Category Archives: Housing Sex Offenders

Residency restrictions for sex offenders struck down

On Friday, August 28, the MA Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling that struck down residency restrictions for sex offenders.  This Boston Globe article reported:

Cities and towns cannot ban sex offenders from living near parks and schools, the state’s high court said Friday, in a sharply worded ruling that could invalidate local laws in 49 municipalities from Springfield to Fall River.

The Supreme Judicial Court’s unanimous decision likened the restrictions to two dark chapters in American history: the forcible removal of Indian tribes in the 19th century and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

“Except for the incarceration of persons under the criminal law and the civil commitment of mentally ill or dangerous persons, the days are long since past when whole communities of persons, such as Native Americans and Japanese-Americans, may be lawfully banished from our midst,” Justice Geraldine S. Hines wrote.

Read more here.

The Network’s Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories applauds this decision as an important step in the direction of evidence-based policy that will promote the greatest public safety for all.

 

 

 

Housing Sex Offender Work Group Update

Earlier this month, the legislature held hearings on bills that would prohibit Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living in public and subsidized housing or emergency shelter or motels.  The Network submitted testimony in opposition to these bills which you can read here.  The Springfield Republican also covered the issue in this article, quoting our resident (and work group) expert Dr. Laurie Guidry.

The Network also submitted recommendations for next steps to the Special Commission to Reduce Sex Offender Recidivism as follow-up to our May 28 presentation.  You can find that here.

We will meet next to continue our work on this issue on:
Wed., September 9
1:30 – 2:30 pm
Northampton Senior Center
67 Conz Street, Northampton

Webinar Invite: Landlord Recruitment/Engagement – Best Practices [Zero 2016]

As part of Zero 2016, Community Solutions is offering a webinar series on best practices for recruiting and engaging landlords. With our widespread use of rapid rehousing and tenant-based permanenent supportive housing models, we need to be sure that we are engaging and supporting our landlord partners. The webinars will present best practices from communities with successful models.

Please feel free to join one or more of the calls:

Module 1: Building Local Infrastructure (a.k.a. Building the Runway)

Module 2: Sharing Effective Outreach Strategies 1 (Mayor-Led Events, Outreach to Large, Medium, Small Companies)

Module 3: Sharing Effective Outreach Strategies 2 (Outreach to Apartment Rental Associations, Faith Communities, Civic Organizations, Real Estate Agents, Working with a local PHA)

CALL-IN INFO FOR ALL CALLS:

  • Phone Number: 646-661-2933
  • Meeting Room Code: 1413051
  • Participant Access Code provided in a pop-up window when you enter the virtual room
  • PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO ENTER PARTICIPANT ACCESS CODE

Housing People With Sex Offense Histories – 6/10/15

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