Thursday, February 21, 2013

Press Release: Shiloni Transformation Ministries opposes HB 85 anti-clustering law

Shiloni Transformation Ministry      Press Release

     Shiloni Transformation Ministry has taken a stand against Alabama HB 85. We believe this bill to be in direct violation of Holy Scripture and of citizen's unalienable rights. For those who are not familiar with the bill in question, we are referring to the Anti-Clustering Law being made statewide in Alabama. This law was passed in 2010 for the City of Birmingham in Jefferson County as a "test run" for the entire state to adopt this very damaging piece of legislation. When it was passed in 2010 it effectively disabled our ministry from being able to take in former sex offenders out of prison on a transitional basis. Our ministry has been working to rehabilitate those said sex offenders through use of the Bible, church-related classes, group therapy sessions, and accountability training. We focus on tried and true methods proven time and time again to lower the recidivism rate of sex offenders within all areas of the criminal justice system. HB 85 does state that there is a provision made for half-way houses that are "state approved," we have researched this statement and have found that currently there is no state approval agency or standard set in place. What this tells us is that the legislature of Alabama has taken a stand against our ministry, the US Constitution in the Freedom of Religion and has violated the due process of law, both on a federal and state level.

The Director, Bill Grier, of Shiloni Transformation Ministry had this to say, " The State of Alabama has selectively opposed the assistance of any and all convicted sex offenders. It breaks my heart that I have been made the messenger to sex offenders and even their families that my hands are tied and there is nothing I can do to help them because of the current residency restrictions. It used to be, before the homeless sex offender laws took place, that a sex offender could not even be released without a legal address. It is my belief that we are worse off with the homeless laws in place because the sex offender can be registered in the woods, under a bridge, or even a vacant house. This does not help to prevent them from reoffending but only supports recidivism because they have no structured environment to teach them to take responsibility, and hold themselves accountable for their past and enable them to move forward to become productive members of society. In fact, they don't even send out notification flyers for those registered as homeless. There are sex offenders who already have been granted parole but have nowhere to go. I and my wife Barbara saw this need while working as volunteers in many of the prisons in the State of Alabama and made it our mission to fill this need not only for the sex offenders but also to help protect the community. The current lack of proper treatment of sex offenders is largely to blame for the recidivism of sex offenders and has resulted in an over-crowding of the state and county jails. This is why Jefferson County and the City of Birmingham has went bankrupt since the issuance of the anti-clustering laws within Jefferson County. We will see the same thing happen statewide if  HB 85 is passed into law. We need to have some guidelines for operation and supervision  set in place for proper transitional housing. We need to stop viewing this problem as a political gambit and start working to correct the underlying problems that have been created by these laws. Only then will we see a positive change in our society."

We would also like to bring forward the statistics found from the State of Colorado Department of Corrections Study in 2003. They found that residency restrictions had no effect on recidivism of sex offenders, but a positive living environment, such as a halfway house or with a supportive family, increases an offender's likelihood of living a productive, successful life once their sentences have been served.

Please contact:

Dr. Dustin T. Friend    205-467-8293

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