Rally against sex offender shelters scheduled for Saturday

04/13/2010 12:00 AM |

A rally against the continued presence of sex offender shelters on the East End is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday at the County Center in Riverside.
Led by county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) and Mason Haas — a Riverhead tax assessor and outspoken opponent of the shelter program — the group will rendezvous there before walking to the nearby Suffolk County Correction Facility for a press conference, officials said.
The jail property plays host to one of two shelters, which are actually construction trailers outfitted with cots.The other is located on county-owned land in Westhampton.
County Executive Steve Levy in January had vowed to dissolve the trailer system in favor of a voucher program in which the county’s homeless sex offenders would each be given $90 daily vouchers for room and board. But western legislators have balked at providing the funds necessary to execute the program, even though few offenders who originate from the East End use the trailers here.
Officials estimate it now costs about $1 million to shuttle the convicts back and forth to Riverside and Westhampton each day in taxis.