Sunday, September 6, 2009

Freed rapist's release: Prosecutors want answers

There was a very telling story in today's Chicago Tribune, which touches on the same issues I raised in my column, this week.

Apparently, the state of Illinois does not give life sentences to forcible rapists. Instead, they give shorter terms, and then allow a contractor, called Affiliated Psychologists, to decide if the rapist is too deranged to return to society. If they say he is too dangerous, the rapist can be committed indefinitely to a detention facility.

As I explained in my column, I don't think this is a wise plan. Any man who would grab a stranger, a child or a woman (or in theory a man, but I've never heard of that happening) and raping her or him with extreme violence, such a predator is sick to the core. He can never be trusted to be out on the streets, unless he is so old and physically incapacitated that a 5 year old could fight him off. Barring that, keep these sick bastards locked up till death does us part. If they are released before they are physically incapacitated, they will either rape again, vicitimize another person or try to do so. The numbers don't lie. These men are deranged and irreparable.
Prosecutors plan to meet this week with prison officials on why convicted sex offender Julius Anderson wasn't committed indefinitely to a detention facility after his release from prison. Instead, Anderson was placed on parole this summer, Then he is alleged to have raped two women.

Any time Affiliated Psychologists in Illinois declares someone is no danger, chances are they are wrong.
The case is raising larger questions about a controversial state law that allows Illinois courts to lock up sex offenders even after they have served their prison sentences. Under the 11-year-old law, prosecutors have secured indefinite civil commitments for more than 400 offenders after arguing they had a mental illness and were substantially likely to offend again if released, according to state officials.

What man who would commit one of these crimes is not mentally ill?
Law enforcement officials say such commitments, used in many other states and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, provide a valuable tool to keep the most sexually violent offenders off the streets. But the subjective process of selecting offenders for commitments has raised concerns.

You could eliminate all subjectivity by simply giving each of these guys life without the possibility of parole in the first place.
Affiliated Psychologists has no written protocol for deciding who should be recommended for civil commitment, said Barry Leavitt, its vice president. It draws on risk assessments as well as guidelines established by the state's Sex Offender Management Board. The evaluators also apply their own judgment, striving to balance prisoner rights with public-safety concerns, he said.

I would not blame this company every time for making a mistake when they decide someone can be released. It's inevitable. The problem is ever considering any rapist for release.
The agency recommended against a civil commitment for Anderson, a repeat sexual offender with a history of mental illness who acted out in his 30 years behind bars. Within weeks of his release in June from Big Muddy River Correctional Center, he is alleged to have forced a 25-year-old woman into a gangway at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her. He was also charged last week in a second rape.

However, it is impossible not to blame Affiliated Psychologists for this mistake. If he had mental illness, if he was a repeat offender, you'd have to be a complete idiot to think he should ever walk the streets again.
"When we asked our national experts, 'Are these the most dangerous sex offenders in Illinois?' They said, 'No,' and were puzzled why some of them had been committed," said Ben Wolf, associate legal director of the ACLU of Illinois. "It's a real question: Who gets selected and why?" Wolf said.

The ACLU is ceaseless in its determination to prove that it is an organization which never uses common sense. Anyone who would rape someone is "a dangerous sex offender," who should be locked up -- period.
Affiliated Psychologists is paid $1.2 million a year by Illinois Department of Corrections to perform the evaluations. A single psychologist -- with the help of several assistants -- decides which of the approximately 2,000 sex offenders released from prison each year should be considered for commitment, normally about 100 of the inmates. Then five other psychologists recommend how many of those should confined to the Rushville facility, Leavitt said.

Given the corruption in Illinois -- this is the same state in which politicians were using influence to get their kids into the U of I and where prosecutors were routinely fabricating evidence to get convictions and where the governor apparently was shaking down candidates who wanted to be appointed to Barack Obama's US Senate seat -- it would not surprise me to know that Affiliated is an incompetent company, one which only has this position because it has funded the campaigns of all the right Illinois elected officials.
Leavitt said he felt horrible that Anderson allegedly raped two women on his release from prison. But he remains confident of his firm's abilities and said it takes its responsibilities very seriously.

Maybe he should not be so confident?
A top aide to Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, whose office seeks the civil commitments, said the evaluation process was extremely important but "not a perfect science."

"The cornerstone of the civil commitment process depends on the adequate evaluations and referrals," said Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff. "It rises and falls on the integrity of that piece."

At this point, the evidence should be strong enough for the AG to drop Affiliated as a contractor. What more evidence does she need to understand that its evaluations are inadequate?

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