Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
- Community Blog
- Vista Blues
Looking For Boogeymen Under Every Bed...
"Homie--Comin at ya! Ya know I'm gonna get ya!" --Rage Against The Machine, from "I Could Just Kill A Man."
The recent example of John Gardner's illegal "MySpace" account should warn anyone that before you meet somebody you met on a web-service site--think twice!
It is also another reason that the "unlicensed" board-and-care system either needs to be overhauled, or scrapped entirely. Having lived in two of them, I can tell you that both the management and your fellow residents are what make-or-break a group-living home.
Unless you screen the potential residents (background checks, medical history) carefully, rancid apples like Gardner are going to be put into that home. To that end, I suggest that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation open-and-staff their own houses, rather than dumping their charges into a place which, rightly, should be reserved for those who wish to get their lives together--and do it sober and clean. Or, worse yet, in places where the population is mostly mid-to-high functioning mentally ill.
This is why when a "sober living home" or a "independent living facility" is proposed for a neighborhood, you have folks looking for boogeymen under every bed, along with a squadron of NIMBYs ready to swarm the planning board meetings to try to sting the project to death.
Nobody wants another John Gardner living anywhere near them. And even though it will be very unlikely that Mr. Gardner will face the executioner (David Westerfield is ahead of him, among others), it will not be likely that he will ever breathe free air ever again.
Like I said, we need to overhaul the whole "unlicensed" board-and-care system, so that paroled sex offenders are not only put in their own facilities, but also that the staff who would run such a facility be Corrections And Rehabilitation employees with years of experience in dealing with criminal sexual deviance.
Granted, it will not keep the John Gardners of the world from doing their satanic deeds. But, if they are "paroled" to a C&R-run group home (as opposed to Civil Commitment in a state psychiatric hospital, which should be reserved for the heavy-duty offenders not sentenced to "no-parole" imprisonment), they will be kept under tighter control by folks with the motivation and experience to see the job through, rather than by an ameteur only worried about the financial bottom line.
If we are serious about dealing with sexual psychopaths, there are, in reality, only three places that should be allowed as designated after-sentence housing:
1) State Psychiatric Hospital (Coalinga, Atascedero, Patton)./ 2) C&R-run group homes./ 3) Change the laws we now already have to require "full time served" before being released. For those convicted of extremely heinous offenses, give them "Loiusiana Life" (Mandatory Life Without Parole, as it's done in Loiusiana's penal system).
Another Gardner exists out there. It's not a matter of "if," but "when" another Amber of Christie pay the price for our folly of letting such a beastie back into our world--when said pervertio grotesquis belong locked in a cage...never to be let out again until he is buried in the prison cemetery.