Parole officers out enforcing Halloween restrictions on sex offenders

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While trick-or-treaters go door-to-door asking for candy on Halloween night, New York State Parole Officers are going door-to-door to make sure registered sex offenders are home and abiding by the rules.

More than a dozen parole officers canvass Syracuse where 67 sex offenders are registered and all areas across Central New York including counties from here to Albany where a total 712 registered sex offenders are living.

Registered sex offenders are required to keep their lights off and their homes free of Halloween décor in order to keep kids from stopping by to trick or treat.

All registered sex offenders are also required to be home by 3 p.m. for the Halloween curfew, unless an exception is made by his or her parole officer for a job shift or treatment program.

Other Halloween night rules for sex offenders include not dressing up in a costume, not having candy to hand out and also only answering the door if an officer is on the other side.

For Judi, a registered sex offender in Syracuse, visits from Parole Officer Pat Bennett are positive interactions in here everyday life.

Bennett, like all parole officers, will make several monthly unannounced home visits and check in with her when he knows she has treatment sessions.

“Parole’s really good. It helps me stay out of trouble. Mr. Bennett, Patrick, is a very good parole officer,” Judi shared. “He doesn’t hound you, but lets you know you can’t be messing up.”

Parole Officer Bennett says that not every sex offense case is the same, so they handle each one differently. However, no matter the case, Bennett says the goal is always the same – to ensure sex offenders don’t repeat their crimes.

“Even with kid victims, I think a lot of times sex offenders all get classified as pedophiles and the general public, if you’re a sex offender, you’re a pedophile and that’s far from the truth,” Bennett said. “We do a really good job of supervising to the victim profile.”

Some offenders are undergoing treatment for mental health, drug or alcohol abuse, on top of rehabilitation for committing a sex offense.

“It’s always good for the parole officer to change the routine,” said Paul Rigby, a senior parole officer with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. “That’s why we don’t schedule the home visits and we try to see them at different times.”

Halloween rules for registered sex offenders:

  • No lights on.
  • No Halloween décor.
  • No candy.
  • No costumes.
  • No kids inside home.
  • Only answer the door for officers.
  • Abide by a 3 p.m. curfew.

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