Friday, February 15, 2008

Transitional Housing - The Line Is Blurred

Be careful what you wish for. From all the high rise condo projects in town, gated developments around the lake and multi-use facilities being built in our area it would seem the pro growth advocates are winning.

In an area that is economically depressed it is coming with a price. A wider differentiation between the haves and the have nots. Jobs that don't pay enough to support an increasingly expensive area, the accompanying stress, depression, crime. The county has been lobbying for a new jail for years. Our state prisons are over crowded. The state is in a budget crunch. To alleviate the overcrowding more and more attention is being given to transitional housing.

An article in this morning's Press warns that there is going to be more of it. That being a given, just what is it? Here's where the article has left me confused.

Okay. We are talking about parolees released from the prison system transitioning back into society. They are, for the most part, felons including sex offenders, arsonists, and other violent criminals. Who would want them in their backyard? Just what are the recidivism rates for these crimes?

The article goes on about a private, faith based company that has plans for 16 "recovery" houses in Kootenai County this year. Whoa. Wait a minute. They talk about how these homes are for ex-addicts, not ex-inmates. They supposedly exclude the more heinous offenders such as those listed above and that those who become residents are charged $400 per month in rent.

I am getting really confused here. One, where are these people going to get $400 per month? Two, it is stated addicts are considered disabled and there are laws protecting them from discrimination. Let's back the horse up to the cart here.

We're talking about two levels of offenders. The violent and predatory versus those with addictions. Those with addictions are protected. Those who are not so afflicted (if there are any) are not. Do we at the present time have facilities within the county that separate one from the other? Or are they so melded together, differentiation is, in fact, impossible? I would like to know how many of each, where they are located and what type of oversight is in place?

If the Department of Corrections, and the local agencies who share the information, want to be as "transparent as possible" make known to the community where these facilites are, who populates those currently in place and how they are monitored.

You tell us it's not just your problem, it's everyone's. Well, make it so.


Word Tosser said...

I know this is so ....NOT IN MY BACK YARD... type of a remark...but will some of these homes that aren't selling be used.
And.. for those who bought into a community... bought those houses BECAUSE it was a nice low crime areas... so now they are going to bring the crimials out to there?

I am sorry, but WHY can't they find a building... hotel style, with matrons to watch over them like curfews and etc. Is that too old fashion?

If I had small children.. even if it is just the addicted.. I would be scared..very scared. And it has already been proven, where addiction goes, so does crime to get the money for it. I would rather see them in a controlled area for the first year at least. And the hard crimes? no way.

Dogwalkmusings said...

word tosser,

I think the powers that be risk a huge backlash from the community if they aren't up front with information about these facilities!