Focusing mainly on the local controversy, journalist Randal Edgar didn’t ask why this should be true:
Dennis B. Langley, president and CEO of the Urban League of Rhode Island, which runs Harrington Hall, played down the concerns, saying the shelter, which opened as a permanent center in 2003, has housed sex offenders for years. The only difference now, he said, is that more are being sent there.
“We have a large number of sex offenders throughout the state. We have never seen as many,” he said.
It could be that offenders are attracted to the state of Rhode Island by legal loopholes that allow them to remain anonymous while they appeal their convictions as well as the risk tier at which they’re classified. The process of appeals can take years. The process of closing the loophole is also likely to take years, inasmuch as the General Assembly has held for study a bill to close it. Also held for study is a bill requiring “sex offenders temporarily living in Rhode Island” to register with police within their first two weeks here.
In the meantime, we can only marvel at the lives that our guests lead:
… While sex offenders who have been released from prison might live in any given neighborhood, local residents say housing offenders at the shelter is different, because they are required to leave by 7 a.m. each day and cannot return until 6 p.m.
“It’s just too much,” Bergin-Andrews said.
Langley, however, said the likelihood of repeat offenses is small. People staying at the shelter are given bus passes and routinely ride to Providence shelters during the day to get free meals, he said.
Generally speaking, Rhode Island is a good place to be if you’ve got no place to be.