Representative Robert Lancia Testifies About Sex Offender Population in Cranston Before House Judiciary Committee
STATE HOUSE -- Before members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Representative Robert Lancia (R-District 16 Cranston) testified on behalf of his legislation (H-5159), which would prevent too many sex offenders from residing in any facility receiving state funding or assistance.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Representative Lancia said, “House Bill No. 5159 would limit the number of sex offenders at any given State funded facility to no more than 10% of the population. My second bill is House Bill No. 5207 which would require sex offenders to register with law enforcement within one hour of their checking in.”
“This situation has been going on for too many years now and despite repeated promises to correct the situation, ultimately nothing has been done. The residents are worried about people who are being released at 7:00 a.m. and not allowed back into the facility until 5:00 p.m. I have five schools within a very short walking distance of Harrington Hall. Moreover, during the summer, the children are out of school and these people are wandering the streets. It is only a matter of time before something terrible happens and then it’s too late,” Rep. Lancia added.
In a letter, addressed to members of the House Judiciary Committee, Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung supported Representative Lancia’s legislation, stating in his letter, “Cranston has a disproportionate number of registered sex offenders because of the state’s shelter of last resort, Harrington Hall, in the John O. Pastore Center state government complex. In recent years, the number of registered sex offenders listing the shelter as their permanent address has increased dramatically, from a handful each night to upwards of thirty or more every single day. Such a large concentration of sex offenders in one area is taking a financial and manpower toll on our city resources. Our police department must constantly monitor the sex offender population, facilitate a steady stream of community notifications as offenders are released from prison and serve as first responders for any incidents at the shelter or in the community.”
Suzanne Arena, Head of the Regional Crime Watch, also testified and said, “Representative Lancia introduced and spoke about introducing a bill that is long overdue. Mayor Allan Fung submitted a letter in support this bill, and we are thankful. Carolyn Medeiros of the Alliance for Safe Communities had riveting data about clustering and gave compelling reasons why we need this legislation. Sex offenders can register as either a homeless resident or a sex offender, and this is done on integrity. While they have an obligation to do this, I can guarantee you half of them are not and there is no way to prove otherwise unless we had a fingerprinting system.”
Co-sponsors of House bill 5159 include Representatives Charlene Lima (D-District 14 Cranston, Providence), Michael Chippendale (R-District 40 Foster, Glocester, Coventry), Joseph J. Solomon, Jr. (D-District 22 Warwick), and Robert B. Jacquard (D-District 17 Cranston).
For more information, contact:
Raina C. Smith, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903