Illinois legislators love to pass laws to punish sex offenders. But those laws always increase restrictions. No legislator wants to decrease restrictions on sex offenders, because that would not look good on a mailer by an opponent in the next election.
More content below this sponsor message The result is that Illinois has an increasingly complex matrix of laws restricting sex offenders. Some of those laws may actually make it harder for police to keep track of people convicted of sex crimes. For the past few months WBEZ has been reporting on problems at Chicago Police Department headquarters, where police records show the department turned men away times in the first three months of the year.
Our previous stories can be heard here and here and here. John Escalante is chief of detectives for Chicago police and he oversees the criminal registration office, which is responsible for registering sex offenders.
I asked him if he was surprised by the number of men turned away. It does seem somewhat high, but again if we went through it case by case there might logical and legitimate explanations for it. Please enter a valid email address Oops, something went wrong! Sign Up You've signed up to receive emails. Please check your email for a welcome confirmation. CPD making registration easier for sex offenders Nonetheless, Escalante says his office is trying to make improvements.
He unfolds a poster and puts it on the desk in the press office at police headquarters where I interviewed him a couple weeks ago. This, by the end of the week, I would be willing to bet a paycheck, this will be posted. A sheet of paper hanging on the door of the criminal registration office outlines forms of ID Chicago police will now accept from sex offenders trying to register. The poster lists or will list some additional forms of ID the police will now accept--to make it easier for men to register.
It means it will be easier for offenders to register, which means police will actually know where they are. That is, after all, the point of the law. But making things easier for sex offenders can be a tough sell even if it makes good sense. Zalewski says laws often have unintended consequences and people often come to legislators asking for tweaks and changes.
And Zalewski has carried issues to the General Assembly for the Chicago police before. He sponsored the bill last year seeking mandatory minimum sentences for people caught illegally carrying a gun.
Zalewski is very cautious in speaking about this politically toxic topic. I think we decided to study them more carefully. Anybody can handle a matter where somebody is well-healed and comes to the bar of justice for justice. But the true test of a judge or our system in general is how do you handle the least of these. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, stories and insider events.