Sexual offense residency restriction laws: cruel and ineffective

By Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg . . . Since he was released from prison almost five years ago, John has never had a place he can call home.

Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he spends nights outside in remote areas of Miami-Dade County—sleeping outside on a mat or in the front seat of his son’s truck.

John (not his real name) was convicted in 1994 of a sex offense involving a minor. His homelessness is a direct result of the Lauren Book Child Safety Ordinance, enacted in Miami-Dade County in 2010, which bans individuals convicted of certain sex crimes, including those involving minors, from living within 2,500 feet of a school.

The ban effectively puts most populated areas of Miami-Dade off limits to him—which is why John is allowed to stay at his niece’s home, which is within the exclusion zone, during the day, but not at night.

The ordinance was named after Lauren Book who, after being sexually abused by a family nanny, went on to become an advocate of tough penalties for individuals convicted of sex crimes against minors. Brook, now 32, won a state Senate seat in 2016 as a Democrat representing Broward County.

Violating the ordinance can result in a $1,000 fine, jail for up to 364 days, or both. . . .

The issue extends well beyond Miami-Dade.

Since the mid-1990s, counties, towns, cities, and states throughout the country have implemented a variety of different residency restrictions, creating an evolving patchwork of where a person on the sex offender registry can or can’t live.

And regardless of the state, those subject to lifetime registration are banned from being admitted into most federal housing assistance programs.

Housing bans are one of many restrictions faced by registrants, sometimes for decades or a lifetime, depending on local statutes. Many are also subjected to public humiliation via online registries that display their photo, and detail their name, offense, home address, and employer’s address.

As Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote in an amicus brief filed earlier this month: “[R]egistrants are no longer simply shamed in the public square of one’s own community; they are shamed in the eyes of their county, their state, their nation— and in our global economy, the world.”

Read the full piece here at The Crime Report.

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    • #52389 Reply
      Plato the Younger

      Excuse me but, shouldn’t it be obvious to all by now that the real purpose of the SOR is to: destabilize, stigmatize, criminalize, sham, Scarlett Letter, banish, emasculate, and debilitate those subject to it? Surely no one actually believes it be a public safety tool as advocacy groups, police and gov’ment officials portray it to be. I mean come on. Even these people got sense enough to know better than that. Unless your telling me these people are actually MENTALLY retarded. Common sense should tell anybody that there is no public safety component to the SOR at all. But hey, perhaps these people are actually MENTALLY retarded.

      • #52428 Reply

        It’s only obvious to people who take the time to look beyond social media and lopsided reporting. My mom has said to me many time, she would never have cared about the registry if I were not subjected to it. For her, there was always an assumption that our justice system as in fact ‘just’ and fair. Those of us who have encountered it personally have learned it’s not so.
        So no, it doesn’t take a mental incapacity to be blinded to the egregiousness of the registry, just misguided faith that what people tend to believe in is true.
        I read a book once in school about “if only we knew why we know what we know.” It was quite the eye opener. We assume the best of ourselves, our people, and our country because it keeps us feeling safe and secure. But once that bubble of self-protective illusion is burst, we are forced to see the scary reality.
        Our goal is not to call people stupid, but to educate them with truth. To do so, we must avoid name calling so that we don’t activate defensiveness which will block our efforts.

      • #53215 Reply
        John Trimble

        Not sure why “Plato the Younger” was allowed to use the term MENTALLY RETARDED in the prose written as a comment about the Registry. Thought we were supposed to be polite and respectful here… If we act like animals as registrants, we cannot expect laws and law makers to hear us, or consider us as fellow citizens.

        • #53238 Reply

          I’m hoping, when he emphasized the word “mentally” he was referring to their thinking, not eluding to an organic disability. The word retarded has become a politically incorrect term, but us still medically valid in that it is a word that would imply slow or behind, etc. If we are not to be polite here, etc, accusing someone as “acting like animals” seems equally inflammatory.
          We tend to judge others based on what we interpret as intent, based on what they do, but wish to be judged ourselves based only on our actual intent. This limits empathy. I would encourage all to not throw stones at one another, it doesn’t help our cause to fight internally. I am speaking for myself I this post, not for NARSOL, just to be very clear. I don’t recall if I allowed the “questionable” comment to go through it not, but when I read it, I personally don’t feel that abuse of those who are organically mentally delayed or challenged was the contextual nature of the moment. Charlie for Charlie

    • #52498 Reply

      Like Charlie said we can all be blinded in some ways by a lot of this sex registry. While shelter is a basic necessary to everyone we all have to say, has human degradation gotten so low that man doesn’t care about his or her fellow human being. I wonder if thats biblical or where did love thy neighbor come from. I wonder if there are more discriminating laws in florida that dupe with man’s laws to enslave. I am sure a man out of prison doesn’t want to go knockiing on jails to put him up for the night. Jails are for prisoners and one just can’t walk into jail and say give me shelter.

      See the law doesn’t think that far in advance about what this sex registry is instilling on those getting duped up in all this. That don’t think about the families that suffer with their son or daughter. Most of these encounters dont’ even involve teenagers only a person on the other end playing the part. The only thing that matters is the “Sting” of it all as they could care less if they deceive, goal, or entice another as long as they get the effect they want, than they lay the hammer down.

      If one is to in tune with biblical understanding after interigation, they will offer you a plea deal as they want to be in control and will dupe one all the way to the courtroom. So what state has mercy today with a lot of this man-made sex offender inducment. All those that have any Christian understanding thaat say expose them need to stand up to them and can’t one use the sword of justice against the sword of man.

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