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September 26, 2016

Florida paper devotes three-part editorial to assail state's sex offender residency restrictions

A helpful reader altered me to this remarkable three-part editorial from the Florida Times-Union that concluded over the weekend highlighting problems with residency restrictions for sex offenders:

Ever eager to focus on solutions even more than problems, I will highlight here the closing sections of the last of these editorials:

A year ago, California stopped requiring all sex offenders meet residency restrictions, instead enforcing these laws only against high-risk offenders. Available housing for low-risk offenders increased dramatically, and the number of homeless offenders decreased. Counties here, such as Duval and Nassau, should immediately create working groups to look at the effectiveness of strict county residency restrictions en route to making changes. We should also look at novel ways to create more housing for released sexual felons.

Communities in Florida have begun to experiment. Several hotels that meet residency restrictions have been transformed into facilities to house sex offenders. In other places in the state, mobile home parks have been converted to complexes that serve those coming out of prison.

One of the more comprehensive programs, however, has been launched by a nonprofit in Eugene, Ore.  An organization, Sponsors, provides both short-term and long-term housing for sexual offenders and predators upon their release. In addition, the organization is currently building an entire complex of apartments that will offer permanent housing for ex-felons, including those convicted of sexual offenses.

Other states such as Washington and Vermont have similarly enacted more humane and effective measures for housing sex offenders and predators that pair governmental agencies with nonprofits to locate housing.

It’s time we look at the possibility of creating such programs here.  Homelessness is not the answer.

September 26, 2016 at 05:16 PM | Permalink

Comments

I've said it thousands of times - the idiotic "residency restrictions" and even the glorious S*x Offender Registries will never have any chance of being legitimate until all of the same nonsense is applied to everyone who has committed any type of serious crime. At LEAST until that is done, the big governments that have these laws are criminal regimes. Do not support them or their law enforcement criminals.

Do not support any people who support these laws. People who would so ignorantly and anti-factually sacrifice the liberty of other people for their own supposed peace do not deserve peace. They deserve what the terrorists bring to them.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Sep 26, 2016 5:28:18 PM

Anyone who believes in and accepts current SO laws, residency restrictions, the Adam Walsh Act and International Megan's Law does not have a brain in their head.

That helps explain Congress and the Supreme Court.

At least the 5th Circuit is starting to see the light.

Posted by: albeed | Sep 26, 2016 8:11:30 PM

Correction to previous post:

should read:

At least the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit is starting to see the light!

Posted by: albeed | Sep 26, 2016 8:22:30 PM

I agree times two with the two commenters above: residency requirements don't work, have never worked, and only serve to keep the "community" unsafe, promoting vigilante "justice".

Even advocates and scholars for victims of sexual assault agree: residency requirements are idiocy.

Ths idiot who wrote the article referenced above apparently fails to mention that the reason California has no residency requirements at the current moment is that California Superior Courts (and the Cal. Supreme Court) have ruled them unconstitutional. They are as are all residency requirements nationwide.

The US Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Alaska on ex-post facto residency requirements was based on the utterly false claim that residency requirements and other restrictions put on sex offenders upon release is not punishment, but only "regulation."

This incredible, because it is so obviously untrue, conclusion has allowed every Tom, Dick and Harry in every small and large locality everywhere in the US to pass its own residency requirements.

This makes it harder for those that have paid for their offenses to re-integrate into society, it does not make the society safer. It is law passed based on emotion and pandering to the majority. It is the canary in the coal mine of American jurisprudence.

If they can to it to the sex offenders then why not everyone? Of course, the reason is why not? It is permitted to break our Constitution and go against over 2 centuries of the foundations our country was based upon: the rejection of the intrusive methods used by the British when we were one of their colonies.

This bedrock principle has been discarded, why? Because sex offender. What's next? Arsonists? Animal abusers? You? Me?

Anyone writing about this issue who does not start from this principle and concept from the get go is an ignorant fool. Residency requirements don't work and they are anti-American at their heart.

Posted by: Stephen Douglas | Sep 26, 2016 10:53:19 PM

Florida's practice of requiring former sex offenders to live under bridges could put police and other law enforcement personnel at needless risk to their own safety if these former sex offenders under the bridge should ever get the notion of banding together like the Black Panthers to arm themselves and to form a radical self-defense group. They might even arm themselves with illegal weapons which are very easy to obtain in Florida.

It's one thing if police had reason to suspect that one was about to commit a crime to move in but to simply check whether or not a former offender has registered is asking for trouble. Like anybody else, former sex offenders can stand only too much harassment before they lash out. We could have scenarios where former sex offenders use Florida's "stand-your-ground" laws as an excuse to kill a police officer that checks to see whether the group under the bridge is under compliance with Florida's restrictions. The only surprise to me is that these former sex offenders are not forming a group similar to Black Lives Matter to fight back.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Sep 27, 2016 9:18:19 AM

Little by little residency requirements will be done away with.
The whole idea of the registry is based on false claims that it keeps people "safer" because of high recidivism in the sex-offender population. The public has been fed a line of bull by the government and they are now starting to realize it.

Those affected by the registry must keep fighting until it's abolished through out the country.

Posted by: kat | Sep 27, 2016 9:28:16 AM

What can anyone say? We have worse offenders in our Administrations that are never punished and are paid to be there. Their Oath of Office means nothing to them and they persecute the people.Limitations in administration is needed to give those that really care about the people and this Country a chance to prove it. Career politicians should be a no-no, no one deserves a job for a lifetime on the backs of the people. The fat cats that sit in Congress watching porn on their computers instead of doing their job should be recalled.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Sep 27, 2016 5:49:57 PM

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