Vorige Start Omhoog Volgende

UD study says state wastes millions of dollars on treating low-risk juvenile sex offenders

Newarkpostonline.com, June 25, 2010

An examination of Delaware's approach to juvenile sex offenders finds the need for reform. Research released today shows the system costs taxpayers millions each year, treating many kids as high risk who simply do not fall into that category, while distracting the state from the truly risky offenders.

University of Delaware professor Chrysanthi S. Leon, J.D., Ph.D., will speak about the overuse of sex offender registration and residency laws in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 26 in the opening session of the conference of the national group, Reform Sex Offender Laws.

On Monday June 28, Leon and others will lobby Sen. Tom Carper and other members of Congress to amend the federal Adam Walsh Act, which can withhold funding from states that do not comply with its terms. At noon, Leon will participate in a press conference across from the Hart Senate Office Building, 245 2nd Street, NE.

Leon and Smith College professor David L. Burton, Ph.D., authored, “Net Widening in Delaware: The Overuse of Registration and Residential Treatment for Youth Who Commit Sex Offenses, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Widener Law Review.

Last year, Delaware spent more than $5.1 million to send 62 youths out of state for treatment (FY09). In FY04, that expenditure was $2.9 million. These costs, Leon and Burton say, can only be justified if the youths are serious offenders who cannot be treated in the community and pose high risk of re-offense. But, the Delaware Youth Needs Evaluation, included in the article, shows they are low-to-moderate risk.

Leon and Burton argue Delaware's compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act goes far beyond what is necessary. The unintended consequences of Delaware's registration laws are forcing the state to pay for unneeded treatment out of state. In total, Leon and Burton write,

"the juvenile sex offender registry is the exact opposite of evidence-based corrections."

They say the law needs revision, using methods proven effective in other states. Doing so would not entail new costs to the system. In fact, it would likely provide a cost-savings by properly focusing resources.

Vorige Start Omhoog Volgende