NARSOL speaks out against town sex offender ordinances

image_pdfimage_print

By Benjamin Pierce . . . Officials in two Rock County [WI] towns want more control over where sex offenders live, but a national organization said such restrictions hinder offender rehabilitation.

The town of Johnstown and the town of Harmony have drafted ordinances regarding sex offenders.

“Those people have to stay someplace, but it would just be nice if we could have a little more control,” Harmony Town Board President Jeff Klenz said.

Sandy Rozek, who works with the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, said ordinances such as the ones proposed in Harmony and Johnstown hamper the rehabilitation of offenders. She said stability is an important part of keeping offenders from re-offending.

“The factors that are associated with successful rehabilitation for anyone coming out of prison—or a situation like that—are a place to live, security in living, access to employment and other services and family support; and residency restrictions tend to impede all of these things,” Rozek said.

Rozek’s organization works to eliminate discrimination, banishment and vigilantism against people accused or convicted of sexual offenses.

Many sex offender cases, Rozek said, involve older teen boys in relationships with underage teen girls, which is much different than the stereotype of an older male preying on children or women. Most people on the sex offender registry she has encountered are repentant, and recidivism rates are very low for most sex offenses, she said.

The conversation about creating ordinances began in the town of Harmony after town leaders learned multiple sex offenders were living in the former Pine Tree Inn at 4544 W. Highway 14, Janesville.

The facility is run by the Jessie Crawford Recovery Center, a recovery center for people with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Klenz said the current use of the facility violates the property’s original conditional-use permit, which allows the building to be run as a motel but not a recovery center.

Under the proposed town of Harmony ordinance, registered sex offenders would be prohibited from living within 1,500 feet of schools, public parks, licensed day cares, libraries, playgrounds, pools, churches and other areas frequented by children.

While state statutes restrict the residency of only a narrow category of sex offenders—those found by the courts to be sexually violent offenders—the ordinance would apply to all registered sex offenders, a much larger group.

As of Jan. 7, Wisconsin had 63 sexually violent offenders living in communities on supervised release. That’s compared to more than 250,000 registered sex offenders living in Wisconsin.

Read the full piece here at GazetteXtra.

image_pdfimage_print
Help us reach more people by Sharing or Liking this post.

Leave a Comment

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...

  • Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • Please keep the tone and language of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  • Refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  • Refrain from comments containing references to religion unless it clearly relates to the post being commented on.
  • Do not post in all caps.
  • We will generally not allow links; the moderator may consider the value of a link.
  • We will not post lengthy comments.
  • Please don not go into details about your story; post these on our Tales from the Registry.
  • Please choose a user name that does not contain links to other web sites.
  • Please do not solicit funds.
  • If you use any abbreviation such as Failure To Register (FTR), the first time you use it please expand it for new people to better understand.
  • All commenters are required to provide a real email address where we can contact them. It will not be displayed on the site.