Maasiyahu prison in Ramle
Maasiyahu prison in Ramle, where the Shahaf system is installed. Photo by Hadar Cohen
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Officials in the Israel Prison Service's Unit for Monitoring Sex Offenders claim that due to turf wars among government agencies, a convicted pedophile is to be released from prison on Sunday without arrangements for housing or therapy. They say that makes it very difficult to keep tabs on the man, who is considered highly likely to reoffend.

The individual served two previous prison terms for sexual offenses against minors. After the second one, as now, he was ordered to remain under supervision following his release but he reoffended, committing sexual crimes against a young boy.

According to a figure familiar with the case, "In the absence of a supportive environment and with no permanent address, the individual will become even more dangerous while the monitoring capabilities have declined significantly."

After a committee with representatives from the health and the social affairs ministries reviewed the convict's case several months ago, it was bounced between both ministries.

The representatives of the Social Affairs Ministry's Division of Mental Retardation determined that the individual was not diagnosed with a developmental disability, while their counterparts from the Health Ministry's Mental Health Service determined that he had not been diagnosed with a mental illness. As a result, none of the available programs for sex offenders were deemed suitable for him.

A group home in Petah Tikva eventually agreed to admit the individual, but the committee refused to approve the placement. "The subject is a pedophile who is recognized by both the health and the social affairs ministries. There are no residential programs for sex offenders; as a result, he cannot be admitted to any residential program including the group home in Petah Tikva," the committee chairman, Dr. Igor Barash, wrote.

Barash said that a residential program for sex offenders is scheduled to open in August 2013, at which time the individual could be considered for inclusion. Until then, the committee recommended that he be admitted to a daily outpatient program for sex offenders, which ends at 4 P.M.

The Israel Prison Service said in a statement that its sex offenders' monitoring unit will do its best to track the parolee.

The Social Affairs Ministry said it does not deal with pedophiles, which is a medical issue.

The Health Ministry said the Social Affairs Ministry and the prison service are responsible for prisoners after their release, and noted that the individual could be referred to the sex offenders' treatment program in Petah Tikva operated by the prison service and the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority.

The National Council for the Child said it had put pressure on all of the relevant agencies to find an immediate solution. The organization's executive director, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, said he was not optimistic: "Knowingly and consciously, a dangerous sex offender will be released into the streets, putting many children at great and palpable risk," he said.

"The committee announced that a group home for sex offenders is scheduled to open in 2013," Kadman continued, "but how many children in the coming year will pay an intolerably heavy price for their entire lives as a result of being molested by sex offenders and pedophiles who are released into the street without a suitable treatment program?"