New York Is Holding Sex Offenders Who Can’t Find Housing Years Past Their Release Dates | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

The state of New York has been holding some convicted sex offenders unable to find housing on the outside years past their prison release dates.

Jory Smith was first sent to prison in 2015 after he was convicted of sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl. His prison sentence was supposed to be up in August 2020, but three years later, he remains incarcerated at the Fishkill Correctional Facility.

“I have not been convicted and sentenced for a new crime,” Jory Smith told the New York Focus and the Nation. “I am left to languish.”

Smith and others like him are legally classified as parolees, but continue to live in correctional facilities where they are treated like any other inmate.

New York law requires that sex offenders remain incarcerated either until they find a place to live or their parole is up. Anyone convicted of a crime against a minor and anyone who is considered at risk of reoffending cannot live within 1,000 feet of a school during their parole. In an urban area like New York City, finding housing that complies with these requirements is challenging. 

In the past, some parolees were sent to homeless shelters – even those within 1,000 feet of a school – but beginning in the 2000s, officials began to challenge this policy. 

By 2014, 256 of New York City’s 270 shelters were off limits to sex offenders. The state now houses some parolees inside correctional facilities until spots open up in the remaining eligible shelters.

Within months of the initial decision to restrict housing in homeless shelters, the state of New York was hit with lawsuits from convicted sex offenders. In one 2014 lawsuit, the Legal Aid Society described the situation as “the wholesale warehousing of sex offenders,” according to the New York Times.

Civil liberties advocates have continued to criticize the policy. Last April, the New York Civil Liberties Union argued that affordable housing, mental health care and education would be more effective than continued housing restrictions.

“It’s very sensitive — people have very emotional reactions to sex offenders,” James Bogin, a senior supervising attorney at Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, told the Nation and New York Focus. 

“The idea that the end of the sentence doesn’t mean anything, that it doesn’t even lead to any change in your circumstance, is pretty unbelievable.”

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