Thursday, May 10, 2007
From seattlepi.com: Though police believe intensive supervision is the surest way to prevent repeat crimes by sex offenders, state Department of Corrections officials have quietly decided to ramp up caseloads for Seattle community corrections officers who oversee the state's largest concentration of high-risk rapists and child molesters.
Daily, these officers visit recently released sex offenders at their homes and workplaces, sometimes spending more than an hour in consultation with each, comparing notes with police and generally monitoring the felons' every move.
Now, they worry, supervision will be cursory, at best.
"In today's world, that's a pretty scary proposition," said Ton Johnson, president of the officers' union.
Johnson might have been thinking of one supervised felon -- a crack-addicted man who called his corrections officer near midnight, sobbing that he'd been living in the bushes of a King County park, planning to rape a little girl. The man had gone so far as to buy a blowup doll, dress it in child's pajamas and practice on it.
Or another client who worked a regular job but occasionally felt he needed to rape somebody. Or another, with a history of violent sex assaults, who lured a woman to a hotel room and, after attempting to rape her, took several bites out of her body.
"The point was to have 25 of these offenders and supervise the heck out of them," said Iris Peterson, a community corrections officer who has spent 15 years working with such felons, all of whom were judged a high risk to reoffend. "They don't just show up at our office once a month and say hi -- these guys take a lot of time, and the concern is that we'll have too many offenders to meaningfully supervise."
In coming months, officials said, Peterson's current caseload of 20 could increase by 50 percent, to 30 offenders.
The move has yet to be formally announced, but Corrections officials said it would be phased in gradually and affect mainly the nine officers working Seattle's high-risk sex offender unit.
"The goal is to bring them into line with similar units elsewhere in the state," said Gary Larson, a spokesman for the agency. "Seattle was the only unit that did not have the caseload levels that would be expected." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]