NewDay Lawyer Says Joliet’s Plan To Hunt Sex Offenders Won’t Work – Shaw Local
A lawyer for the company that owns the Joliet building housing sex offenders said the city’s plan to build a nearby park wouldn’t drive them away.
The city council could vote next week on acquiring a home that would be demolished to make way for a city park near the building to trigger a state residency restriction law.
Sara Garber, an attorney for NewDay Apartments, based in Lake Zurich, Ill., said creating an urban park would not stop sex offenders from living in the building.
“Most people required to register as sex offenders are not subject to the 500 foot restriction referenced by the mayor,” Garber said in an email. “Adding a park within 500 feet of NewDay may change the name of NewDay tenants, but it will not prevent NewDay from hosting registrants there.”
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, at the July 19 Joliet City Council meeting, announced the city’s intention to purchase property within 500 feet of the apartments to build a park that would put registered sex offenders living in the Cora Street building in violation of state law prohibiting offenders from being within 500 feet of a public park.
City Manager James Capparelli said Thursday that NewDay was “trying to analyse” by saying registered offenders could continue to live in the building on the 1000 block of Cora Street.
He said offenders who left the building and went to a public street could be arrested if children were playing in the park.
“If there’s a kid in that park and you’re within 500 feet of that park, you’re in trouble,” Capparelli said.
The city has been exploring options since residents of the Cunningham neighborhood raised objections after learning that NewDay had acquired the building in the middle of the residential area for use as housing for sex offenders.
A neighborhood meeting in June drew around 100 people, including the mayor and several city council members.
At the council meeting, O’Dekirk said the city continues to explore other ways to get sex offenders out of the house.
“The effect is something we’re not going to tolerate in the city of Joliet,” O’Dekirk said.
Garber in his email said the number of registered sex offenders living in the Cora Street apartment building is minimal compared to the number of registered sex offenders in Joliet and the entire state of Illinois.
There are believed to be five or six registered sex offenders living in the Cora Street flats.
Garber said there are more than 30,000 people on the Illinois sex offender registry.
According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, 700 registered sex offenders have been placed in facilities like the one on Cora Street created by NewDay to find residences for offenders serving time in prison beyond their sentence due to the state restrictions on where they can live.
Those restrictions include multiple offenders living in an apartment building, but a federal judge overturned the law in a lawsuit on behalf of sex offenders serving time beyond their jail time.
Garber in his email said that placing sex offenders in one building provides a safe housing opportunity for offenders and better protection for the community.
Sex offenders in the Cora Street building, she said, are under the supervision of the Department of Corrections, receive “frequent visits” from parole officers, undergo mandatory therapy and must wear protective clothing. GPS monitors.
“Additionally, NewDay Apartments has implemented a selective screening process and security measures to protect its residents and the community, including on-site security cameras,” Garber said.