Jail or a Shelter – In a Time of Need
First off Registrants have known about this law in many States for several years. The fact is a jail can survive a Cat 5 or less Hurricane much better than a shelter in a school. Plus the fact a jail has vending machines, hot food available, bathrooms, showers, local TV news, phones and most likely not to lose power etc. And as harsh as it sounds, a registrant is not going to jail per say, simply being sheltered there and will not be housed in a cell or behind bars. The waiting / reception area in my nearest jail is used. Blankets and cots are supplied and there are volunteer jail staff caregivers available. Be aware that all your belonging will be searched and your ID will be checked and possibly taken until you decide to leave. You will not be able to come and go and must abide by your County’s laws of Natural disaster enforcement so until the all clear is received then you can go home.
Now here is where the laws have it backwards. First off a offender is most likely never going to offend in a environment with so many witness’s around. And importantly as we know that so called offender would most likely be a friend of the family or one that knows the victim. A registrant, one that is already being watched by the State is even more likely not to re-offend especially in a public place. Its not the registrants the State need to watch in a natural disaster, its the unknown offender that may use the situation to commit a crime. I have not heard of a single case of a registrant re-offending in a shelter. Of course the State would argue that the sex offender laws are working. But in fact when in a shelter with your family you need to keep an eye on that long lost uncle that has come to visit rather than any registrant nearby.
But as I stated initially I’m cool with the jail intake as a guest of the state. You will not be mixed with other inmates and nobody will know you are a offender. Its the same here in Florida. I would expect if we had a major Hurricane hit leaving thousands homeless the State may have no choice but to temp resend the law regarding offenders not being allowed in shelters. JEV – True Confessions – NARSOL Digest