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Fighting Crime

 

Sex Offender Registry Will Include Offender’s Employer

In an effort to better inform communities of the whereabouts of resident sex offenders, Texas will add information about the offender’s employment to the Department of Public Safety Web Site.

Currently the Texas Department of Public Safety Web site provides each offender’s name, date of birth, home address, a physical description and photos. The information also includes the victim’s age and gender. Starting as early as June of this year, each offender’s place of employment and job title will be added according to Tela Mange, spokeswoman for the DPS.

While some believe the job information will be an important tool for fighting crime, others are concerned that making places of employment available easily accessible could present a barrier for offenders who are trying to succeed.


Helga Dill, chairwoman of Texas Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, said that convicted felons already have difficulty finding jobs, but when the information is public, "these employers are not going to even look at the capability of this offender." According to Dill, posting specific information about jobs could be potentially "devastating."


Rebecca Bernhardt, director of policy development for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said the fundamental issue is whether providing employment information "makes us more safe or less safe."


"If it leads to offenders losing their jobs, that's destabilizing — even in anybody's life. And if we're concerned about the risk of folks re-offending, being less connected, not having gainful employment, not having a roof over your head — these are things that put people in a more vulnerable position if they're susceptible to having run-ins with the law."


State Attorney General Greg Abbott has said employment status and location for registered sex offenders are public information and Mange says, “the more information people have about who may potentially have access to their children, the better that is."


In addition to adding job information to the registry, the changes will also let people sign up for e-mail alerts when an offender moves into their neighborhood."

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Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com
Source: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com


 

 


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