Oklahoma will begin creating separate nursing homes for convicted sex offenders who require long term care. The facilities will provide additional security and surveillance measures to protect non-sex offender patients.
Oklahoma only has 30 known sex offenders living in state nursing homes at present, but that number is expected to grow as convicted sex offenders are released from prison and require long term care. Currently, nursing homes are required by state law to post a public notice when a registered sex offender is admitted as a patient. However, because of low levels of staffing and security, nursing homes have reportedly had problems properly monitoring sex offenders. Read more about Oklahoma's efforts to protect nursing home patients by starting stand-alone nursing homes for sex offenders.
Oklahoma's idea to segregate patients who are convicted sex offenders from other nursing home patients is a good idea. However, the rights of reformed sex offenders also deserve protection when they committed a single, perhaps non-violent, offense early in life and had no further problems during the forty or fifty years before they needed nursing home care. Because they received a lifetime classification as a sex offender, they will be required to receive nursing home care in the same facility as other sex offenders who may have repeatedly engaged in horribly violent sex crimes. I hope Oklahoma will work through issues such as these with the same thoughfulness it used to establish stand-alone facilities for sex offenders in the first place.
Above all else, I hope the purpose of Oklahoma's worthy efforts -- to eliminate neglect, abuse, and exploitation of the elderly -- is accomplished. But first they'll need to find security and surveillance staff that don't blush easily.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia
Posted on Wed, June 11, 2008
by Robert Carter