Parents say new correctional facility is too close to schools, neighborhoods

Some families in north Phoenix are upset about their new neighbors.

The Arizona Department of Corrections has just opened up a re-entry facility for felons in an area not too far from schools and homes. The center provides housing, counseling, substance abuse and job services for newly released inmates.

The facility is located just off of Interstate 17 and Pinnacle Peak Road, where there is already a juvenile detention facility. It is now home to nearly 60 felons, many of whom are sex offenders.

The re-entry is about a mile away from Sandra Day O'Connor High School and about a mile away from a large community center.

The offenders here have already done at least 85 percent of their time and are on supervised release.

Parents are upset about how close the facility is to their homes and feel that the D.O.C. didn't do enough to notify families before they opened it up.

"As of August 16th, there were 48 residents. 26 of them were level 2 and level 3 sex offenders and they do have ankle monitors on," said Julie Read, a concerned parent.

Read, a mother of three, has been very vocal with the Arizona Dept. of Corrections, demanding answers and airing her issues and about this new re-entry facility. While it is not directly next ot homes or schools, Read says it's close enough to cause concern.

"We let our older children go to the Shops at Norterra and Harkins movie theater and walk around," she said. "And I understand there's sex offenders who live all over the valley.. but to bring such a dense population in and move them into one location.. it's concerning."

The D.O.C. says inmates who live here must come back every night. They have a curfew between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. If they don't return or if they're late, officers can track them down using ankle monitors and they could go back to jail.

some parents say the Corrections Department didn't do enough to nofify residents. A public hearing was not required, but one was held in May. However, many families didn't find out about the hearing, the re-entry center and the offenders it would house until letters were sent home by the Deer Valley Unified School District in August. By that time, the new neighbors had already moved in.

"I think that brings a sense of fear just in general as far as when you see somebody that walks into a restaurant or store with an ankle monitor on," said Read.

The Department of Corrections did not make anyone available on Monday for an on-camera interview about this issue.

The facility can house up to 100 offenders.

All schools within a three mile radius of the re-entry center are considered exclusion zones, which means the offenders cannot enter those areas.Their ankle monitors will alert corrections officers if they do enter excluded areas.