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Lewes, Delaware
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July 11, 1997     Cape Gazette
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July 11, 1997
 

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Callable C0r )orate Bonds t CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, July 11 -July 17, 1997- 19 I [ttle recourse for communities wanting, sex offenders expelled By Kerry Kester All eight of the communities se- lected to be part of Gov. Tom Carper's Strong Communities Ini- tiative were chosen because of problems in their communities. In most cases the problems were high crime rates and rampant drug trade. Now one of the communi- ties has another difficulty - a con- victed sex offender is living amongst them. Reports from an unnamed com- munity in one of the eight Strong Communities that a convicted sex offender has moved to the neigh- borhood has communitymembers concerned. Of even greater con- cern for some is that ousting the convicted sex offender does not appear to be an option. Sgt. Ed Cooke of the Delaware State Police Rural Community Policing Unit explained to mem- bers of the Strong Communities Working Group, during its Thurs- day, June 26 meeting, that about the only recourse available to community members worried about having offenders living in their communities is to contact their local representatives. "If you don't want that person there, get up with your representatives - pull your resources," said. Cooke. Cooke said that recently mem- bers of one of the Strong Commu- nities brought to Cooke's atten- tion that a convicted pedophile was living in that community, and . residents were concerned about their children's safety. Unfortu- nately, he said, the offender had served a prison term and had the right to reside in the community. Cooke explained that Megan's Law permits convicted sex of- fenders to reside wherever they choose once they have served their time in prison. What com- munication is provided to resi- dents in the community is limited by the risk level assigned to that convict, he explained. The three risk levels are low, moderate and high. With low risk convicts, the law provides that lo- cal taw enforcement officials be notified. "Then we kind of keep checks on him, and we know he's there," said Cooke. With those classified as moderate risk, local law enforcement agents share the information with residents in the area. With high risk offenders, not only will law enforcement offi- cials notify the ccrnmunity, but they will also notify schools, day- care centers and other agencies in the community. "But they still have a right to be there," said Cooke. H6 said that recent research in- dicates-that some prison systems do not believe that sexual preda- tion is a curable disease, and the result is that therapy is often not even offered to offenders while they are in prison. Delaware's Department of Cor- rection is attempting to address the problem proactively. Accord- ing to Anthony Farina, chief of media relations at the department, statewide prison programs include two basic approaches to address- ing the issue of sexual predation with inmates. Convicted sex offenders, he said, meet in group sessions, ei- ther short term or long term, as deemed appropriate for the indi- Un'versity dr00ag/alcohol survey indicates v:00ried trends in student population By Kerry Kester A preliminary report to the Delaware Prevention Coalition, prepared by the University of Delaware, reflects that Delaware teens appear to be increasing their use of inhalants, different" types of tobacco and marijuana. Although the youth of the 1990s is very knowledgeable about the dangers of substances - both ille- gal and legal - the university study indicates the children and teens are recklessly disregarding the risks of using the substances. "Sometimes the use, at least to me, is surprisingly high for stu- dents who admit they know the risks," and to a large extent, the Delaware study reflects national trends, said Sally Cordrey, Cape Henlopen School District preven- tion coordinator. "Basically, there appears to be a number of trends," said Cordrey, who presented results from the University of Delaware (UD) study at the Thursday, June 12 school board meeting. The study was prepared by UD's Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies and Center for Community Develop- ment. Inhalant use is on the increase with youth of all ages. In the past, she said, inhalants were used more by the younger children because of their easy accessibility. Now, she said, on a statewide level in- halants are commonly used by older students as well. Continued on page 20 vidual. Short term sessions last 10 weeks, and long term group ses- sions last for the duration of the incarceration period. For some, sexual offenders re put into resi- dential settings and live together. "It's an ongoing sort of therapy," said Farina. Therapy for sex offenders, he explained, has three phases. The first phase is education. "The more information that person has, the better he will understand he has a problem," said Farina. The second phase of treatment is identifying thinking errors. "He must understand that it just doesn't go away," said Farina. The third phase is the pre-release component. "That gets him ready to transition into the community." During the course of therapy, offenders build a support system and learn how to access resources. Whether they must continue treat- ment following their release de- pends upon their sentence, ex- plained Farina; however,.they have the option of voluntarily continuing therapy even if the court did not mandate it.. 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