IL: Sex offenders on probation challenge Illinois policy on contact with children

Source: courthousenews.com 12/7/23

The parolees complain they have to wait months or more before a therapist deems them fit to see their own children — and can’t even speak to them by phone before then.

CHICAGO (CN) ­­— Sex offenders on supervised release argued before a Seventh Circuit panel Thursday that Illinois’ policy limiting when they can see their children is unconstitutional and should be overturned.

The parolees filed a class action against the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2018 over a policy that forbade sex offenders from contacting their children in any capacity for at least six months after their release from prison.

A federal judge found the policy violates the parolees’ right to due process and granted them a preliminary injunction in June 2018.

The Department of Corrections then implemented a new policy, which the class said still operates as a presumptive ban on sex offenders seeing their children. The federal judge disagreed and upheld the new policy.

The new policy stipulates that people on supervised release can request to see their children, but they must first see a sex offender therapist within two weeks of their release from prison. The class appealed to the Seventh Circuit.

“Within 21 days of the initial appointment, the therapist and the parole agent ‘will determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the parolee’s child(ren) would be endangered by parent-child contact with the parolee,’” the parolees say in their appellate brief.

On Thursday, the parolees’ attorney Adele Nicholas told a three-judge panel that the new policy still prevents parents from seeing their children for months or years at a time. She said this is partially because the Department of Corrections does not have any way to guarantee therapists can see people on supervised release in 14 days, as it can’t control therapists’ schedules.

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Looks like Illinois is trying to challenge Florida for stupidest …[PFR] rules. I could see it if the victim was their own child, but across the board like that is just idiocy.

Not to mention how easy it was to circumvent the injunction. Even if the DOC had the capability to provide therapists to meet the demands of their own policy, odds are better than average those therapists would be specifically instructed to find those they examine unfit to see their own children.

And speaking of their new policy, why isn’t the leadership of that organization being scrutinized for competence for implementing a procedure that they cannot possibly meet their own burdens under?

It does not even appear they are examining what specific crimes were committed and whether the person ever posed a danger to their child. It’s idiotic, but almost all laws pertaining to sex offenses are idiotic.

Illinois has no business mandating any type of program because we are too broke to administer anything. That’s why the courts and government agencies are such a mess. That’s why the city of Chicago cannot let PFRs register timely – the demand is too high and we have no money and no staff to back up the stupid registry laws (we have a lot of registries, btw).

Thank goodness Adele is on the case, but as we all know, these things don’t change easily or quickly. There is no more due process in this country, certainly not for PFRs.

It is one thing to punish the person, but another to punish the family beyond what is required, especially once communication has been reestablished for the better. It only goes to show how stupid those who put these laws into place are not thinking overall and really want to punish as much as they can those who they feel need to be punished. Communication can really be a help once on the outside.

While it may be true there may be those who do change for the worse once supervision is done, to blanket apply that thinking is like saying the registry prevents things from happening, which we know isn’t true (as @Dustin adroitly points out continually). Individual assessments need to be done and in reasonable time once released (which is subject to interpretation). BTW, they are thinking all therapists are hired guns much like other medical experts and can’t be objective. There may be those who fit this mold, but to say ALL is bunk and the atty knows it.

“Chenevert said former inmates could behave differently when they are not being watched as they are in prison.”

What’s to watch? The guy’s talking to his kid. It’s like they’re waiting for dad to say something like “hey junior, you know that little friend of yours? Well…”

“Woods asked why the department hasn’t considered monitoring telephone calls from people under supervised release, like they do when they’re incarcerated. Chenevert answered that monitoring those phone calls would create too many administrative burdens for the department.”

How do you know it’s too much of a burden when you don’t even know what they do all day? These monkeys in the DOC have a lot of time on their hand, when they’re not busy running around on Halloween night visiting their clients.

“She also noted the plaintiffs never suggested a reasonable alternative to the policy, to which Wood responded, “They didn’t ever reach a point where they could do that.”

So it’s the plaintiffs fault for not telling the department, because no one who works there couldn’t think up a phone policy themselves. That says a lot about the department.