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Sex offender housing and mobility: New research

December 2016:

A new study looks at the residential patterns of registered sex offenders 15 years after arrest.

The issue: Numerous state and local governments have adopted policies restricting where registered sex offenders can live. Often, they are prohibited from living within a certain distance of a school, daycare center, park or other place where children gather. In some parts of the country, restrictions are so strict that sex offenders have very limited housing options. News organizations nationwide have chronicled the most severe consequences of these policies — groups of sex offenders living under bridges and in hotels, tent cities and parking lots. A decade ago, the Palace Mobile Home Park in Florida began offering housing specifically to sex offenders.

A study worth reading: Sex Offender Residential Mobility and Relegation: The Collateral Consequences Continue,” published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, December 2016.

Study summary: Richard Tewksbury, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Louisville, and Elizabeth Ehrhardt Mustaine, a sociology professor at the University of Central Florida, teamed up with doctoral student Shawn Rolfe to build upon previous research that Tewksbury and Mustaine did together on sex offender housing. The earlier study, published in 2006, found that the majority of registered sex offenders changed residences after conviction but that only some had difficulty finding housing that was comparable to where they lived prior to conviction.

For the new study, the three researchers examined the housing conditions of 212 of the sex offenders who had been investigated for the earlier study, which focused on a metropolitan community in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The authors wanted to see whether and how offenders’ circumstances had changed 15 years after their initial arrest and a decade after the previous study. ..Continued..

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