Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Linda Higgins, Candidate For County Commissioner In District 2, Answers This Blog's Questions About Level Three Sex Offender Concentration In Our Neighborhoods...

Creative stock photo, blog post by John Hoff

In response to a request by this blog to address the issue of Level Three Sex Offender concentration in our neighborhoods, this morning I received the following response from Linda Higgins, who is a candidate for County Commissioner in District 2...

John, this is a rough compilation of our FB conversation the other night. This is not meant to be a “statement,” as you’ve stated on your blog that Blong has issued. It’s just an honest answer.

Concentration of L3SOs isn’t acceptable. It also concentrates poverty, unemployment low job skills, low education. The safety of those who live nearby is in question, and a single community ends up taking a disproportionate share of our entire society’s problems. A major part of the problem with the concentration is that there isn’t a hard and fast definition of concentration.

 The county could do a better job of trying to distribute these guys throughout the county. Hennepin is the county of commit for most (we’re a quarter of the state’s population), so they must originally return to the county. But they concentrate here in North Minneapolis, where rents are cheaper and there are landlords who will rent to them. Supreme Court decision says they have to have flexible housing arrangements. They must come out to their county of commit, but you can’t make them stay there. The county of commit, by the way, is where the crime was committed, not where the criminal is from. So someone from Pine County or Isanti County who commits a crime here in Hennepin must be returned to Hennepin, not where they are actually from.

To distribute them better means that the county should hire someone to be a fulltime housing coordinator for L3SOs. Role would be to work with landlords in other areas to get them to rent to L3SOs. I understand DOC has a pilot project recruiting landlords around the state to rent to this population. I don’t believe any reentry programs include SOs. The organizations don’t want to get involved with them.

DOC should look at funding formulas for Community Corrections Act counties (CCA counties) to recognize jurisdictions that are bearing costs for crimes that require a higher level of supervision. When bank robbers or murderers are off paper, for example, they’re done. L3SOs must register forever. This might give counties more funding to hire someone who would be dedicated to addressing the housing concentration issue.

As we have discussed for a while now, we have not seen the collective political will to fix the issue of concentration because it means others will have to have more in their communities. Any one candidate who says he or she can “fix” the issue is either not being honest or has no idea of how complex the issue really is or does not understand the dynamic that comes along with it (the conundrum you and I have discussed at length). That being said, I think anyone who represents this area at any level MUST work hard at trying to solve the problem. I have done that. I will continue to do that.


JNS blog adds, by way of explanation: The "conundrum" mentioned is the fact any attempt to "de-concentrate" Level Three Sex Offenders means they will have to go somewhere else besides North Minneapolis. Consequently, representatives from "somewhere else" aren't going to help us because THEY certainly don't want more sex offenders, and North Minneapolis doesn't have the political power to make changes all by ourselves. So it seems like we're just stuck. 

If there's a "game changing" solution for our county leaders, I don't have any idea what it would be. As far as other ideas, that is a topic I will write about later.

JNS blog thanks both Blong Yang and Linda Higgins for providing a thoughtful answer in regard to this issue. If either of you have more thoughts on this issue, forward them by email and I will publish those thoughts as quickly as possible. 


Anonymous said...

Higgin's comments don't just apply to sex offenders. A significant number of criminals live on north Minneapolis, because that's where they come from in the first place. After they serve their sentence they go home to NoMi. Drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, burglars, thieves, and general miscreants born and raised in NoMi (or are transplants to NoMi), gang bang in NoMi, go to prison, and return to NoMi. That's just the cycle of poverty because these homies can't get jobs. So they do what they can to survive.
And it all goes down in the hood, and I have not heard one politician like Higgins or Samuels, or Rybak offer a solution to end the cycle.
They are all just talk, saying what the people want to hear to get re-elected.

Anonymous said...

I know of a great housing director who might be perfect for the job. Would he be interested?

Naysayer said...

Once again, the unpleasant reality of the cordon sanitaire rears its head. It is possible to write legislation requiring specific rules for geographical dispersion. It might even be possible to get it through the legislature with enough heavy lifting and expenditure of political capital by an intrepid NoMi political representative. However, in the day-to-day push-and-shove between the Department of Corrections and Hennepin County, the former will prevail. Consequently, both state and local politicians will do their best to beg-off.

It would be interesting to read Bobby Jo Champion's and Joe Mullary's beg-off statements. Holding their feet to the fire is the way to go, but the principal reason that the cordon sanitaire works as it does is the lack of political will within.

Anonymous said...

Hennepin Countyn is not interested in finding a solution to the sex offender concentration because they essentially make a business out of importing and monitoring the state's sex offenders. They get DOC money for each sex offender they have on their roll call. It's a fact. It might be hidden and not plain and clear to the layman's eye, but they do.

But few public employees, whether they are elected or hired, will admit this.

Someone who has the means should check into this further and post more info here, please.

Anonymous said...

Bravo,8:34pm more of the same bullshit from the empty cauldrons of liars

Anonymous said...

How's this for an answer? Administratively rebrand them as Level 2 offenders before release, then continue warehousing them next door to you?

Hell, if not that, it might be next door to me ...

Seriously, they are human, and with the indefinite committment, a separate kind of criminal because others have definite sentencing guidelines, parole in the normal fashion; but sex offenders are different. Then violent and dangerous predators, loose cannon types vs. less aggressive and more anger controlled, raise the question - is dangerousness ascertainable in advance of recidivist actions, and if so, is lockup and throw away the key appealing to many besides the private prison lobby, the big force behind three strikes?

In colonial times there were prison colonies, Russia had the gulag system - no escape since death was certain if escape attempted; the most brutal in the gulags becoming "the government."

I think it was Durkheim who said you judge a society by how they treat their deviants. We incarcerate more per capita than any other nation. Perhaps we should look beyond the borders to see what's happening.

Naysayer said...

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." Fyodor Dostoevsky

Anonymous said...

cut their balls off and feed them to the feral cats and then look beyond our borders and then cut their heads off and jam them up their asses. case closed bitch.