The Dobbs Wire: It didn’t have to end this way. One month ago today, Hector Rodriguez died in a New York City jail. He was homeless and locked up for failing to keep his sex offense registration updated. Reuven Blau and Rosa Goldensohn tell this story well with lots of sources and context for The City, a new and feisty non-profit newsroom that covers New York City. Can you pay a price for wrongdoing and move on with life? Have a look at their report! -Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire. If you or a friend would like to be added to The Dobbs Wire email list, drop us a line: [email protected] Twitter: @thedobbswire
The City | July 20, 2020
Homeless Man Jailed for Failing to Put Address on Sex Offender Registry Dies at Rikers
By Reuven Blau and Rosa Goldensohn
Excerpts: On March 4, Hector Rodriguez was sent to Rikers Island because he failed to log his address with state’s sex offender registry — even though he had been homeless for years. Rodriguez died June 21 on his jail bed, while struggling to breathe during a severe asthma attack, according to Correction Department records and a family lawyer. He was 60 years old and had contracted COVID-19 in April, the lawyer said.
For criminal justice reform advocates and even one city group that represents victims, Rodriguez’s death behind bars underscored what they called outmoded and unjust restrictions people convicted of sex crimes must comply with after being released from prison. Rodriguez was convicted of raping a woman inside an abandoned Bronx building in 1979, when he was a teenager.
He spent 23 years in prison and has been on the Sex Offender Registry since his release. “He died in a jail where he was put because he didn’t tell someone he was homeless? What kind of society does that?” asked Vincent Schiraldi, who served as probation commissioner during the Giuliani administration. “At some point, this guy deserves to have some modicum of freedom,” added Schiraldi, the co-director of the Columbia University Justice Lab. MORE: