After Suffolk County, N.Y., housed several homeless sex offenders at a motel, community outrage over the clustering forced officials to investigate how it had happened, and what could be done to prevent it in the future, Newsday reports. Now authorities say the problem has been solved through improved communications between state and local agencies, including the state division of parole, that monitor sex offenders after they serve their time and return to their communities. The report by Suffolk’s Department of Social Services can’t explain how residents are supposed to process and respond to the slew of state-mandated notifications they receive when sex offenders move into their neighborhood.
Given the high rate of sex-offender recidivism, some residents and child protection advocates say it’s not enough to alert communities of a sex offender in their midst. Possible solutions include enhancing post-release supervision beyond parole, counseling, and electronic monitoring to ensure offenders obey the terms of their parole. Some say the best way to protect children from sex offenders is civil commitment, where the most dangerous offenders are held in treatment facilities after prison until they no longer pose a risk to public safety.