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As More Sex Offenders Make Their Way Into Nursing Homes, Are Facilities Exposing Themselves To Increased Liability?

As if nursing home patients and their families didn’t have enough to worry about with respect to receiving proper medical care, many patients may be shocked to learn that they are living amongst registered sex offenders.  While the component of sex offenders in nursing homes is nothing new, the fact remains that as a generation of sexual deviants ages— their need for skilled nursing care is expanding.

 Sex Offenders Make Their Way Into Nursing HomesWith few alternatives, many convicted felons— some of whom have particularly disturbing backgrounds are settling into long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  While their need for medical care is apparent, what is concerning is that on many occasions, these people are placed in facilities side-by-side with other patients– without any advance knowledge.

Currently, only several states including: California, Oklahoma, Illinois and Minnesota have laws that require a nursing home to announce to other patients at the facility when a sex offender has entered the facility.  Thus, in the majority of situations, convicted felons with violent backgrounds are living freely amongst nursing home patients without information to other patients.

A recent article in the Star-Telegram highlighted just how extensive the situation of convicted sex offenders living in nursing homes can be.  Approximately, 15-20 of the 65 patients at Lake Worth Nursing Home have a criminal record that includes sex offenses. Shockingly, while Texas has a law that requires the state to inform area-residents of the presence of sex offenders in the area, the law doesn’t apply to the notification of other patients at the facility.

Certainly, even without any legislation that requires nursing homes to notify patients of sex offenders or provide special accommodations for them, I would certainly argue that many of these facilities are exposing themselves to increased liability by housing these potentially dangerous people.

Given that the rate of recidivism in sex offenders is alarmingly high, it is fair to assume that at least some of these people have indeed more criminal acts during their nursing home admission.  In these circumstances, I feel a strong argument could be made that simply due to their criminal backgrounds, the nursing home was on notice that the individual could have violent propensities.

However, my guess is that despite the potential threat to the safety of other patients, nursing homes in Texas and other states will continue to  bring out the welcome wagon for patients of all backgrounds— regardless of the severity of their indiscretions— due to the fact that the government reimburses facilities that care for criminals the same as they do for patients who have lived an admirable life.  Perhaps we need to re-consider the way we provide governmental benefits to those who have already harmed society?

For laws related to California nursing homes, look here.

For more information on nursing homes in Texas look here. For laws related to Texas nursing homes, look here.

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog entries:

Convicted Sex Offender Pulls From His Old Bag Of Tricks While Assaulting Elderly Nursing Home Patient

Another Sexual Assault Of A Nursing Home Patient At The Hands Of A Convicted Felon

Sexual Assaults In Nursing Homes, Not Exactly A Pleasant Topic– But Is An Issue That Needs Attention

Do Former Inmates Deserve To Be Living In Nursing Homes?

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  • Karen Younger

    Sex offenders do not have a high recidivism rate. The Federal Bureau of Statistics says it is a whopping 5.3%. The State of Ohio Department of Corrections (hardly a sex offender friendly organization) says it is 8%. Every study done in the last decade says community notification is ineffective in deterring crime. Of course you can always go back to the 70’s and 80’s when poorly done studies said sex offenders could not be cured. But hey, why even do that when you can just conjecture?
    This information is easy to obtain. There are numerous state sex offender
    management boards and leading researchers such as Jill Levenson have done empirical studies on sex offenders and the registry. It is not hard to find. There is this thing called Google.
    Before publishing this nonsense the writer should checked his facts. People who gun for sex offenders are usually politicians with no platform and lazy journalists. Do the research next time before you publish.

  • nk

    Do your homework !!
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/p/recidivism-studies.html
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm
    “Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense—43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders.” This is from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics
    and
    Half of the 9,700 sex offenders were over the age of 35 when released. Recidivism studies typically find that the older the prisoner when released, the lower the rate of recidivism. However, although this study did find the lowest rearrest for a sex crime (3.3 percent) did belong to the oldest sex offenders — 45 years old and older — other age group comparisons were inconsistent. The percentage rearrested for another sex crime after their release was 6.1 percent of those ages 18-24, 5.5 percent of those ages 25-29, 5.8 percent of those ages 30-34, 6.1 percent of those ages 35-39, 5.6 percent of those ages 40-44 and 3.3 percent of those ages 45 or older.
    Study shows that 5% of sex offenders commit a new sex crime.
    compare with 65% reoffending a assault crimes.

  • Jonathan Rosenfeld

    Karen-
    I respectfully disagree with you. The statistics you cite seem very low compared with similar statistics from national studies http://www.csom.org/pubs/recidsexof.html) that estimate recidivism rates to be higher— particularly for rapists and sex offenders.
    However, for the purpose of arguments sake, let’s assume that the recidivism rates remain at 5%. To me this is still an alarmingly high rate of dangerous behavior compared with the general population. Given that many of these convicted felons are living freely amongst some of the most vulnerable members of society, I find these numbers to pose an unnecessary risk.
    Given this risk of recidivism, I still put the burden of conducting regular background checks and monitoring on the shoulders of the nursing homes or other institutions to look after the safety of all patients.

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