Region 8's take on S.C. ruling of sex offender jail time

By Amanda Hanson  - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Is it fair to keep certain sex offenders locked up even after they have served the time?  The Supreme Court does.  Today they ruled federal officials can keep those considered "sexually dangerous" behind bars indefinitely.

"If they're kept in prison or kept in a facility, that keeps them from victimizing anyone else here in the city," says detective Ernest Ward with the Jonesboro police department says the least amount of sexual predators on the street the better.

Ward says, "I have had one that said in the past he intentionally targeted women for relationships that didn't have children so that he didn't offend against these children."  It is a constant battle.  The Supreme Court ruled today that federal officials can evaluate "sexually dangerous" predators, and potentially keep them behind bars indefinitely.  "It's bad that once somebody finishes their sentence to be remanded back into the facility for an undetermined time but if they are mentally ill, and a sexually violent predator, yes I feel strongly, that there should be some facility released to or remanded into," says Ward.

Officers with the Jonesboro police department say that many sex offenders have multiple offenses and hope the ruling might make their job a little bit easier.  "It could mean a lighter case load.  We see a lot offenders come and go, in and out of prison. It's a constant battle to keep up with them." Says Lt. Roger Morphis with JPD says that about 10 to 15 percent of his work load is dealing with re-occurring cases.  He says, "I think the stricter we are on sex offenders I think that it'll give a better message to them."

Of course, offenders must go through an evaluation to determine whether or not they are a risk to the public.  Officers hope that the ruling will help keep the citizens safe.

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