CRANSTON, RI – Out of the 80 beds at Harrington hall, Cranston City Councilman Mike Favicchio told ABC6 News Tuesday, nearly half are used by registered sex offenders.Now, he is calling for the State to take action to address what he considers, a public safety issue.
"As of the last few days, we've had 31 level 2 and 3's,” Councilman Favicchio said.
According to Favicchio, "clusters" of sex offenders stay at the local homeless shelter, located near numerous public places where children often go, including two elementary schools. "They leave the facility at 6 or 7am and they're free to go wherever they want,” he said. “And we have the public library very close, all within a mile radius or walking distance basically."
The issue isn't a new problem; it has been discussed for years. But Favicchio said he wants to solve it once and for all.He is hoping to draft a bill to garner attention from the State.His goals include better accountability for sex offenders’ whereabouts; he would like to create new programs to aid offenders in their transition back into the workforce, beginning before their release date, and perhaps even build new facilities, or half way houses, for offenders to stay in.
"If they have no place to go, you're basically forcing them into this situation where they're going to be homeless for a long period of time,” Favicchio told ABC6 News.
But stricter regulations are concerning for many groups, including the ACLU. Steven Brown, Executive Director, responded by saying a major reason sex offenders are in Harrington Hall is because laws are already so strict, it often times leaves them nowhere else to go.
“Tightening the rules even more will only lead to more homeless sex offenders, which ironically makes it harder, not easier, to keep track of their whereabouts,” Brown said in a statement.
Karen Santilli, Director of Cross Roads Rhode Island which currently manages Harrington Hal, said Tuesday she hadn't heard of Councilman Favicchio's pitch for tighter regulation and more programs. She said therefore, she did not have an opinion on the issue just yet.
Both Favicchio and Santilli told ABC6 News they plan on speaking with one another in the near future, to work together on what can be done.