Parolees are required to meet wherever and whenever their parole officer tells them. The head of the city’s parole department can indeed ask all 25-30 paroled sex offenders to meet at city hall for the designated hours. Whether or not a meeting of the town’s paroled sex offenders is a good idea or not is debatable for a variety of reasons.
What’s on the Agenda?
If one is trying to tamp down a population, organizing a meeting for them to share thoughts and best practices isn’t exactly a great idea. Given the rights of free speech, once they are all assembled, they can talk about anything they want.
What Are the Odds?
A study was conducted in 2009, which showed that there was no spike in sexual offenses on or near Halloween. So although officials could all pontificate different scenarios in which trick or treaters could be sexually harmed on Halloween, big data is not in their favor.
The Devil You Know …
Approximately 93% of sexual assaults are by known assailants. Stranger Danger is a great thing to teach children, but it really doesn’t apply in the realm of sex offenders. The odds of a child being sexually assaulted on Halloween are higher inside the child’s own home than on the doorstep of a registered sex offender.
Is There a Better Use for This Resource?
If the odds are low that any of the parole sex offenders sitting in City Hall would pose a significant danger to any trick or treater, it begs the question, wouldn’t the funds used to pay for this officer be better spent on a patrolling officer? Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year, both for children and citizens alike. According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. And as for keeping the general pubic safe, vandalism spikes by 24% on Halloween, making it the night with the most vandalism of the year.
Hasn’t Their Debt to Society Already Been Established?
One has to wonder if this isn’t some sort of double-jeopardy, meaning being punished for the same crime twice. Though the mayor is within his rights to round up parolees whenever he chooses, it feels like it violates the spirit of the Constitution, even though it falls within the letter of the law. As one resident so aptly posted in response to Mayor Jones’ Facebook post announcing the plan, “I am absolutely against any kind of sex abuse to children or anyone, but these ‘offenders’ have paid their debt to society. I pray they are walking as they should, but to place them in a building as a criminal is wrong. They were already judged, found guilty. Let them stay at home, let them follow the rules of their punishment.”