Missouri Sex Offender program not providing critical treatment

6:10 PM, Aug 18, 2010   |    comments
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By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) -- According to an audit just released by Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee, the City of St. Louis has 900 sex offenders yet, 182, or 20.2 percent, are noncompliant. This compares to St. Louis County which reports 914 Sex offenders with only 4 or 0.4 percent noncompliant.

"Technically, we know where people are even if they're on a  non compliant status. Some are incarcerated," said Lt. Anthony Russo, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Lt. Russo said the state is often behind on its paperwork.  He also pointed out he has only two detectives to handle nearly 1000 sex offenders.  He says if he had more man power the non-compliance rate would improve.

"As disturbing as those still not registered, are those who are registered with communities that are not receiving mandated counseling required as part of their probation," Montee said.  "That to me is a real public safety concern."

Treatment for sex offenders is critical in order to prevent future sex crimes. According to estimates, indigent sex offenders need evaluation and treatment services costing more than $600,000 annually, yet funding provided for this purpose has been substantially below this amount.

While the Department of Probation and Parole received $3,000,000 from the Inmate Revolving Fund for inmate re-entry services, including sex offender treatment, only $42,000 had been spent on treatment. In addition, the audit shows the Inmate Revolving Fund has a balance of more than $16,500,000 as of March 31, 2010.

The I-Team asked if 400 offenders were violating the terms of probation by not receiving critical treatment, why weren't they back in prison?  No one from the department responded.

In June 2009, a Missouri Supreme Court ruling resulted in 4,465 previously exempt sexual offenders being required to re-register on the sexual offender registry; however, 1,445 (32 percent) of these offenders had not re-registered as of March 31, 2010.

The audit noted the improvement of the Sexual Offender Registration Program. It found statewide, registration of non-compliance reduced from an estimated 36 percent in 2002 to approximatelyseven percent as of March 31, 2010.

At present, Missouri has 10,549 actively registered sex offenders in 114 counties and the City of St. Louis.

Click here to read the entire report.


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