First Bedbugs at Hotels, Now This?

A few weeks ago, I posted about bedbugs in hotel rooms.

Now, I discuss another issue that a traveler may encounter when looking for a motel.


Blogger Bob G. over at The PA-IN Erudition recently found an interesting article on an Indiana program that deals with registered sex offenders:

...Since 2006, the Indiana Department of Correction has used federal grant money to house some sex offenders recently released from prison in motels across the state.

The program has been dubbed “DOC Assist” by prison officials and is designed to help offenders with no place to go and no support system to get back on their feet...

A motel housing a sex offender through the program typically receives money from the Department of Correction to cover three weeks’ worth of room fees... He said that in some cases the department might extend payments an extra week if needed.

At least one sex offender staying at Travelers Inn...said that is not the case.

“They’ve paid my bill since March 8,” said Willard Ernie Ritchie, a 58-year-old who was convicted of child molesting and served two years in prison.

After being released from prison, Ritchie said he was put up by the Department of Correction at Hallmark Inn. He lived there nearly three months...

Nothing like trying to save a few dollars while traveling on a family vacation, and checking-in to a hotel where a crew of registered sex offenders secretly reside.

I can see arguments from the opposing perspectives. 

On one side, the public wants to know where registered sex offenders are living--especially when government funds are being used to pay for the housing.

It is a matter of public safety.

You know, while you watch your kids do cannonballs into the pool at a Motel 6 or Super 8 (two Indiana hotels participating in their program), and are not really wondering who else is viewing the water play.

From the other side, corrections officials want these released offenders to have a residence so that they can properly monitor them.

Often, local restrictions prevent sex offenders from living just about anywhere within a community.

So, with nowhere to go, the offenders then become homeless (like in several Florida cities)--living a transient lifestyle that makes if difficult for officials to know what these folks are doing.   

And obviously, making it dangerous for citizens. 


Regarding the government-financed motel rooms for sex offenders, I don't think this program has much of a future.

The more publicity that "DOC Assist" receives, the fewer hotel/motel owners that will want to participate. 

Also, the funding for such an initiative would be limited, and possible liability concerns with the offenders would be troublesome as well.

Well then, what should society do with registered sex offenders knowing that some/the majority/many (depending on your perspective) will reoffend?

Currently, officials and experts do not have many answers to that question, but it should be noted that officer and former sex crimes detective Momma Fargo and I previously offered our opinions. 

And we both only lost a few blog followers after doing so.


Midlife Jobhunter said...

Well, another good reason to drive through Indiana to get to my destination. I must say, I've never spent the night in Indiana. Probably driven through it 30 times? Yea, 30 probably right. However, had one of my sons chosen Purdue, would have been there.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Isn't there like safe houses or group homes for this sort of thing NOT public hotels? Not to mention it's our tax dollars putting them up in this place for FREE while I'm working my job and paying my house payment...not cool.

Bob G. said...

There are ALSO (sponsored) "safe houses"...halfway houses, or whatever they call them THIS week in the Hoosier state, but mostly I can attest to having at least FIVE sex offenders (in individual houses) within a 1/2 mile radius of MY house alone.

They have a sex offender listing for Indiana (at least for those who HAVE registered...they slip through a lot of cracks here.)

And I would wager that IF these offenders are NOT working at a job, they are being fronted by OUR money...
Amazing stuff.
(and not the GOOD amazing)

Thanks for the H/T, Slamdunk!
(much appreciated)

Stay vigilant.
Stay safe.

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

God, I could say something horrible, but I'll refrain. I'll refrain. It has to do with an eye for an eye...

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, dear. I wonder if other states allow this, too? Thanks for letting us know!

aconnectiontomyheart said...

"not really wondering who else is viewing the water play".. That just freaked me out.. After learning of such things, unfortunately, I will always have it on the back of my mind when we are traveling and renting a place to stay! So, if the government has so much money as to fund motels, why not use the same money and let them rent out Halfway houses or other places of rehabilitation.. Of course, I do not know if there are any laws against these ex-offenders doing that..
And to those who quit on you, I say, Go SlamDunk!

Stephanie Faris said...

Eeeeeeeeek! Can't they contract with one chain of motels so we all know?

My husband used to work for an apartment locator service. They specialized in finding apartments for people with bad credit, dogs too big for most apartment leases, and people with criminal histories. There were apartment communities all over town who would take sex offenders/felons...and most people wouldn't know to avoid these communities.

LadyFi said...

Halfway houses might be better - a place where they can re-adjust to society, but somewhere not quite as public.

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

happy to say we just returned from a two week vacation across country
only clean and welcoming rooms and fun things to report

thanks for stopping by my Magpie's Nest

T. Anne said...

I agree with Stephanie, I wish they'd stick to one location so we can safely avoid them.

Kristin said...

Ugh, that is just disturbing and I have no idea what the solution is.

Theresa Milstein said...

Yikes. The bedbug post freaked me out. Now when I stay at a hotel, I'll keep my kids close and the door locked at all times.

As a society, we need to figure out what to do with these guys when they get out of prison.

kathryn said...

Well, I'm just hearing more and more reasons to stay home with the blinds closed. The world has become a very scary place. Moreso since I became a parent, that's for sure.

I wonder if we're safer if we stay at the high-end places?

Lt said...

"Well then, what should society do with registered sex offenders knowing that some/the majority/many (depending on your perspective) will reoffend?"

Keep them in prison, would be my humble answer.

Shannon said...

Between this and the bedbugs, I may not leave the house again, lol.

Alex Yong said...

I can't imagine staying at a motel with my family knowing that there are ex-sex offenders lurking around!

I think this is a very ridiculous idea as it not only endangers the community but also a waste of public funds.

Perhaps it would be more cost effective if the authorities build half-way houses for them.

malone8 said...

Let's see, first taxpayers pay the criminals freight in prison - they're released and we pay for their comforts in a motel.

What is wrong w/this picture? What about Halfway houses?

merrilymarylee said...

The Indiana motel solution, like the "dumping them under a FL bridge" doesn't sound like a good one. I read your post about the island solution though and wonder aren't there degrees of offenses that you'd take into consideration?

Rachel Cotterill said...

Definitely sounds like a scheme that's doomed from the moment the press latch on to it.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments all.

@ MerrilyMarylee: Good question, and "yes." I tried to make that point (but not well) with my first item on the list entitled "Better Identify Predators."

By understanding the typologies of sex offenders we can make more educated decisions based on the factors of the case(s) involved and the individual who has been convicted of the crime or crimes.

Anonymous said...
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blackwatertown said...

Interesting post - an aspect I hadn't considered.
On a very tenuously connected note, low level offenders in the UK sometimes discharge their obligation to do community restitution by working in charity shops. So if you find yourself wondering about some of the guys in Oxfam, Age UK, etc - well, you could be right.
Not saying it's necessarily a bad thing.
Wonder if it's the same in the USA?
(BTW - I found you via Maxi Malone.)

Slamdunk said...

@ blackwatertown: I think it is the same here. Some of the folks flipping your burgers, gathering clothes at the not-for-profit, and working at the fundraiser Haunted House (that is an odd combo) are folks finishing court-obligated time.

angelcel said...

Shocking, creepy and oh so wrong.