year when random children go around knocking on strangers' doors, thus helping the probationers on this night from becoming non-compliant. My Department has such a program running tonight, and we use the opportunity to have a counseling session and to update the probationers on recent changes in sex offender-related laws, registration requirements, etc. In my opinion, our program is not a waste of time and in no way is designed to simply create an inconvenience. We recognize that the registry and several of these laws simply create a false sense of security, and the majority of child molesters live in the homes with the victims, but unfortunately we have a mandate from the voters and Lege, we must enforce the law and court orders, and we have to do what we can to make sure the probationers comply with their conditions, even if that means making them report somewhere for a certain amount of time.

Anonymous said...

I thought we hung Husain, I guess we kept his notes on how to run a government. Our Texas LEO’s and the politicians that support them are nothing more than 3rd world dictakers. They have to be a little more sophisticated and make up policy’s to enslave people, like the sex offender crap. But its still Nazi crap these people are pulling. Why is the majority of the voting public so damn gullible, perhaps we wouldn’t have this terrorist type government if people wouldn’t vote for these buffoons.

Thanks to Grits annual Halloween notice of the foolish hype and keeping with the tradition I started last year I’m going as a sex offender. This year out of disrespect to the foolishness of some fanatics attempting to reclaim the Christian holiday of Halloween and calling it Jususweenie I will dress as a white male non denominational music minister of a mega kurch. The most scariest of creepers. I have some little new testacal bibles to hand out, like the ones kids used in tyc to role cigarettes. I’m also taking a bunch of kids, who support this mockery of parental paranoia and pig foolishness out trick or treating to complete the site gag. However, there is one thing I discovered last year I have to be cautious of with this character is the single moms. They’re a little pawsy
No Saturnalia party’s either, its sucks to be on the list. I’m thankful the whack job generation that came up with this RSO crap wasn’t in power when I was a teenager.
Happy Halloweenie.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Texas PO, there is no mandate from voters or the Lege, much less laws and court rulings, requiring your department to do an RSO roundup on Halloween. That's a choice by your department and probation chief reacting to all the media hype.

Nothing in your comment supports your claim that it's "not a waste of time and in no way is designed to simply create an inconvenience," especially since you grant that the tactic "create[s] a false sense of security, and the majority of child molesters live in the homes with the victim." You're not "helping" the RSOs with this tactic, you're harassing them with arbitrary extra reporting requirements that even you don't think improve public safety, seemingly purely for public relations purposes.

Anonymous said...

Texas PO- Why not simply tell the community the truth?
Police are busy making sure they know where sex offenders are on Halloween but each week across America, over a dozen children are drowned, burned, or beaten to death by a parent or caregiver. If police, parents and politicians are truly concerned about children's safety, the resources spent enforcing curfews and handing out "No Candy Here" signs would do far more good in efforts to prevent parental abuse.
Let them know that emotionally reactive policies based on fear and anger rather than research, data, and common sense will not be effective in keeping our communities safe.
It is unfortunate when public officials make statements that simply frighten community members without adequate information as a foundation for those statements.

Anonymous said...

Grits, you do overlook one small facet in you response to Texas PO...

Probation Departments are locally administrated and serve the Courts in the given jurisdiction. There are many, many different jurisdictions with views ranging from far left of liberal and others far right of Extreme Conservativism and everythinig in between. Departments are simply reflecting the values and expectations of the commuities they serve. If it were contrary to public expectations would judges fire the director? Which also explains why laws like the sex offender registration laws and other "feel good laws", of which you are so fond, are passed every year. Not just laws applicable to Sex offenders but also moving into other offense categories. If this is not the kind of stuff the public wants, then explain why so much of it keeps getting passed and politicians passing it keep getting re-elected.
Keep in mind, that public pan rattling may be the only way Probation Departments can compete with "Tough on Crime" attitudes that would otherwise send everyone of these offenders straight to prison. So which is the lesser of the two evils? Send everyone to the pen or mix a little punishment with treatment while the offender remains in the community on probation?
It really is a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation.

Anonymous said...

Not all SOs have children as their victims. So I guess they all get lumped together with the ones whose crime involved children. Again, the rules do not make any sense.

Anonymous said...

Parents warning & scaring their kids about registered sex offenders should send their kids to grandma's house. Stats indicate that parents kill their children far more than RSO's. Read the newspapers! Watch the TV!

DEWEY said...

Is this why the police want to put weapons on the drones (yesterday's GRITS), to get rid of us sex offenders???

Anonymous said...

ANON 7:39

If any entity, whether county, state, city, etc requires ALL RSO's to be forced into a place they do not want to be without probable cause or charges against said individual, this is a Constitutional Violation of an individuals rights, and could go a LONG way in making someone on the list wealthy. If you are one that is affected by this, my opinion is that you should find the best lawyer you can, and file an injunction immediately to stop the illegal activity of law enforcement/probation department. Once off parole/probation, we are NOT under the iron fist of either of those two groups, irregardless of Art. 62.

Anonymous said...

99% present of all S,o,s Regret there crime and pray they would have never done it and are just asking for a second chance in life which for some reason the system will not allow you are guilty until you die we might be out there helping others raising or kids kids and teaching them right and wrong and teaching them not to make the same mistakes as us and we are still considered trash we made a terrible mistake and are truly sorry for it and would never harm any one again please allow us to take care of or family and be the man and women of god that we have been called to be. a former s,o

Anonymous said...

Dewey,

The militarization of law enforcement in this country has been linked to the oppression of citizens. As we've seen in New Orleans after Katrina, in LA during the Rodney King riots, and more recently during the Occupy Wall Street marches.

The Government wishes to continue to militarize our law enforcement to ensure a compliant population.. compliance ofcourse is in their frame of mind, not yours.

My question is, up until now, all prior military made equipment was properly de-militarized prior to LE getting their grubby little paws on it, how do they explain fully armed drones ANYWHERE? This is by far, completely outside of the mandate for local or state LE.

Anonymous said...

Although not something that anyone really likes to think about, BUT, there are over 700000 RSO's today. Anyone ever wonder what would happen if even 1/2 of us ever got really pissed off and picked up a few weapons. While I am certain it would eventually be put down, There would be a whole lotta conflict going on before the last of us were finished.

disclaimer here is I am not condoning such action, only entering this into the mix, as a possible response to the terrorist activities of law Enforcement on a specific group of people. As we are all so 'violent', you have to know they are already planning for such a contingent.. one day soon, I am sure, those of us that do not have a plan of action will be seen kneeling in the streets just before LE level a pistol to our head and fire.

Kevin Stouwie said...

This blog post is excellent. Thanks Grits!

Anonymous said...

this is completely wrong. there is no evidence to prove kids are at risk. but of course sex offenders have no right under the state rules!

Anonymous said...

Those who think this is fair and just, just wait till soon law enforcement start rounding up those charged with DUI's, robbery, murder, drug users, etc. and taking away there constitutional rights. How are you going to feel about it then when you are not allowed to decorate your home for Halloween or Christmas? I think a few minds will be changed.....

Anonymous said...

Just because local law enforcement is quoted doesn't mean they sent out any news releases. I know for a fact that the media hypes the story even after being told that there are no rules that people on the sex offender registery list have to follow unless they are on probation/parole.
The proplem is that this story is just like the tooth fairy story...bogus.

Anonymous said...

To Texas PO
Having all SO probationers report to one place and meet with their LSOTP on Halloween serves multiple purposes.
1. It allows their [generally weekly] sessions to take place [although at an extended period].
2. It is something of a comfort to the often VERY complaining neighbors. I agree that demonizing SO offenders is a tremendous problem in the community. SO do not have a lobby in Austin.
3. It also PROTECTS the offender from false accusations and/or misinterpretations.

CSCDs represent the community and the Courts. We do not have Halloween or other SO programs to express power and control but to ALLOW the offender to remain in the community. The public would generally be much happier to lock up all SO forever. Doing all this is a pain for us too, but that is what we’re expected to do.

RETIRED CSCD DIRECTOR

jimbobob8 said...

I have to decided to run for public office, there for, I declare that I will bow down, grubble, and put before the congress any law that corporate or even a rich person asks, as long as you donate and generously to my campaign. My personal views and those of the complaining public, will not be deterred from the law of the land.
Now let's see how far truth in campaigning will go.

A Texas PO said...

I never said that we had a mandate to have Halloween roundups. I said we have a mandate to enforce the law and court orders, i.e. those sex offender conditions imposed by the courts. Our sex offender officer, with the support of our Director and the local judges, came up with this program specifically to solve the problems that Anon 9:50 pointed out. If the probationer is with us on Halloween, then no one can claim that this probationer was out having contact with children. After all, we all know that the simple allegation of child contact sometimes is enough to send these types of offenders off to the pen. Our program cut that part out on this holiday and in turn reduced violations for these folks that were caused by happenstance.

I still stand by my comment that it's not a waste of time or an inconvenience. We don't troll the countryside arresting these probationers and haul them off to jail. They know two months in advance that they have to report in for that period of time. We discuss really important issues that will help them stay in compliance with the ever-changing laws that the anti-SO lobby is constantly coming up with. I think the sex offender hype creates a false sense of security for parents, but there's a real security threat posed to RSOs when rowdy neighbors start causing a ruccous on Halloween. We are helping these probationers on this particular night, not harassing them. Maybe it is for public relations, but since we have NEVER advertised this (and surprisingly this year our Sheriff didn't either), I don't think we'll be getting anything in return from John Q Public other than a lack of complaints about these probationers being home answering the door to trick-or-treaters. And we started doing this long before the media decided to start hyping it.

Don said...

Texas PO: That's a little bit of an empty rationalization. If you want to make sex offense probationers, or any other probationer, for that matter, come to a certain place at a certain time for "education" about new rules and laws etc., just do it. Why perpetuate the hysterical, irrational crap that is bandied about. Your department is just exploiting the paranoia like the others. Get real!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:40, I don't see how any of that that mitigates my point to Texas PO that these roundups are a choice made by those departments, not any sort of legal requirement.

Yes, the public responds to demagoguery with boisterous cheers; twas ever thus, from the time of Caesar and before. That doesn't make it a responsible decision to engage in demagoguery. In fact it means those in charge have an even greater responsibility to rein in wasteful, spurious activities like this because the public has no clue and will not provide meaningful checks on government overreach.

To the retired CSCD director, presumably RSOs already have regularly scheduled sessions and not all have them. As for protecting the RSOs, IMO that's a bit disingenuous. It'd be one thing if you were OFFERING a place to go that night to avoid false accusations, etc.. It's quite another to REQUIRE them to go and claim it's for their own good.

I certainly agree that the pubic often loudly complains, just as Salemites complained loudly of witches. But the problem comes when leaders pander to such demagoguery (see Salem) through the exercise of state power. This line of yours IMO is just BS: "We do not have Halloween or other SO programs to express power and control but to ALLOW the offender to remain in the community." They're already allowed to remain in the community if they comply with supervision terms. That wouldn't change if the Halloween roundups didn't occur. Anyway, if helping RSOs and keeping them safe were really the motive, departments wouldn't be issuing press releases about it. Halloween roundups are encouraging the demagoguery, not protecting RSOs from it.

Texas PO, I'm glad to hear y'all aren't publicizing it, but I still think this is a solution looking for a problem, pandering to demagogues instead of mitigating the damage they do. We'll have to agree to disagree.

A Texas PO said...

Scott, I don't mind disagreeing with you on this. I still love reading and engaging with this blog. I only wish that these discussions were played out in the public arena where people with real power to effect change were involved. Alas, I fear that will never happen. But at least there is a discussion, and that's where change starts, yes?

jimbobob8 said...

Is it reasonable to assume that since most auto burglary's happen between Nov., 25th and December 24th, can we expect all burglars, will be rounded up and held during this time.

pjt said...

The Probation Office is simply doing what the uninformed public expects them to do. In these public meetings instead of just listening to the jeers and complaints of the residences, why not attempt to educate them by presenting them with research data and just plain common sense. Ask an organization such as Texas Voices that has the research along a lot of common sense to speak to the community. Educating the public regarding the truth about the RSOs is so very important. This is what will change legislation for the better, making everyone safer.

Anonymous said...

There are over 780,000 registered men, women and children across the nation required to register. The "crimes" range from urinating in public, sexting, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, to looking at abusive or suggestive images of anyone from an infant to 18 years old, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape and incest. Credible studies advise that 95% of sexual offenses come from within the family unit, friend or someone know to the family and NEVER get reported. The registry is a way to make parents "feel good!" Now if you multiply that 780,000 by 3 or 4 family members of the registrant there are over 2,000,000 folks suffering the collateral damage caused by these registries. Families are harassed, beaten, threatened, forced to leave their church, lose jobs, lose friends and family. How is the family supposed to survive and become functional again under these conditions?
Vicki Henry
Women Against Registry dot com

Anonymous said...

JimBob8. Don't forget the Drunk Drivers usually start hitting the streets with more frequency from Thanksgiving until Jan 2, When can we expect the fliers to go out mandating all DWI offenders on Probation or Parole to report to the Sheriff's department nightly? I demand my kids to be safe when we are out Christmas shopping!

neisha dehoyos said...

throwng all rso in one size fits all helps no one, not All rso are pedophiles!

daniel dehoyos said...

yes I demand all drunk drivers, to report to sherrfi office on friday/saturday nights, im scared I may be hit by one...

Anonymous said...

Incredible blog, I must say...but take it from someone who has been a RSO for the past 15 years...in some cases it would be better to be in prison than to be in a public arena where people are constantly looking to point their judgemental fingers at ALL RSO's and in many cases cause bodily harm to RSO's. Not to mention the UNBELIEVABLE way RSO's get treated at the Harris County/HPD facility on Mykawa where we are required to register! I get it, there are some RSO's out there that aren't the easiest people to be around. But really? That warrants being called child molesters, scum of the earth sickos, not to mention many other disgusting names we get called while sitting in the registration waiting room?!? If I had a recorder, or a hidden camera...90% of the registering officers would lose their jobs for harrasment and more than likely be sued! Last point...where's the public website for the registered murderers, armed burglars and any other felon????? When will that list come out?????

Nobody deserves to be treated like rabid dogs...it's so unconstitutional...it's sick.

A Texas PO said...

Alright, not one probation official, to my knowledge, has come out to say that these Halloween programs were designed to keep probationers serving terms for sex offenses from re-offending. These programs are designed to keep the probationer from violating the terms and conditions of probation. So the far-fetched ideas about requiring DWI offenders and so on are ridiculous.

Anon 11:48- I'm sorry that these unprofessional officers have decided to treat you in that way. There's always been a lack of professionalism in certain areas of police work, and unfortunately it sounds like HPD places officers limited to desk duty in that department. There's no point in breaking someone down simply to make yourself feel bigger and badder, and that harassment needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

More members of law enforcement are arrested and convicted of child sex crimes than all other professions combined. It's law enforcement's "dirty little secret". Be careful when teaching your children to trust those in law enforcement, and never teach your children to trust cops implicitly. With thousands of lawmen convicted each and every year for child sex crimes, it should be criminal to teach children to worship them. Cops threaten to kill their child victims and their victim's family. Few children ever get the courage to come forward and tell their stories of abuse at the hands of someone they were taught they should trust.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-to-survivors-of-child-sexual-assault-by-law-enforcement-officers/180584842010594?sk=wall

Anonymous said...

It would be truly encouraging to see more articles published about the truths of Halloween than the misquoted myths we see year after year. Educating the public with facts backed by research would help calm the fears of the hyping that goes on this time of year. My question is are they ready to hear the truth??

Anonymous said...

"These programs are designed to keep the probationer from violating the terms and conditions of probation. So the far-fetched ideas about requiring DWI offenders and so on are ridiculous."

Texas PO, I disagree, If it is good for one offender class, it is good for all. I in no way say this will stop DWI offenders from re-offending. I am solely interested in keeping them within their Parole/Probationary rules. That alone makes the idea of DWI offenders forced to go to MADD classes or something completely worth it! You're disapproval shows just how disingenuous your defensive stance really is.

Anonymous said...

OK rounding up all the drunks between thanksgiving and saturnalia will get most of the cops, probation officers and politicians off the street. That should help make things safer for most of us. IMO, the sex offender registry is the best example of our country no longer being one nation under Gd. To have a judgmental policy like this registry that continues the heaping of coals only goes to show Gd is not part of this country. I do feel the most sorry for the goose steppers who have to enforce this foolishness. We have truly gone from land of the free home of the brave to the land of incarcerated home of the scared. What the hell is everyone so scared of? You want to be frightened, be frightened of the elected officials and there minion of monkeys who want to rob us our freedom. You want to be scary for Halloween dress up as Rick Parry, rhymes with scary, or a corrections/probation/parole/le officer, that’s scary. You want to be a scary pedophile go as a tyc employee. These are the scary basterds of our world not the RSO’s.

To the person who gets run off from church because you’re on the list, perhaps you should chose a religion that has a more forgiving and less judgmental god than the one representing this church. I’m sure there are plenty of Mosque and Synagogue who would welcome you and their god is very forgiving.
May we the people save our country from the fanatical Christians who in their gross hypocrisy judge the mass to bondage, and keep them there.

Mass incarceration only works with an ignorant mass, and we can’t rely on our government to educate us if this is their goal. In example public school.

Anonymous said...

I would think that it would be the RSO's responsibility to obey the rules of probation.Not a PO officer
Im an RSO. Iv NEVER had a problem at halloween. Close the door turn out the friggin lights and wait until midnight. You know the PO's will not take any responsibility for where or what an RSO does after halloween. So why at Halloween.
Seems way out there to assume that only at Halloween will a sex offender seek out a child to molest. If a person is going to hurt or molest a child, what in the hell does halloween have to do with it. If they are a bubble off plumb, they are going to do what they do.
But, there again not everyone that gets a DWI is an alcoholic and re offends, Some do learn there lesson. and change there behavior and lifestyles. Because we do relize that what happened was not right.Man can change otherwise we would still be flinging dung at each other from the trees.
And the law enforcement section of our society is just as falable as any of us. There are quite a few that live in denile or have there own agendas.
Yea,I screwed up 15yrs.ago. But today I'm not even close to the person I was then. Theres an old saying. ("I was a great painter, Loved by every one!But suck one d---. And your a queer for life.) Yea its friggin harsh. But thats how self absorbed morons look at life. Im done. And disgusted. I think I'll go kick a fuzzy animal and eat candy. Peace,Love&Tacos

Anonymous said...

The RSO laws have really went tooooo far ! Theres no prove of any RSO doing anything , 17 to 30 % of RSOs are kids their self ...look it up ! The media hype needs to stop now !

Jim Stott said...

As a department, we have all SO's sign a statement indicating that they will not participate in Halloween. Some of them, although not all, are ordered by the court to not be in contact with anyone under 18 anyway. We also have group therapy sessions here at the office during the times when the kids are out trick or treating. Requiring those things is not meant to be anything more than a tool to make the community feel a little safer. Convincing the general public that there is little danger from most sex offenders under supervision is like trying to convince them that sending everyone to prison will deter crime. Joe Citizen hears the word sex offender and he immediately thinks of a child lusting pedophile that can't control his or her urges. The media has given us that faulty stereotype. On the flip side, if nothing was done to satisfy the public need to make them feel safe, the media hype would tear that up. It is a small price to pay for a lot of peace of mind.

Jim Stott said...

Sorry....Convincing the general public that there is little danger from most sex offenders under supervision is like trying to convince them that sending everyone to prison will NOT deter crime.

Anonymous said...

"But, there again not everyone that gets a DWI is an alcoholic and re offends, Some do learn there lesson. and change there behavior and lifestyles. "

21.2% of Drunks get busted again for driving while intoxicated. That is 4x the 5% for sex offenders who reoffend. Personally, seeing as Drunks kill more innocent people in America, imagine if LEO would be interested in helping keep this number low during our more alcoholic season.
**http://www.vtbar.org%2Fimages%2Fjournal%2Fjournalarticles%2Fspring%25202002%2FClements.pdf&ei=jhGvTtedNPSnsALiqZGRDw&usg=AFQjCNF9uDP1oXWHges_BgzJcRIy8af9YQ&cad=rja

A Texas PO said...

Anon 1:07- If wanting to do everything in my power to ensure that probationers succeed on probation, and cutting out the possibility that John Q Public can make false accusations on the one day of the year when every civilian out there is hyper-sensitive to sex offenders due to the media hype is being disingenous, then that's what I am. Look, I have said above that I don't believe in the sex offender registry because most who commit these crimes know and/or live with the victims, and your child is more likely to be molested by your relative than a complete stranger. But we have these little things called laws that CSCDs are obligated, by mandate, to enforce. You change these laws, then you take the fire out of the media torches that spur these hype stories. But until then, as Jim said, the public isn't going to listen to reason, and we're going to do what we need to do to keep these folks from getting in trouble based on false accusations.

Once Fallen said...

http://www.oncefallen.com/HalloweenLaws.html

There is something I'd like to point out. In all those places where you must keep porch lights off if you are on the registry, if you are a non-registrant but keep your porch light off you could be targeted by idiots thinking you are a sex offender.

cara1947 said...

I second that motion: would you PLEASE run for governor?!

The POs are about as uneducated and uninformed as the most vigilant vigilante! They swallow the hype --- hook, line, and sinker!

Don't you know why the hype persists? The government functions on FEAR. If you don't think so, look at the Patriot Act . . . our personal liberties went bye-bye after 9/11 in the name of FEAR. As long a people are AFRAID, they can be easily manipulated.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Jim Stott writes, "It is a small price to pay for a lot of peace of mind."

It's seems like an even smaller price, of course, when it's someone else who must pay.

Also, since the media hype is largely generated by departments themselves promoting this stuff, I see as circular at best, disingenuous at worst, the argument that this must be done to avoid media demagoguery. Arsonists don't get to complain about forest fires.

Jim Stott said...

Scott, Say what you will, but "I" think that the media hype generated by this kind of stuff rarely comes from the departments. In our case it was not. It was pressure from the public, who heard from some "Sheriff Joe" type personality, that this kept kids safer on Halloween. I agree that it doesn't make a lot of sense. But we do it because it doesn't hurt. And perhaps I don't understand your reference to the price. Acually, the only "price" associated with it is time.

Most sex offenders will do anything they can to avoid even the slightest hint that they are doing something wrong. And I've never heard any of them complain about the requirement.

As circular and disingenious as it may be, it will probably be a part of Criminal Justice Halloween for many years to come. I don't like it, but we do a lot of stuff that doesn' t make sense, but we do it anyway. I figure that's one reason "Grits" exists anyway. The media demagoguery, well, is a part of the system that can't be shaken. If it's a good enough story, you are generally damned if you do and damned if you don't.

So, watch out for the boogeyman.

albeed said...

Jim Stott:

You are contributing to the continuance of a lie that directly (financialy) benefits you. By continuing to crucify the broad band identified as SO's (note: the distinctions were classified broadly to benefit the federal government's payments to local LE under Megan's Law), you benefit from the propaganda that continues under current SO laws.

Your comment cannot be trusted!

I was only following orders (and given a paycheck)!

Janice Harris said...

I'm interested in hearing a comment or two from So's required to attend this Halloween "gathering"...how about it...did this gathering produce a feeling that you were the one being protected? Just curious.

FosterMom said...

Something has been bothering me.. Why is there NO X-Sex Offenders? There are X-Whatever Offenders. They do their time and probation and they are DONE. Not the SO, they do the time orderd by the court and once released, serve their probation and also have to register as a SO FOREVER. If they are that bad, they should Not be released. Under this system they can not contribute to society. So why release them? Our Judicial System Confuses me. We need the judical system, but things do not seem right. There are innocent people incarcerated and also guilty people not convicted, because prosecurters and defenders can make accusations/comments to the jury without any proof and without any consequences to them for doing so. I use to think if they said it must be true, I would have never thought they would lie, and if they did they would also be in trouble. NOW I think the attorneys and prosecuters both should have to be sworn in before each trial. I dont have all the answers but we need some changes. ~ Something to Think About...

Anonymous said...

Well I'm an s.o. That had to attend. And it was just a waste of my time. I have been in treatment for almost 8 years.
We were supposed to be there from 6-9 pm. At Ellis county Cscd. I got there about 5:45. They had us all sit in this room and watch a movie. They couldn't get the tv ( that was older than me) to work. So they sent a few s.o.'s to wal-mart to buy one. So they got the movie started bout 7:15. It was about some boys that got sent to a boys home in the 60s. They got abused and molested. The whole movie was about the boys getting revenge as adults. No discussion, no up dates on new laws. Just a waste of $35 ( the therapy session fee). I could teach that class. It's a real nice racquet. I should have been an lsopt. Its one of the few businesses where you can recommend that the government force your clients to come and pay you till you say they are done. Most be nice. I'm afraid to say too much here. If Texas PO is who I think they are and they find out who I'm am you can bet my butt will be In jail. But I'll answer anything you want to know if I can w/o getting in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Just ignore the grammatical train wreck on the last comment. That's my stupid auto-correct.

A Texas PO said...

Anon 2:41- I'm not who you think I am. But it sounds to me as though the officers who set up that program made it a waste of time. It's Halloween programs like that one that make the whole profession look bad, as evidenced by many of the posts above. I don't know anyone at the Ellis County CSCD, but their leadership needs to take a long, hard look at how they do things.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Jim, all the TX media reports I've seen on this in the last few years were generated by some local official - the probation chief, sheriff, a constable, etc. - issuing a press release. Reporters aren't coming up with this story on their own, it's being spoon fed to them by local officials.

The "price" I was referring to is the annual humiliation of this pointless ritual y'all put them through. If you've never heard any complaint about the requirement from RSOs, then make the session voluntary next year and see how many show up. That'll tell you how many REALLY think the Halloween roundup is for their own good and how many are just telling you what they think you want to hear.

RoseCapitalDad said...

You need to look at this from the government point-of-view:

1) The biggest complaint we hear these days is the rampant unemployment.
2) The citizenry have begun to realize their country is circling the drain economically and are demanding cuts in our spending.
3) The citizenry are deathly afraid of any threat to their children.
4) By stoking the fears of these parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles we are able to enact expensive procedures for dealing with the perceived "threat" we have created.
5) Once enacted, we have carte blanche to hire law enforcement, expand prisons, hire more guards and parole officers, even start whole new industries (LSOTP's, SO "testing", etc), all in the name of “public safety” and “protecting our children”.
6) Unemployment goes down, the citizenry see us as heroes for that AND for our stong stand on child protection. It’s a win-win!

A Texas PO said...

Obviously many respondents on this blog are against these types of Halloween programs for various reasons, but I have seen an even bigger problem relating to sex offenders: city ordinances. There are an increasing number of cities passing ordinances (without voter approval) that restrict where RSOs can live, and some that have strict Halloween rules. These ordinances apply to anyone who is on the registry, not just those under supervision. I have seen some that broadly define "child safety zones" to include restaurants and kid-friendly businesses, as if in an attempt to force RSOs out into the boonies. Ordinances like these, IMO, create more of an inconvenience and a feeling of being shunned comparedto a required probation meeting. I'd like to see the Lege address this when they meet again in 2013.

Anonymous said...

For all those posting "over-reaching law enforcement," brace yourself. Because of Texas' love affair with zero tolerance, tough on crime, and absolute totalitarian rule from district attorneys and prosecutors... it is only going to get tougher. Lot of points talked here but fact of the matter is, our society will continue to evolve into a wall-less prison. IE probation will continue through devices such as GPS, alcohol devices in cars, drug testing... to restrict and take on a punishment role. Not by choice but by public demand. If the opinions here are anything but extremist viewpoint, sound off at the legislature like you have a pair instead of whinning at the coffee shop. Unless I am wrong, there is still an open door to go testify at the capitol when all the laws are being lobbied and developed? Man up, sign up, and dazzle everyone in the room with all this bullshit.

Jim Stott said...

Scott, I think we agree on the insanity of the requirement, but disagree on the value of the result. I can respect that.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I certainly respect you, Jim, and we can agree to disagree. I do, though, wonder if what you see as the "value of the result" isn't offset when law enforcement is diverting scarce resources for public relations purposes on the night of the year when actual crime is highest. It's not just that the policy on its face is pointless and in your words, insane, but that it actually reduces focus on law-enforcement activities that might increase public safety.

Are there other high-risk probationers on your rolls who merit special attention that night? Almost certainly. But to me you're focusing extra supervision on those least likely to offend while diverting resources from more serious risks and downplaying the opportunity costs. It's not just that it's stupid and wasteful, it's actually counterproductive.

rodsmith said...

yep here we are the day after halloween and NO WHERE not a damn kid got hurt by an EVIL SEX OFFENDER!

just more proof the whole thing is a FRAUD on the citizens of this country!

and grits i disagree with this statement!

"Are there other high-risk probationers on your rolls who merit special attention that night? Almost certainly. But to me you're focusing extra supervision on those least likely to offend while diverting resources from more serious risks and downplaying the opportunity costs. It's not just that it's stupid and wasteful, it's actually counterproductive."


Personally i think it's CRIMINAL and should bring criminal charges

rodsmith said...

as for the EX sex offenders who have posted here talking about rude nazi's in the sheriff's office.....hell walk in with a baseball bat on your shoulder and announce your there to register. But you are ALSO AN AMERICAN CITIZEN and have no problem knocking the teeth out of anyone who decides to disrespect that! NO MATTER WHAT COSTUME THEY HAVE ON!


no law gives them the right to do that...call them on it!


if you wear glasses i'd recomend one of the new sets that has HD recording capability will make a wonderful exhibit at the civil rights lawsuit!

rodsmith said...

P.O. you think the registry is a waste of time. NO SHIT! what we have now is also ILLEGAL and UNCONSTUTIONAL based on the U.S. Supreme Courts 2002 decision!

look it up sometime. the shock that your enforcing an illegal law might kill you!

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/01-729.ZS.html

"Also unavailing is that court’s assertion that the periodic update requirement imposed an affirmative disability. The Act, on its face, does not require these updates to be made in person. The holding that the registration system is parallel to probation or supervised release is rejected because, in contrast to probationers and supervised releasees, offenders subject to the Act are free to move where they wish and to live and work as other citizens, with no supervision."

Jim Stott said...

Scott, if law enforcement is diverting resources to check up on low level sex offenders, I totally agree with you that it is very counter productive. It is however, not the case here locally. We have "ride outs" with the local PD only on high risk SO cases on Halloween. Which, fortunately, is very few. I guess the process of LE involvement and group sessions on Halloween being counterproductive and a waste of time is in the eye of the beholder. The group we have at the department on Halloween is the regular therapy group, not a special one called just for Halloween. I can only speak for our local department, but from the calls I receive, it makes the public feel a little safer, however statistically wrong it may be. Therefore it's going to happen.

Janice Harris said...

Anon 2:41 - I'd like to say I'm surprised by your posting but I'm not. I'm truly sorry. Our society is committing a gross injustice to those listed as SO's and their loved ones. And $35.00 to watch a movie...you'd think you'd at least get to watch a new release!!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

With respect, Jim, it's certainly going to happen so long as those in charge of the system are afraid to tell the truth to the public and pander to baseless fear and ignorance instead of confronting it.

Also, if your guys are doing rideouts for RSOs but NOT doing them for, say, repeat DWIs or other high-risk non-SO probationers, then I think the opportunity cost issue still applies.

That said, at least you're not just charging $35 for a movie.

A Texas PO said...

Scott, it appears that, whenever CSCDs have SOs report on Halloween, there is an assumption that all of the resources of the CSCD are being diverted solely to that task. I can't speak for all CSCDs, but my own department certainly doesn't do this. The sex offender program officer and a volunteer from the Sheriff's Office, as well as a counselor, are involved. All of the other officers continue their work as usual. We had several officers out last night after the trick-or-treaters were snug in their beds checking on those other high-risk offenders, the same way we do the other 364 days of the year. That part always seems to get lost during the hullaballoo over this particular issue. If there are CSCDs diverting all of their resources towards this one area, that's poor leadership.

It's been great being a part of this comment thread!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It has been quite an exceptional comment thread, hasn't it TX PO? :)

Jim Stott said...

We do ride outs for ALL high risk offenders, Scott.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

On Halloween, Jim, or just over the course of the year?

Jim Stott said...

All during the year, including Halloween, Christmas, Columbus Day and Yom Kippur. We had ride out's on the gang bangers right along with the HR sex offenders last night. Just because the media focuses on sex offender cases doesn't mean we limit ours.

Anonymous said...

well news media was at ours. was on the 10pm news. its a violation of the constitutional rights of a american. how the hell can they do this? who is actually over the probations offices? most seem to have total immunity from anything!

Anonymous said...

May I ask, Do you use the HIGH risk assigned by the Registry? If so, then you have to watch alot of people that may or may not be HIGH risk at all.

I've met some who were Romeo's that were classified High Risk due to the charge at the time. No one ever goes back to look at the people that have Sex Assault charges from the 80's and 90's that were Romeo's in actuality.. All they see is the charge given them by some fast on the draw DA that wanted to get on the band wagon earlier than other places.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see these folks face a group of sex offender victim advocates...

Begginning to wonder if this profound thinking is the product of combining student/teacher dope smoking with marxism. No wonder people are pissed about the cost of college education.

Anonymous said...

is it true that sex offenders cannot associate with other offenders. So,whats with all S/O going down to the probation office on halloween night this was i Midlando

A Texas PO said...

Anon 4:08- Most CSCDs (all with the exception of 2 or 3, I believe) utilize the TDCJ-CJAD approved Wisconsin Risk/Needs assessment tool and the Strategies for Case Supervision (SCS) assessment tool to determine risk level and supervision focus. The assessment results, as well as criminal history, probation compliance, treatment progress, and other factors are taken into consideration to determine risk. Each CSCD has its own contact standards based on risk level.

Anon 5:03- A standard condition of probation in TCCP Art. 42.12 Sec. 11(a) states, "Avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character..." Most CSCDs have interpreted this to mean anyone under indictment, who has been convicted, who is on probation or parole, or has ever been in trouble with the law for anything higher than a class c misdemeanor, with the exception of immediate family members. Obviously when a probationer reports to the probation office, s/he will come into contact with other probationers. Thus, CSCDs have also interpreted this restriction to mean while the probationer is on his/her own time. Reporting for any probation function (group reporting, Halloween, community service projects, etc) are not considered a violation under this condition.

Jim- Amen. The high risk probationer focus is a 24/7/365 affair in our house, and in most other CSCDs as well.

Anonymous said...

Jim Stott said...
"I've never heard any of them complain about the requirement."
That is because they are scared. You have no idea the fear SOs have when dealing with belligerent bullying law officers.

It is a felony to miss a registration appointment, but like pulling teeth to get an appointment. The registration office sets registration appointment past the registration due date and there is nothing the SO can do about it. The officers will not register you without an appointment.

Never complain, indeed! SOs are at the officers mercy, you insensitive boob.

A Texas PO said...

Anon 6:17 said: "SOs are at the officers mercy, you insensitive boob."

You can make your point without being childish and calling people names. Attack the idea or the comment, not the person.

Not every PD or SO has registration officers that make it their goal in life to treat RSOs like dirt. If there is a specific agency that is scheduling registration appointments after the registration deadline, then a complaint needs to be filed with the chief or sheriff. If that solves nothing, then the mayor/city council or county commissioners need to know. It's not "failure to register" if they were given an appointment after the registration deadline by the registering authorities, and if charges are filed, a first year law school student could rip that charge to shreds in 10 seconds.

There were 85 comments before yours and no one called anybody a name. Don't bring this blog down by being childish.

Anonymous said...

Curious about these "ride outs" and where it is in the law books that rso's must be looked into even though they have checked in with the authorities on the dates they are supposed to. Isn't this criminal? Isn't it illegal? WHY are we wasting time on the least-likely FORMER people who have a "sex" offense and are not likely to re-offend? As a Texas citizen, I'm outraged and when does the public rule the law based on no evidence? Shouldn't there be evidence before making laws??

I was once a teen. What I did as a teen GIRL would now have locked up 9 or so fellas that I dated. Why? Because I dated only guys in their 20's when I was 15 and 16. KISSING is now Sexual Assault of a Child, lifetime registration...what's up with that???

If we need a registry (which we do not and it is unconstitutional, I agree) - why not just lock up those psychopaths (any of them, not just "sex" crimes) and get them real help? The 5% bad guys are hurting the 95% who never re-offend!

SHAME on Texas Legislators. They KNOW it's a broken system yet too many are profiting for them to admit it openly (and even though one has (Whitmire), he did nothing to help these guys suffering, trying to raise their children and get a home and a job.

A Texas PO said...

Anon 7:16- "Ride outs" or home visits are typically only conducted on those on probation or parole. Some PDs and Sheriff's Offices check on RSOs occasionally just to make sure that nothing has changed or when they receive complaints from nosy neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Here is my story about my husband's experience last night with a "Compliance Check" on Halloween.

My husband is no longer on any form of supervision (for his crime he does NOT have a victim). He went through several years of supervision, took six polygraphs and passed them all, never had any victims in his past and never had any kind of issue while on probation. He is classified as low risk.

Last night, we decided to not be at home for Halloween since we didn't want trick-or-treators knocking on our door, which is his right as he is no longer on probation. However, he receives a call on his cell phone from a local district attorney's office representative wanting to know why he wasn't at home. After he told this person that he was no longer required to stay at home on Halloween and that he was out with his family, this same person again wanted to know where he was and when he would be home. My husband politely told him he didn't have to tell him where he was and that he was in full compliance with the state registration laws and it was his right to be away from his house that night. When we arrived home a couple of hours later, there was a knock on our door, and it wasn't the local police, but rather three federal marshals looking for him for a compliance check. We have two very small children and it was late at night. One of our children later asked why there were three policemen at the door so late looking for their daddy....and it apparently scared our child. I think the DA’s office sent three marshals to our house because he stood up for his rights. It was a way to intimidate and scare him.

I guess the point I am trying to make is....when does the harassment stop? If the police are so concerned about protecting children, then why is there no concern about the safety and welfare for the children OF sex offenders? They are certainly not concerned about the harassment our family receives from our neighbors, which affects our children. They turn a blind eye to this when we file a complaint.

As it was stated numerous times in the comments on this article, the whole S.O. Halloween compliance check is just grandstanding, but there are consequences of these checks upon the children of S.O.'s.

Scott…..as a note to you, my husband didn’t want me to tell this story as he is afraid of some kind of retailiation from the local police or the DA’s office should they read this and determine who this is about, but I told him we need to start speaking out and that your blog is the best place to start.

Anonymous said...

Jim Scott, you admit that very few registered sex offenders are high risk. Then why are precious resources wasted policing the vast majority who pose no threat to children or anyone else? In a senate hearing in June 2010, the DPS representative stated that only about 12% of those listed in Texas pose a risk to the commmunity. How can you or anyone justify the waste, not to mention the hell the "offender" and his family live through daily?

Anonymous said...

I am a RSO on a JUVENILE level at the age of 29. I committed my act when I was 14. The state of Texas deemed me to be a high risk.... Since that false assessment, I have not even thought of re-offending. In fact, I never possess any sort of devious thought. I will expose the dirty truths behind forced sex offender treatment programs. What you are about to see will shock you. You see folks, sex offender treatment centers like to keep in business. So they falsify information to keep themselves afloat. Think about it for a few seconds..... Sex offenders are a few numbered compared to other crimes. And also lets compare that in a lot of cases, treatment is not a requirement. But when it is, its a very costly method and ruins a reputation.

I will talk about my occurrences at Seguin Family Institute located in Seguin Tx. That place will force you to admit things that are not true. They force you to take polygraphs in which you initially fail the first time to keep the deceiving polygrapher in business. They have this program that causes a stir and scare among people that dont exist. Put it point blank, it is designed to fail a few times so they stay in business. But dont just take my word for it..... I am assessed as a "high" risk to re-offend. 15 years later, I have proven them wrong. The problem is, nobody will hire me since they see that dirty little picture on the internet. But dont worry, I will always remember these employers like Wal-Mart, Sears and Fedex.... These employers wont get my business since they are jusging me for what I did at 14. But then again, Texas is just about the only state that keeps juvenile registrants on the internet for the world to see. Most states dont even place juveniles on the registry.

Being that said, I wonder how many legislature members that have ancestors that committed acts of "Romeo and Juliet" acts that helped create their family trees but yet exempt them from the laws they create! Love the government!

BTW, when my registration expires, I will hope to find an attorney that will sue the County that convicted me AND, DPS for loading false information. They falsely state I am a high risk AND it took 4 years for me to get DPS to accurately state the victims age. They originally stated my victim was 3 years old instead of the truthful 10 years of age.

So now you have the truth about the sex offender registry program and the treatment programs it represents. A big money making fraud!

Anonymous said...

Texas PO, maybe you could meet with us and answer questions that we as family members might have. I would love for you to attend a TX Voices meeting. We are families that have loved ones on the registry. In many counties (Johnson and Parker for example), the po's are abusive bullies to the families and the rso. We have no recourse and everyone is afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation and revocation.
Treatment providers are a whole different form of evil. They suck us dry and could care less about rehabilitation. They care only about how much money they make and how long they can make us pay up.
Probation officers, treatment providers and polygraphers are all in bed together. They intimidate, coerce and mentally attack us and our loved ones on a routine basis.
One day we will all come together and there will be hell to pay for all of you that have made us feel like we are scum.
Family member of an rso.
Cathy

rodsmith said...

"Last night, we decided to not be at home for Halloween since we didn't want trick-or-treators knocking on our door, which is his right as he is no longer on probation. However, he receives a call on his cell phone from a local district attorney's office representative wanting to know why he wasn't at home. After he told this person that he was no longer required to stay at home on Halloween and that he was out with his family, this same person again wanted to know where he was and when he would be home. My husband politely told him he didn't have to tell him where he was and that he was in full compliance with the state registration laws and it was his right to be away from his house that night. When we arrived home a couple of hours later, there was a knock on our door, and it wasn't the local police, but rather three federal marshals looking for him for a compliance check. We have two very small children and it was late at night. One of our children later asked why there were three policemen at the door so late looking for their daddy....and it apparently scared our child. I think the DA’s office sent three marshals to our house because he stood up for his rights. It was a way to intimidate and scare him."

Lucky nazi's at My House that would have resulted in three DEAD marshall's and a soon to be dead nazi DA. i assume anyone skuling around my house at night a danger and a personal threat till proven diff. Of course only way to prove this is to be laying on the ground. Sorry NOBODY doing shit like this after dark without a warrant deserves to live!

need to get the retards out of the gene pool before they can breed!

Anonymous said...

FACT.... Cost to an offender to get placed on the Scarlet Letter registry... Free

FACT..... Cost to an offender to request to be removed from the registry: Over $1500 and more if it requires psychological exams.

FACT: Texas does not give a damn about justice. If they did, they would not charge for these services.

There are some groups of people who will be burning in hell for the lives they have destroyed. From the liars that placed a registrant on the registry, to the asshole who enforces a senseless Gestapo tactic

Adolf Hitler lives through the Texas Legislature!

A Texas PO said...

Cathy, I'd love to answer any questions that you, or anyone else associated with Texas Voices, have. However, my own sense of self-preservation gives me pause. As Scott has noted in the past, the reason he allows anonymous posting on comment threads is because there are many who work in criminal justice who try to speak out against wrong-doing in the system and then lose their jobs and livelihood over it. My family relies on my meager salary. That may be cowardly, but it's the truth. In my time as a PO, I've seen many good things and have worked with truly honest, straight-forward people who, like myself, have dedicated their lives to being the best POs they can be with the ultimate goal of helping probationers make positive changes. But I've also seen the other side, those folks who probably should be working in corrections or on the street as cops. I've come across people in the profession who think that treatment and therapy are "hug-a-thug" programs. I am glad, however, that a majority of the good folks in probation are the former, although we are all defined, like police officers, by the latter.

To be clear, I am not a sex offender officer. I am not an expert on registration laws or sex offender stipulations, but I have worked closely with my department's sex offender officer on several cases and have received several complaints about how that part of the specialized unit is handled. In my experience, there are times when the officer has much more information about the probationer's compliance or treatment progress than the family has any knowledge. I in no way am saying that this is always the case, but there have been many times when the probationer was not fully upfront with his/her family about everything that has been going on, and the family only sees the officer's reaction to those issues. POs are also closely scrutinized when it comes to confidentiality issues and we cannot always disclose all of the information we have to families. There is absolutely no excuse for verbal abuse or harassment, and I make it a point never to step close to that line, but I have also been accused of this behavior by doing my job and calling a spade exactly what it is. Sometimes we have to be brutally honest with our probationers in order for them to see what they are doing wrong. Sometimes they just cannot see it. And often that conflict is perceived as the officer not giving a damn.

Now, obviously I am generalizing, but this is all based on my own experience and observation. There is a complaint process that can be followed in every jurisdiction. If you have been harassed, abused, or bullied by a PO, you should definitely contact the CSCD's director and express your concerns. If this fails, filing a complaint with TDCJ-CJAD would be my next step:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Community Justice Assistance Division
Attn: Carey Welebob, Director
209 W. 14th Street, Suite #400
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 305-9300

Jim Stott said...

Texas PO is right. If there is a problem with the way you feel you are being treated, there is a process you can go through to report it. Sex offenders, regardless of their offense, have a stigma associated with them that have them linked to a HR offender. Always have. I'm not sure that a whole lot can be done about perception. That's one reason for the Halloween groups being conducted across the state. Probation officers are supposed to be non judgemental, but we are no different than anyone else. If we appear to be insensitive boobs to some, it's not because of the compliant offenders, which most sex offenders are, it's because of the ones who are not, and are taking up a vast majority of our time. Great thread Scott......

Anonymous said...

the new static 99 that texas uses was updated last year. it is still illegal but they use it. i had a new one done, moved me from medium risk to low level or 0. but the p.o.s will not send it to austin until your probation is over. so why use it in the first place if the state does not update the findings? again its pure total control.

Anonymous said...

TX PO, it is not true that families don't know what's going on. Many are chaparones and hear everything. There is no confidentiality issue. There are some sex offender PO's that act human, but not many.
Most guys are just trying to survive, not make even more trouble for themselves. Those PO's, quite often femi-nazis, are pure evil.

Anonymous said...

My sons sex offender po advised me that it could be detrimental to my son because of my affiliation with TX voices. I was seriously offended and angered. I am sure that not all pos are inhumane, but a lot of them are. I am speaking strictly from a family point of view.
I did not know there was a way to complain on a probation officer. I am glad for the info.

Anonymous said...

My son will never be without a recorder again and neither will I. I am poster 7:20.
From now on every encounter with them will be recorded.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:36-

Thanks for the post.

It exposes the whole self-aggrandizing tone of the SO subject.

Do you get up and the morning and think -- 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help?'

[self-aggrandizement = The act or practice of enhancing or exaggerating one's own importance, power, or reputation]

Anonymous said...

Another good phrase to comprehend and better yet, put into practice is...SELF GOVERNANCE

If peole exercised their right to govern themselves and their behavior in a manner that doesn't harm others... well this thread wouldn't even exist would it. Along with expanding penal system.

Different Countries deal with people who don't govern themselve in a variety of ways. Caining, cutting off hands, limbs, fingers... all sorts of inhumane punishment many times without due process. The USA still has due process whereby every RSO and any other offender type could have gone the distance to fight for their "innocense." And even if you are guilty the process still safeguards against punishment that is not approved "by the people." If you weren't guilty of some type of crime why are you on probation or in prison. Before you acted you obviously knew there would be some consequences? Almost sounds like a number of people are saying... its ok to cheat at cards unless you get caught. And now that I am caught, I want everyone to hear my whine about being a victim???

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 07:33, your post is without merit and it appears you don't seem to get the gist of what everyone is commenting about or even what Scott's original blog was talking about.

Hi blog and on this subject and the comments is about fearmongering and demagoguery enacted upon the people of this state and country by local police departments, media outlets and politicians. This article is NOT about people saying their punishment is unfair...it's about the whole boogey man sex offender on Halloween that will snatch your kid.

This is about fearmongering and you totally missed the point.

And as far as your comments about consequences and whining, I always thought that once you paid your debt to society then you should be allowed to get on with your life and try to be a productive citizen? Obviously you don't believe in this philosophy.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say a few things about PO'S , as a mentor for sex-offenders and their groups I see many different PO'S, some really want the offender to succeed and others want to revoke them for any minor tech. I am involved in 3 counties in Texas and all 3 counties have their own rules, which is part of the problem. One county does not have a sex-offender round up on Halloween and also does not have any problems with the offenders, they really want them to succeed and become a model citizen. Then the other 2 counties rule with an IRON fist and keep the offenders so beaten down that unfortunately many will never be productive again, stay depressed, isolated. What a difference a Stern but fair PO has on the life of their probationer. YES there are people out there that will hurt children but the registry is not going to keep them safe.

Anonymous said...

This Halloween’s big sex crime news story out of Carrollton Texas that resulted in the murder of a 10 year old girl was done by a respected family member who was not on the registry, or on the radar for that matter. Unfortunately he is said to be an illegal alien from Mexico, another target group of the ruling WASP party denigrate/attack.
It’s sad for the victim, the victims family, and the perverts family. BTW, his boss was interviewed and said he was a good employee.
Sad part is all those good wasp have a illegitimate excuse to go vigilante on the less pale people of their city like their neighbors in Farmers Branch and Irving have done.

How do you deal with the unemployment of mindless drones with varying levels of hall monitor syndrome? Send them to Texas where they can work in corrections.

Anonymous said...

I know this article is about Halloween but since Texas PO has found the time in their busy schedule to post I would like to comment on things that are wrong with the system.
First the rules the probationer or parolee have to go by should be what type of crime occurred , I see men and women that cannot be around their own children even when it did not involve one of their own or children at all. Now this makes no sense because the children suffer without a parent and it divides the household, makes for a extra expense for two households to be established which under the circumstances of limited income because of the stigma of being on the registry makes having a good job nearly impossible. Strange as a condition of probation or parole you must hold a job, but many cannot find work because they are on the registry, Catch 22. So many are set up to fail before they even start, I thought this was about rehabilitation and reentry? What good does it do to put a Young women or men on the registry for life knowing in advance they are against all most impossible odds? I would think that common sense would say if you are put on deferred probation when you complete your term you should be allowed off the registry or not even placed on it unless you are revoked. Deferred is not supposed to be a conviction but we all know that was another lie told by the courts.
I would also think that all low risk offenders could be taken off, although I am against the registry for many reasons. If you are such a danger to the public then you need to be in prison, but let’s face it that might be only 10% of the registry, the rest are little or no risk and are trying very hard to get their life back together, most are very remorseful of the harm they caused as I have witnessed by attending the many groups each week. My personal feeling is the Sex-offender registry is not working, keeps the offenders beaten down, stigmatize and unable to move forward with their life when they complete their punishment.
Do we really need that many unhealthy individuals which have little or no hope?

Anonymous said...

And since we are on the subject, let us address the issues of some of the so called treatment providers.
First there are many treatment providers that will keep the probationer in treatment for the full length of his or her probation, does not matter how you progress you will not get out, it is their meal ticket. Then some of the polygraph givers will fail you are say it was inconclusive so the offender has to retest and pay another fee. These are facts and I have seen these types of actions many times, it is all about the money. Luckily 2 counties that I help mentor with replaced their so called treatment providers and ended up with a very fair and honest one who helped changed many life’s for the good.
As a general rule the system is broken, I see it daily. Yes there are some very fair POS and treatment providers out there but they are few and far between. The media is also to blame for all the misinformation and outright lies, but the people in charge (probation and parole departments) should learn to use some common sense in enforcing the rules.

Anonymous said...

Typically when threads rage on this long, grits will say something like..."Do you have any data or studies to back that up?" Bizarre how people are just really talking out their ass like there is no tomorrow. Yet not once has anyone been challenged to back up any of these statements. This is truelly make it up as you go and it is by god the gospel?
WTH

Anonymous said...

7:33 there is no whining in these posts about being a victim. You should read grits more often and you would know that THERE ARE INNOCENT PEOPLE IN PRISON AND ON PROBATION. You should read this blog again. You should attempt to educate yourself on the issue before speaking out. This is a complex issue and unless you are a family member or someone required to register you really do not have a clue about the sex offender issue.
Many of the exonerations in TX were wrongly accused and sent to prison for a sex offense.

Anonymous said...

Texas PO, would you please get hold of TX voices, Mary Sue. Lets work together with you on productive and positive change. We would love that. It is a shame you must keep quiet about the truth for fear of losing your job. You could help us understand your job and maybe you could learn about what we as families must deal with because of your job.
I AM GAME, HOW ABOUT YOU?
Cathy