Banning perverts from public housing

As reported in the Boston Herald: Chemical castration and banning perverts from public housing are among proposals being floated on Beacon Hill as lawmakers gear up for what could be a sweeping crackdown on sex fiends.

More than a dozen proposals have been filed by legislators in recent weeks as part of yet another push to protect women and children from sexual predators. Among the bills is a measure to make chemical castration an option in the treatment of sexual deviants, a plan that was launched a decade ago to much fanfare but died in the state Senate.

Filed by Rep. Paul Casey (D-Winchester), chemical castration is an alternative to surgical castration. It involves sex offenders ingesting anti-androgen drugs that reduce testosterone levels to suppress sexual appetite. The practice is legal in Texas, California, Florida, Illinois and Georgia as a treatment option for molesters and is sometimes used by therapists but can cause patients to take on feminine qualities.

State Rep. Bradley H. Jones, a staunch backer of tougher sex offender laws, said he is open to a “discussion” about chemical castration for some predators.

“It’s a way of essentially preventing bad things from happening,” Jones said, adding that he is putting his efforts into other bills clamping down on sex offender tracking.

Laurie Myers, spokeswoman for the victims rights group Community VOICES, favors more ironclad punitive measures over uncertain treatment options.

“I’ve never been a fan of chemical castration,” Myers said. “I would like to see them spend more time in prison.”

One bill being pushed by Jones would allow the government to track sex offenders’ activities online. The bill is vague but Jones said it could include requiring perverts to register their computers with the state Sex Offender Registry Board or install a mechanism that would “red-flag”molesters to other people in cyberspace.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” said Jones (R-N. Reading). “Technologically, we may not be at that point yet but we will get to that point.”

Another bill, filed by Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn) would ban registered sex offenders from living in public housing.

“Why should we be subsidizing a sex offender and putting this person around families and children?” said Frost. “Is that the best use of our tax dollars? We’re paying for it. We should have a say on who can and who can’t live there.”

Other bills call for lifetime parole for sex offenders, posting Level 2 offenders on the state’s Web site and restricting perverts from changing their names, among others.

Myers applauded lawmakers’ efforts but said the focus should be on beefing up jail time, rather than finding new ways to monitor released perverts. Among the bills she’s strongly backing is “Jessica’s Law,” which would create minimum mandatory prison sentences for molesters.

“All this legislation that comes out with residency restrictions is because of the frustration that they keep re-offending,” Myers said. “We need to keep them in prison longer.”

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