The Dobbs Wire: A report on Florida’s sex offense registry is just out, issued by an agency that works for the state’s lawmakers. Big takeaway – the number of registrants continues to climb and has been increasing for many years. Why? That key question is not answered. According to the report, the state’s registry has more than 73,000 listings. However, the number living in Florida communities is much smaller, less than 29,000. That’s quite a lot of registrants that are classified as living out-of-state, incarcerated, deceased(!), etc. Also in the report are various ways the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is “improving” the registry along with a letter from FDLE claiming the state’s registry is a “valuable public safety tool.” Their statement raises an obvious question, is the registry benefitting public safety? Research – lots of it – indicates registries do NOT improve public safety but this report manages to avoid that important topic. The document does have lots of information including county-by-county registry numbers, a map of counties with residential banishment laws, a timeline of state laws related to the registry, registry demographics, costs registrants must pay, and more details concerning the operation of a 21st century official government blacklist. Here is the Associated Press take on the report, a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate story about homeless issued cover in the report, and a link to the report by The Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. Have a look! -Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire [email protected]
Associated Press via Miami Herald | Dec. 31, 2018
Report: Number of sex offenders living in Florida is growing
By Gary Fineout
The number of sex offenders and predators living in Florida has been rising steadily for more than a decade, according to a new report put together by legislative auditors. The report issued late last week stated that nearly 29,000 registered sex offenders and predators now reside in the state. That’s an increase of 53 percent since 2005, when state legislators first ordered their auditors to review the state’s efforts to keep an up-to-date registry of sex offenders.
The report by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability does not include any explanations for the rise.
Legislative auditors noted that the state’s registry lists more than 73,000 sexual offenders and predators, but the majority of them do not live among the public in Florida. Instead, many of them live in other states or have been sent back to prison. Auditors stated that the typical registered sex offender in Florida was a white, middle-aged male: 75 percent of those on the registry were white, followed by African-Americans at 24 percent. MORE:
WFSU News – NPR (Tallahassee, FL) | Dec. 31, 2018
Jacksonville Leads State In Homeless Sex Offenders (AUDIO)
By Jessica Palombo & Associated Press
Excerpts: Jacksonville has the state’s highest rate of registered sex offenders or predators without a permanent address. Of the 10 Florida counties with the most transient sex offenders per capita, only three have any housing that explicitly welcomes registered offenders, the report notes.
The report by the Legislature’s Office of Policy Analysis and Government Accountability states, “This combination (of factors) can lead to an increase in homelessness, loss of family support, and financial hardship, which are all known to be destabilizing factors. Offenders who lack stability are more likely to reoffend.”
State auditors say other barriers include an increasingly restrictive schedule of required check-ins with local law enforcement, increased restrictions on movement and places where they’re allowed to live, and increasingly harsh punishments for not complying with these rules. As of 2014, transient offenders have to check in every 30 days, and when they don’t, local sheriff’s offices must undertake the time-consuming task of trying to locate them, the report said. For example, some offices reported that it’s difficult to find a transient offender’s campsite in a wooded area and can take several attempts to verify their location.
Around 29,000 registered offenders now call Florida home. The report includes a county-by-county breakdown showing that urban counties had the highest overall number of sex offenders. The report does not include any explanations for the rise. Legislative auditors noted that the state’s registry lists more than 73,000 sexual offenders and predators, but the majority of them do not live among the public in Florida. Instead, many of them live in other states or have been sent back to prison. MORE:
Sex Offender Registration and Monitoring Triennial Review, Dec. 2018
Report issued by The Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability