Is it fair to require living restrictions on sex offenders post incarceration?

Is it fair that someone who has been convicted and served their term to completion be subjected to an environment where they find it difficult to live where they want?

More and more cities are becoming “sex offender” free zones. The obvious concern of the people living in these areas is they are afraid that the accused offender will repeat or possibly so something worse the next time. They don’t want that to happen in their neighborhood or for their children to be the targets.

A person can be painted as a sex offender with a broad brush too. They may have committed an act that requires them to register as a sex offender (public urination, sex on the beach) but may not be a threat in the future. At least not as much a threat as someone who may have committed a more violent act.

We, as a society, generally don’t require that OTHER violent crimes have the same type of post incarceration segregation from the general public. Not even murderers, armed robbers, wife beaters, drunk driving, etc…
Generally when someone is released from prison, we as a society say that they have served their time, paid for their crime, and what’s done is done.

My question to the masses is;

*Is it fair to someone who has been accused of a sex crime, gone to trial, found guilty, been punished, and served their time (presumably rehabbed and counseled) to have to live the rest of their lives with the scrutiny and awkwardness of having to register as a sex offender and in many cases not being able to live where they want?

FWIW I don’t want to start a debate, I just want to know how you feel about the subject and why. Please tell me your reasons (for or against) and why you feel that way.
It’s come up in the local news lately and that’s why I’m asking.

I say no in general because some of the restrictions are absurd. The broad brush requirements for living only in areas that meet certain distance requirements can effectively ban all sex offenders from neighborhoods or even whole towns and cities. That sells well to voters because so many people hate the idea of sex offenders even more than murderers in many cases.

However, as you already noted, people on the sex offender registry aren’t all (or even mostly) pedophiles that got sent to the big house for raping 3 year olds. Many of them are on it because they had sexual relations with someone a few months younger than the minimum even though they were teenagers themselves or they really had to pee and the back of a public building seemed to be the best option. I don’t think that should be a reason to force them to live alone in a trailer in the middle of the desert.

I hate true child molesters as much as anyone but, if someone is truly that dangerous, they should be kept in prison or monitored extra closely during parole. Once they served their sentence, the price for their crime should already be paid and they shouldn’t have any restrictions outside of those typical of parole.

Some limitations may be valid, but they are being misused.

There are cases of neighborhoods opening up brand new child-care centers, solely to force offenders to move. That’s a violation of the concept, and needs to be stopped.

Personally (my opinion – no cite), I believe the US Vengeance System (aka criminal justice/penal system) has pretty much gone overboard on nearly all crimes.

I’m shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you - to hear a Doper say this.

To the OP…depends on the type of crime. Kiddie touchers? Yeah, it’s fair. Cuz fuck 'em. Pretty much everyone else? Not really, since you can’t really eject them from society entirely, unfortunately.

No, it’s not fair. Perhaps more importantly (in terms of seeing changes to the policy) it is counter-productive. Take the example of residency restrictions. Studies shows that recidivism rates are no worse for offenders who live near schools and churches, but recidivism is higher for offenders with no stable housing or who no longer live near their family and established social structures.

So we may be producing more sex crime with these laws rather than less.

In my view, the package of restrictions that a sex offender may face, after release from an actual prison, is part of their just sentence, and a mercy.

It is almost by definition not a just sentence, because it is not tailored to fit the crime. We punish child rapists, sixteen year-old girls who fuck their fifteen year-old boyfriends, public urinators, and high school kids who snapchat naked pictures all the same when it comes to many sex offense restrictions. It’s an asinine, irrational policy made for nothing other than cheap demagoguery and political gain.

I don’t believe this. Do you have cites for each of these?

In Pennsylvania, there is no state law that restricts where a sex offender can live. However, a sex offender may have geographical or other restrictions placed on him/her as part of probation or parole. For example, the offender may be paroled under the condition that he not have contact with the victim or the victim’s family; that he not be allowed to participate in activities that benefit or attract children under the age of 18; that he not possess items that appeal to children; and so forth.

That being said, many - if not most - sex offenders have a hell of a time finding a place to live. They may not have any family or friends willing or able to take them in, and a lot of halfway houses can’t or won’t take them either because they have the maximum number of offenders or because they’re not equipped to deal with sex offenders. So they max out.

Even if they have maxed out, they still have reporting requirements. Again, state law does not place restrictions on where they can live, and there is no probation or parole board telling them where they can and can’t live. The state police just wants to know where they are. Of course, sex offender isn’t a protected class, so a landlord is perfectly free to tell the offender to pound sand. But the state doesn’t have anything to say on the matter.

Peremensoe: Don’t you think you should learn about the laws before opining on their justice?

Yes. Like you and pretty much everybody here, I opine based on a present understanding, which obviously does not encompass all possible information on a subject, but includes what I’ve heard, read, and considered to date.

Again, if you have salient information, bring it forth. Illuminate us all. You have a cite, for example, that someone convicted of an instance of public urination is treated “the same” as someone convicted of raping a child.

Not sure what you’d accept as a cite, but if you search “sex offender” and “urination” you’d get a lot of them.

Here’s one.

If you’re caught with your dick out in public (even if it’s just taking a leak), you could, very easily, be charged as a sex offender and therefore have to do all the same things a person who slept with a 12 year old would have to do.

Let’s not take my quote out of context. I said that they are treated “the same when it comes to many sex offense restrictions.” Obviously they receive different prison sentences, among other differences.

Here’s a Human Rights Watch report (slightly outdated now, but still accurate for the most part). Footnote 109 lists the thirteen states that consider public urination a registrable sex offense. At that time, seventeen states require lifetime registration for all registrable offenses, including several states on the public urination list. Many states also do not distinguish among sex offenders for their residency restrictions. See, e.g., O.C.G.A. § 42-1-15 (Georgia’s residency law).

The report also documents the states that require sex offender registry for the other offenses I enumerated.

Yes, there are lots of them. How many do you want us to provide before you admit that it is a problem? I only want the number in advance because you seem to not acknowledge the problem exists. How many will it take before you admit that you are mistaken? I ask that in all honesty.

This absolutely terrifies me. We somewhat live out in the country and I cannot for the life of me convince my almost 81 year old dad that he just can’t go pee behind any old tree when necessary. If our neighbors’ granddaughter ever took a gander of doing that, dad would die from the consequences and how it would ruin his reputation.

So, I say there should definitely be some differences in reporting requirements. Pre-pubescent children being protected from predators sexually assaulting them are what needs to be forewarned.

One concern I have about the post-conviction sex offender restrictions is the false sense of security it gives people, making them think they live in a “safe” neighborhood.

No - it only eliminates convicted sex offenders from your block, it does nothing about those that haven’t been caught yet, including the “funny uncle” sort at family picnics and the like.

My younger brother in his young adulthood (30, 35 years ago) had to pull off the Interstate to empty his bladder. He got caught and got a ticket - for LITTERING.

I think it’s often counterproductive and moves offenders from neighborhoods where the kids are well supervised and protected and into places where they’re more vulnerable, for one thing. And, of course, sometimes moves them into tent cities. Of course you’re more likely to reoffend if society won’t let you back in.

As the Megan’s Law coordinator for my department I can just tell you how things are in New Jersey.

  1. Totally impossible to be labeled a sex offender for urinating in public. Even actual lewdness like waving your dick at children is not a Megan’s Law offense.

  2. There are no living restrictions.

  3. If you are deemed the least likely to reoffend you are tracked by the local police department but your information does not appear on the public website. Most offenders are in this category.