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Letter: Sex-offender plan could backfire

Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of Parents for Megan's

Laura Ahearn, Executive Director of Parents for Megan's Law and The Crime Victims Center, works with a team on helping them use the new technology, which includes tablets and smartboards, during a meeting in Ronkonkoma, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

I'm sure that taking issue with the expansion of the Megan's Law sex offender monitoring program will not win me any popularity contests ["Tracking sex offenders," News, Dec. 15]. However, I think it's important that an objective opposing view is presented.

Having worked for many years as a case manager in the mental health field, including providing services to dozens of sex offenders, both at the Suffolk County jail as well as in the community, I know that the constraints and restrictions placed upon them have created a de facto class of untouchables. They cannot find housing or treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders.

In Suffolk County, homeless sex offenders are relocated every week by the Department of Social Services. They are essentially denied an opportunity to achieve any stability. Ironically, the same laws and constraints intended to monitor and reduce recidivism among sex offenders may actually create an environment that increases the likelihood that they may reoffend. Homelessness and lack of treatment are stress factors that could trigger additional crimes.

The public and our legislators need to take a closer look at this issue and the unintended consequences that could place the community at greater risk.

I am not an advocate for sex offenders. I am an advocate for rational decision-making.

Jerry Bilinski, Riverhead

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