For Immediate Release
December 2, 2013
Cambridge, MA–The city of San Antonio, Texas has, for the past few months and in spite of calls for evidence that it is needed, been moving along legislation to ban registered sex offenders from living close to a city park, entering one, or even walking too slowly past one.
The official language reads as this: An Ordinance amending City Code Chapter 22 by creating a new Article XI, entitled “Park Safety Zones”, to prohibit registered sex offenders from having a permanent or temporary residence within 1000 feet of a City park, prohibiting their entry in City parks, and prohibiting loitering within 300 feet of City parks; and adopting penalties for violations.
This is not directed only at those on parole or some other form of supervision. This is, in violation of constitutional protection, directed at all on the registry. It will not be applicable only going forward but will, ex post facto, be applied to every registered citizen within the city limits and registered visitors to the city.
The measure will be heard by the City Council Thursday, December 5.
Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, a state affiliate of National Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc. (RSOL) has attended every hearing and presented facts and evidence showing that these sorts of restrictions have no correlation with public safety. In fact, these sorts of restrictions interfere with the goal of the criminal justice system for rehabilitation and are correlated with negative consequences that destabilize registered citizens and can lead to decreased public safety.
According to Mary Sue Molnar, director of Texas Voices, in a earlier interview, “We have people on the sex-offender registry for doing nothing more than spending the night with a girl they thought was 16 or making a one-time mistake 20 years ago. These people have families and have children. They use the city parks just like any family does.”
These restrictions will apply to the Romeo adjudicated in the past at age 18 for his romance with his 15-year-old high school sweetheart.
These restrictions will prohibit the 50-year-old businessman, adjudicated 25 years ago and fully rehabilitated, from taking his grandchildren to any city park in San Antonio.
These restrictions will require that the citizens on the registry as juveniles, some adjudicated at ages ten and eleven, as well as those whose crimes of offense were misdemeanors, to never again visit San Antonio’s famed River Walk.
Before ordinances are passed that will severely affect and limit the lives of all of San Antonio’s registered citizens, the city should be required to produce evidence that a problem exists needing relief and further show evidence that the relief will come through legislation such as this.
San Antonio has consistently failed to do this. Texas Voices and RSOL demand that they do so.