We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Residency Restrictions for Sex Offenders: A Failure of Public Policy

2008 National:

The subject of local residency restrictions for sex offenders is not widely discussed among planners and others because sex offenses are abhorrent and the fear of ex-offenders is widespread. The number of sex offenders is large—by one report there are some 550,000 registered sex offenders nationally.1 But as more local and state governments adopt residency restrictions, planners and their lawyers may find themselves at the center of the debate. What are the issues, what do we know, what has been the experience elsewhere, and how can we handle this seemingly intractable issue when it ultimately comes before us?

A few months ago I wrote a first version of this article for the newsletter of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association because I came to believe that we must understand the issues and develop policies to reduce recidivism and prevent further victimization. It is uncomfortable for me to write on this issue, but a recent Georgia Supreme Court decision and an appellate decision in New Jersey prompt me to address the issues for my fellow local government lawyers and planners. Now that I have read as much of the literature as I could find and the case law, I am convinced that residency restrictions do not reduce recidivism, do not offer any real protection for potential victims, are generally not legally defensible, and thwart efforts to reform offenders and return them to society. Indeed, residency restrictions likely increase the potential for reoffending. We must refocus strategies to identify those most likely to reoffend and work aggressively on a targeted basis to restrict the movements of some of them, monitor them more closely, and treat all more effectively. We must be disciplined as planners and government lawyers to respond to sex offenses rationally, not emotionally. ..Source.. by Dwight H. Merriam, FAICP

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