How many experts support residency restrictions? Take a wild guess

As Minnesota lawmakers mull a bill that would authorize local units of government to enact tough new restrictions on where sex offenders can live, its advocates face one major obstacle: finding a single authority in the field who believes it’s a good idea.

At least, that’s the opinion of Mitchell Hamline law professor Eric Janus, who has written extensively on sex offender laws and policies.

“I don’t think you can find any experts — or a person who actually deals with sex offenders — who thinks residency restrictions are effective,” said Janus. “It’s amazing and quite uniform. That goes from Departments of Corrections to county attorneys and prosecutors to state task forces. Everybody says it’s a bad idea. It inhibits re-entry. It inhibits stability. It inhibits supervision. And most likely it increases recidivism.”

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    • #10323 Reply
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      Paul

      When will it end? It’s one thing to have residency restrictions which are misguided at best and unconstitutional but for states to give cities, towns, townships and villages the power to make ordinances to set up exclusionary zones, well…….think about it! If all fifty states had the power to do that, why wouldn’t any city, town, etc set up an exclusionary zone? Would incentive would they have not to? Suddenly we’re looking at a situation that resembles Miami Dade and Miracle Village. And take it up a few notches from that and I don’t think it takes much of an imagination to see what implications I am drawing here. This is unacceptable. I hope these pigs remember that they can’t take it with them. I hope they feel that selling their souls to the devil for power and money is worth it. Remember, THEY KNOW that there is no evidence anywhere to suggest that residency restrictions and exclusionary zones help to protect children. They know it. But if it helps advance their political career in spite of going against the evidence, they’ll be first in line to speak out for it. It’s disgusting!!!!!

    • #10324 Reply
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      Paul

      Just so there is no confusion, exclusionary zone in the way I mean it is a city, town or village that does not allow a sex offender to live there, period….regardless of whether or not they live in a place outside of the 1000 or 2000 feet restriction.

    • #10325 Reply
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      “its advocates face one major obstacle: finding a single authority in the field who believes it’s a good idea.”

      Since when is this an obstacle? Does anyone seriously think the lawmakers will weigh that factor before making a decision?

    • #10326 Reply
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      Matthew

      A “concerned parent” expressing “shock/concern/outrage” that a sex offender can live so close to a (school/park/daycare/bus stop/church) is usually the only “expert” that is required for a residency restriction to pass.

    • #10327 Reply
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      Paul

      But what makes them concerned in the first place? These laws and the fear they generate. The more laws and restrictions are created, the more there is a demand for new laws and restrictions. The media and politicians help to fan the flames. That’s why when we have to endure daily bad news, I shudder each and every time it happens. Because with each new law and restriction being passed, there will be more and more “concerned parents” which means, guess what? More laws and restrictions.

    • #10328 Reply
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      Matthew

      Lazy, credulous reporters who don’t question assumptions.

    • #10329 Reply
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      Mike

      Unfortunately, we live in a country with draconian laws that are passed based on emotion and not actual facts (and not the falsified facts that these politicians seem to have on hand). We all bad talk the politicians for passing these laws…but heck they aren’t stupid. They are predators in their own right, they pry on the fears of a community and create a cycle of fear that makes the (cowardly) politicians look like a hero. It’s all a numbers games, the local politician who “cracks” down on sex offenders will get more votes than the educated politician who reforms laws based on facts and guidance. If someone can finally show society that they are actually being fooled and it’s causing them harm, maybe some actual reform can happen.

      But siding with a sex offender is political suicide…

    • #10330 Reply
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      Socrates II

      Lol!!! Fred, I love you man. You are correct. Law makers don’t give S%$# about having or getting an expert’s opinion about this. Having the facts, statistics, emperical evidence based on sound research and study. Hell no. Then they would have face the truth and start rolling back this crap. I’ll tell you something else, I believe there are law makers who know the truth, i.e., that sex offender laws are not only unconstitutional [ Ex Post Facto, Due Process, Equal Protection] but also—just out wrong but they deny their conscience and bend to the will of the A%# holes who want these laws in place—anyway. But as anyone knows, it will take the US Supreme Court to strick down Adam Walsh, Magan’s Law, & Jocob Wetterling to end this crap. But hey, in order for that to happen you will need REAL MEN (which you don’t have currently) on the bench not afraid to apply the US Constitution to this issue.

    • #10331 Reply
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      You call yourself an expert?

      Tell a concerned parent in a public forum (with referenced material) they are possibly in the 93% who will offend. Watch their reaction, the crowd’s reaction and the council’s reaction. Then tell them if not them, then a spouse/partner, near family member or close friend/neighbor could be in the 93% regardless of the residency restriction from wherever they live. Let them say they are in the remaining 7% and so is everyone else they have in contact with their offspring.

      Let them learn about this 93% to put the seed of doubt in their mind about who they know, really know and whether the children are safe regardless of the school, daycare, church, park, etc distance from these people. They will possibly start to question in a state of possible fear and will watch their children even closer. Maybe they will finally grasp the overall concept here about stranger danger and learn it could be closer to home than that, much closer… maybe even as close as the person they are living with or next to.

      Let them as an “expert” know this.

      (I just have to say this reminds of the old adage about more accidents happen at home more than anywhere else. It is true based upon statistics. Just goes to show the applicability of the 93% being within the home (or inner circle of people if you like))

    • #10332 Reply
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      Politicians are parental “experts” too?

      I would say then take the 93% data that is well known and referenced today about someone close offending and turn it on the politician. Include the politician in the stat and say they, someone they know or love could be in the 93% and show them distances don’t matter. They will politically reply, “If we stop one for the children, then we’ve done our job.” In turn you say, “If one then who offends is within this residency restriction and is in the 93%, does that justify the residency restriction in the end anyway?” They will most likely ignore the comment and possibly say something about them and theirs being in the 7% with some justification behind that. However, you have to believe in the end, they will do the same as the concerned parent “expert” (or be a concerned parent if they are one) and start to question these actions about those near and around them. If you make them feel how it could impact them, then they will start to realize the impact. NIMBYism will only go so far until they feel it becomes personal…..

    • #10333 Reply
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      Denial is a tough nut to crack.

    • #10334 Reply
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      Of course they know the truth. Lawmakers aren’t stupid. They hear the facts and evidence, they just don’t care. They have more to gain politically and financially by ignoring the facts.

      The sex offender registry is a business and they will continue to use it for as long as it is working for them.

    • #10335 Reply
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      Paul

      I have said this all along. Until it becomes personal, these a*#$@$! will continue to ride the wave along until their 401K becomes padded with greenbacks. Mark Foley, Larry Craig and others are a case in point. Hypocrites need to be exposed. The old saying that we all learned in elementary school “whoever smelt it dealt it” applies here.

    • #10336 Reply
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      Emil S

      How come I don’t read about these experts in the major news media? that I have to come to this or similar websites that are advocating for RSO to see these news?
      Clearly even facts are, it seems, toxic to the main stream media when they don’t go along the line that all people labeled as sex offenders are re-offending child molesters.

    • #10337 Reply
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      Mike

      Emil,

      real facts don’t tickle our ears like the padded ones do. We all love to be scared, that’s why we watch horror movies, ride insane roller coasters, or even watch the local news. If we are living life on the edge of our seats we aren’t having fun. So when people hear of an ex-offender moving in next door, our adrenaline starts to pump and we have to act (because haven’t you heard? sex offenders have the highest recidivism rates, you can check your local supermarkets copy of the national enquirer for the best stats.) When people start to believe the stranger danger lie they tend to not read the facts about how the sex offender knows the child personally and that’s when things go bad. Parents are being fooled by the government into thinking that by having residency restrictions they are protecting their children, but in all actuality the offender could be living with them. Their family must be the 7% of people who don’t offend.

    • #10338 Reply
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      Ed

      Residents are not being fooled by the government, they are being fooled by politicians (and vice versa). The government includes federal, state, and local expert entities ranging from the the U.S. Department of Justice (BJA, BJS, NSOPW) and its near endless research and materials shedding light on this complex issue. For example, crime data in many forms emphasize the vast majority of victims of sex offenders know their assailants. Continuing research supports treatment for juvenile sex offenders (who comprise over one-half of child sex offenders). Hundreds of state, local, and national entities cooperate with one another in proposing informed approaches and smart sentencing proven to reduce recidivism including successful re-entry and community supervision.

      On the other hand, politicians need to get through primaries and pander to fear and “feel-good” legislation. Extremism and finger pointing often rule the day. This is, in turn, further fed by the masses who form opinions from hate radio, television fiction, and so on.

      Once again, the “government” (the hated bureaucracy) continues to seek facts and evaluate outcomes. Hopefully, party politics and divisiveness stop the contest of who can be tougher on criminals even if it is actually compromising public safety. For over 25 years, I have directed state justice commissions, joined panels of experts in numerous fields, and tried to start and maintain momentum based on empirical evidence. Over and over again, the elected officials, especially the legislative branch, cut off our noses to spite our face.

      Nonetheless, there is, fortunately, progress. We as a nation have learned much and hopefully we will continue based upon evidence rather than emotion and scare tactics from extremists.

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