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Archive for June 1st, 2009

James McKinney, a level 3 sex offender, is completing his prison term and needs a place to live.  A state supreme court justice was ready to send him to his mother’s home in North Tonawanda until he reconsidered and decided to send him to an apartment that houses homeless welfare clients.  He decided against sending the man to his mother’s home because “It’s the epitome of a family, suburban residential area. It’s not appropriate [for McKinney].”

Certainly this man poses a threat to whatever community he moves to.  The judge even found in his trial that this man “had a mental abnormality” but the judge “decided against committing him.”  Understandably, the judge feels it is inappropriate to allow McKinney to move back to his mother’s home.  But for this judge it is apparently more appropriate to send him to a city of Niagara Falls apartment that may be housing homeless families.  Every family, regardless of income, deserves to feel safe in the place that they live.  Just because a family lives in the suburbs and has a higher income does not mean that they should receive preferential treatment when it comes to the placement of sex offenders.

This is a very difficult and unfortunate situation.  But even so, the safety of all people regardless of income must be ensured.  Hopefully the judge will be able to work with the parole officers to find a more appropriate place for Mr. McKinney.

Beyond the safety of homeless people, this story also brings attention to how the criminal justice system deals with sex offenders like McKinney who are finishing up their sentences.

This is not just an isolated issue either.  Over at change.org’s End Homelessness blog, Shannon Moriarty is also talking about homeless sex offenders.  As Moriarty states at the end of her blog post, a more humane way of dealing with homeless sex offenders who are completing their sentences needs to be developed.

High-risk sex offender ordered to live in Falls building housing the homeless

By Thomas J. Prohaska
NEWS NIAGARA REPORTER

LOCKPORT — A sex offender regarded as likely to reoffend because of a “mental abnormality” will live in Niagara Falls, not in his mother’s North Tonawanda home, a judge ruled Wednesday.

(more…)

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