BANNING PROCEDURES

PURPOSE:

In order to maintain the quality of the lifestyles for residents within the public housing communities served by the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County (HCAAC), procedures are necessary to ban individuals who have been involved in or conduct criminal activity or engage in other conduct detrimental to the safety and well being of public housing residents or HCAAC staff.

POLICY:

HCAAC acquires information related to criminal or other activity that adversely affects the safety and quality of life for its residents, from a variety of sources including, residents, local agencies, the press, the local police department, and other law-enforcement agencies. Based upon the information it gathers, HCAAC at times will need to ban individuals whose activities adversely affect the safety and quality of life for HCAAC residents and staff. HCAAC is committed to providing communities that are safe, drug and crime free, and a pleasant place in to live. Although HCAAC cannot insure the safety of its tenants or guests, and does not intend by this policy to heighten its duty of care, HCAAC will not tolerate criminal activity and disruptive behavior.

RESIDENTS:

Procedures for addressing residents who engage in criminal activity are outlined in the agency’s lease termination policy and within the public housing lease. Residents cannot be banned until they are no longer housed within the community, (i.e., through eviction, family removal, or voluntary move).

NON-RESIDENTS:

Non-residents whose conduct jeopardizes the safety and wellbeing of HCAAC residents or staff, or whose behavior is deemed detrimental to the overall quality of life in HCAAC communities, may be banned for an initial period of five (5) years. Prior to enforcing a ban, the following points must be satisfied:

  1. Prior to issuing a banning letter it must be confirmed that the individual is not a resident.
  2. The individual must have committed the incident(s) on or near public housing property; specifically, apartment units, public areas within the community, community centers and offices, HCAAC administrative offices, recreation areas, streets and parking lots that lie within and/or adjacent to property lines, spaces dedicated to other agencies within the communities, playgrounds, fields, woods and easements that lead to and from HCAAC communities. County owned property adjacent to public housing may also be considered as “near.” Such incidents will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Community Safety Manager. If the individual is a registered sex offender, HCAAC need not consider the location of the offense before banning the individual.
  3. Should each of the above criteria be met, a Banning Request (see Attachment A) may be completed by a Community Safety Coordinator. The Banning Request will be forwarded to the Community Safety Manager for final review and disposition. All information will be verified by the Community Safety Manager and a file created on the individual.
  4. After a file has been created by a Community Safety Coordinator and if the Community Safety Manager grants the Banning Request, then a Banning Letter (see Attachment B) will be prepared. The completed Banning Letter will be presented to the Community Safety Manager for approval and signature.
  5. The Banning Letter will be issued and the individual duly notified. Every attempt will be made to deliver the Banning Letter in person. In addition, in every case where the banned person’s mailing address is known, the Community Safety Coordinator initiating the banning process will cause one copy of the Banning Letter to be sent to the banned individual’s last known address via standard U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail and a second copy sent to the individual via USPS “Certified Mail.” Where applicable, the Community Safety Coordinator will make appropriate notification to family members and known acquaintances of the banned person residing in HCAAC public housing communities.
  6. If hand delivered, the bottom section of the Banning Letter will be completed indicating date, time and location of the delivery, as well as the signature of the individual delivering the letter.
  7. A copy of the Banning Letter will be placed within the individual’s file, which is maintained in the Community Safety Coordinator’s Office. Duplicate Individual banning files will be maintained and secured by the Community Safety Coordinators in their respective offices. In addition, the Community Safety Coordinator will cause the Banned Persons List to be updated to include the banned individuals name and pertinent identifying information. A copy of the Banned Persons List will be maintained by each Community Safety Coordinator and shall be made available for resident inspection during normal office hours at the Management Office in each community.
  8. Upon request non-residents, including law enforcement agencies, may review the Banned Persons List during normal business hours. To the extent HCAAC enters into a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement, local law enforcement will be provided an updated copy of the list each time it is amended.
  9. Banned persons applying for public housing programs will be excluded from the application process until their banned status has been rescinded. Notification of banned status will occur at the time of application.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following may occur on a case specific basis:

Occasionally a law enforcement agency requests that HCAAC refrain from continuing with the banning process for a particular individual. This is usually requested to facilitate an ongoing investigation involving the person, family members, and/or associates. HCAAC will make every attempt to cooperate with reasonable requests.

In instances where the application of policy is unclear, the situation will be carefully reviewed by the Community Safety Manager. Where appropriate, benevolence will be employed as a deciding factor.

RESCISSION OF BANNING ORDER

HCAAC is committed to providing its’ residents and staff with safe and crime free communities in which to live and work. At the same time, HCAAC acknowledges an individual’s efforts to rehabilitate their conduct and recognizes the importance of maintaining significant family relationships. In order to responsibly restore visitation privileges to banned persons, HCAAC has established criteria for rescission of an individual’s banned status. Each banned person requesting a rescission must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be free from arrests for incidents of violence or drug-related criminal activity, or any other criminal or unsafe activity, for a period of five (5) years.
  2. Be free from arrests for trespassing onto HCAAC property since the date the banning was imposed.
  3. Have satisfactorily completed a court ordered rehabilitative, counseling or community service oriented program, if applicable.
  4. Have a family member currently residing in an HCAAC community, or have other compelling justification for rescission.
  5. Persons banned for murder, manslaughter, rape, attempted murder or any behavior that resulted in serious bodily harm to another individual are not eligible for rescission.
  6. Persons banned for drug-related criminal activity for manufacture or production of methamphetamines are not eligible for rescission.
  7. Persons subsequent to an HCAAC ban for any reason who are later convicted of drug-related criminal activity for manufacture or production of methamphetamines on the premises of any federally assisted housing are not eligible for rescission.
  8. Due to the potential for injury and liability, registered sex offenders are ineligible for rescission.

Violation of any of the above criteria, or presence of other relevant circumstance, may result in denial of the request for rescission.

It is the policy of HCAAC to require individuals who have been banned from HCAAC property to request, in writing, that their ban be rescinded. Resident(s) and family members, in addition to the banned person, may also petition for the individual’s ban to be rescinded. The following requirements must be met:

  1. The banned person and/or resident petitioning on behalf of a banned individual must submit a letter to the Community Safety Manager requesting that the banning be rescinded. The letter must include a valid current return address that is not associated with an HCAAC property.

Upon receipt of the above documents, the Community Safety Manager will review the banned person’s file to determine the plausibility of rescission. The Community Safety Manager will then conduct the following inquiries:

  1. Review arrest records, court records, crime reports, and complaints regarding activity of the banned person, dating back to those records considered at the time of the original date of the banning order.
  2. Conduct interviews with Community Safety staff, Property Management, members of the community and other pertinent sources, concerning the person’s past conduct detrimental to the safety and well-being of HCAAC’s communities as well as their present and future conduct and how it may affect the safety and wellbeing of HCAAC’s communities.
  3. If application to rescind the ban is made by a resident on behalf of a banned individual, HCAAC will interview the resident and other family members regarding the reason for the application as well as conduct other interviews it deems necessary to evaluate the reason for application.

The final decision on the request for rescission will be made by the Community Safety Manager. After a decision is reached the banned person or applicant on behalf of a banned person will be notified in writing as to the status of their request.

If approval to rescind the banning order is granted, HCAAC will require that the person receiving the approval comply with the following provisions:

  1. Obey all rules and regulations establish by HCAAC
  2. Refrain from violent and/or destructive behavior;
  3. Refrain from involvement in criminal activity that threatens the health,
    safety or peaceful enjoyment of residents or staff;
  4. Refrain from involvement in ANY drug-related criminal activity, including
    but not limited to, the manufacture, sale, distribution, use or possession,
    of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.Violation of the terms of this agreement will result in the person being returned to “active banned status.” The individual will not be considered for rescission for an additional five (5) years from the date of the most recent violation, and may result in an indefinite banning status.

Modification of Banned Status without Application

Department of Community Safety staff will conduct annual reviews, on a monthly basis, based upon the monthly anniversary date of the banning files, of all individuals on the active Banned Persons List. In the course of reviewing the banning files, HCAAC may voluntarily rescind, decrease, or increase the length of an individual banning based upon information obtained since the previous review. Staff will examine arrest records, court records, crime reports, and complaints regarding activity of the banned person, dating back to the time of the original date of the banning order. Staff will also consider the requests and any special needs of its residents.

When applicable, staff will interview law enforcement personnel, HCAAC staff, members of the community and other pertinent sources, concerning the banned individual’s conduct dating back to the events giving rise to the original date Banning Letter. Violation of any of the below listed criteria may result in extension of the ban for a period of at least one (1) year:

  1. Failure to abide by rules and regulations established by HCAAC;
  2. Participating in violent and/or destructive behavior;
  3. Involvement in criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or peaceful
    enjoyment of residents or staff;
  4. Involvement in ANY drug-related criminal activity, including but not limited
    to, the manufacture, sale, distribution, use or possession, of a Controlled
    Dangerous Substance;
  5. Circumstances which could reasonably be deemed detrimental to the well-being of HCAAC communities.

If HCAAC rescinds a banning, that individual’s status on the Banned Persons List will be indicated as “RESCINDED” to indicate that the banning has been withdrawn.

The following departments and agencies will be notified of all decisions regarding rescission from the Banned Persons List:

  1. Chief Executive Officer of HCAAC
  2. Deputy Chief Executive Officer
  3. Director of Property Management
  4. All HCAAC Property Managers
  5. Division Director Rental Services Programs
  6. Appropriate Law Enforcement Agencies
  7. Affected family members
  8. Tenants with whom the Banned Person is known to visit frequently