State Representative Anthony DeVitis, R-Green, introduced Ohio House Bill 621 “regarding the admission of sex offenders to residential facilities for persons with developmental disabilities.” HB 621 adds an additional layer of notification to community leaders before sex offenders with developmental disabilities are admitted into a residential setting. This additional notification would require information about an individual’s treatment plan be released to law enforcement agencies and the community, which is not required of any other sex offender.
“I am shocked that in this day and age anyone would introduce a piece of legislation that treats any group differently than another group,” said Randy Briggs, Summit DD Board President. “This legislation asks those we are here to protect to do something that is not required of anyone else, implies that they are not equal, and their rights aren’t the same as everyone else’s – that needs to be challenged.”
The bill, as introduced, appears to treat sex offenders with developmental disabilities differently than other sex offenders. Current sex offender notification requirements treat all people the same, regardless of their disability status. Individuals with disabilities are subject to the same sex offender notification requirements.
The bill has yet to have discussion in the General Assembly, who is on recess until the week after November’s general election, and has yet to be assigned to a subcommittee.
Recently released sex offender protocols from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities enhance our current assessments and practices, offering real-world risk assessments, a guide to help determine appropriate supervision levels, a tool to examine the effect of environmental factors on an individual’s treatment and progress, and a plan for reducing the likelihood that a person will commit another offense.
“Our primary concern is the health and safety of those we support and the communities that they live,” stated John Trunk, Summit DD Superintendent. “For that reason we support the statewide sex offender protocols that offer us additional tools to serve these individuals and the communities where they live.”
The sex offender protocol comes a year after the DODD convened a work group comprised of experts around the state, including representatives from Summit County.
“There are people with sex offending behaviors that live all around us, whether they have a disability or not” said Trunk. “When it comes to supporting individuals with sex offending behaviors, our job has always been to include individualized strategies in that person’s plan that safeguards them and the community, regardless of where they live.”
Currently, less than 1% of adults supported by Summit DD have a history of sex offending behaviors. Summit DD will review services and supports already in place utilizing DODD’s protocols for each of these individuals.
Summit DD will continue to follow progress on HB 261. Representative DeVitis can be reached at:
77 S. High St
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 466-1790
Fax (614) 719-6943