Below is a letter sent on behalf of the Florida Action Committee by our president, Gail Colletta to WPTV, a local Palm Beach County station. The letter asks why the station keeps spewing out unbalanced, sensationalized stories when it comes to sex offender issues. Let’s see if they have the courage to respond.
WPTV Reporters and Producers,
As a long time viewer of your station I am growing more and more concerned regarding the lack of impartiality I am hearing in your reporting, especially when it comes to sex offender stories. I have been a viewer since 1994 when John and Roxanne just got there. I get the sensationalism which goes along with getting folks to tune in, what I don’t get is why you’re not reporting the whole story and the facts as are reported through empirical evidence on this population.
Not all “offenders” pose a public safety risk. Not all registered citizens are a danger nor are all those labeled any different than anyone else who has made a mistake.
Once someone has paid their debt to society they should be given the opportunity to be restored to the community.
Residency restrictions do not increase public safety, they in fact increase potential risk.
Research is very clear that stable housing, employment, connection to community and family lower risk.
This holds true for anyone, it’s a basic human need.
So if we continue to isolate former “offenders” and push them either to homelessness or to go underground we are setting us all up to fail.
Why are you not telling the entire story?
I commend Palm Beach County Commissioners for being courageous and taking a step in the right direction and changing the current ordinance to eliminate some of the homelessness in our county.
6.7% of offenses against a victim under the age of 18 is by a stranger. (all of our legislation is targeted at this)
93%+ of all offenders are known to their victim.
48.7% are in positions of authority or are friends or acquaintances of their victims of which 46.8% are under the age of 18.
35.7% are in the victims family, either a blood relation or related through marriage. Of which 46.5% are victims under the age of 18.
15.6% are strangers to their victims of which 6.7% of the victims are under the age of 18.
And even more concerning is 24.6% of all sex offenders are they themselves under the age of 18.
95% of offenders are first time offenders, they are not on the registry, they are not subject to residency restriction and they will not show up as a “bad guy” on a back ground check.
So how do we protect our children?
Educate the families as to what to look for, provide additional services to at risk families and act as a community. Until we have a real public conversation about this issue the cycle of abuse will not be broken. Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, is the definition of “insanity”.
It seems to me there is so much more to the news worthiness of this issue and there are so many real experts on the subject that doing “man on the street” interviews with uninformed citizens and legislators who use this issue to drive public fear and self-promote themselves, is just continuing the fear factor. You should be reporting on the truth and make a real difference.
The entire sex offender management scheme is based on flawed assumptions and is actually creating less safe communities placing our children and citizens at greater risk, spending huge sums of tax payer dollars without getting a return on our investment.
It’s time to discuss prevention and breaking the cycle of abuse. Stop vengeful legislation, support victims to survivors and restore citizens and families, as well as sentence and punish people based on real culpability and actual risk. We have the tools. The public should demand their legislators get the experts involved and stop listening to all of the emotional lobbying, stop allowing isolated, yet heinous events drive our society and policy.
For every $1 spent on prevention we save $34 in criminal justice.
For every 1% reduction in recidivism we save $8 million…
I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the facts.