Hot Topic: Nursing Homes for Sex Offenders & Violent Offenders

The Puzzle of Housing Aging Sex Offenders

6-1-17 National:

States are grappling with how to care for a growing population of registered offenders in long-term care facilities.

When state officials finally released William Cubbage from the Iowa Mental Health Institute in 2010, they predicted he was too sick to hurt anyone again. But the octogenarian only became an even more notorious sex offender.

Between 1987 and 2000, Cubbage was convicted in four separate cases of assault. Then, a year after his release, he molested a 95-year-old woman in a nursing home. Neither the home’s patients nor their families had been notified of his history. The woman’s relatives were unable to sue, when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the state was not legally liable. The state took Cubbage back, and in 2016 he was in the news again for allegedly trying to grope a care worker during a bath.

Cubbage passed away last month, but his case forced Iowa legislators to consider how to handle a growing population of sex offenders in long-term care facilities. Public outcry has led to multiple attempts to address the issue, including a push in February for a bill that would have established a committee that looked into the feasibility of building a long-term care facility specifically for the state’s 800 registered offenders, to keep them from being placed in traditional nursing homes (the bill didn’t receive final action). And while Cubbage’s case is extreme, he’s symptomatic of a larger puzzle in America’s long-term care facilities that no one’s managed to solve. As lawmakers in Oklahoma and Ohio have found, isolating aging sex offenders is easier planned than achieved.

“The problem is that you’re talking about a project that’s uniquely difficult when it comes to structural needs and safety,” says Amy McCoy, a public-information officer with the Iowa Department of Human Services. “You’re talking about things like hallways without corners. You’re also talking about building a place that isn’t a prison. It’s something entirely different from a traditional care facility. You want people in the least restrictive setting, but you also want to be able to respond if something does happen.” ..Continued.. by Peter Rugg

No comments: