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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Common Sense on Sex Offenders

This was originally a comment post I wrote on another blog site. I thought the content important enough to revise and post here.


It saddens me to see such strife on issues like sex offender residency restriction laws when it seems most involved in the conversation (if you can call it that) seem to have no idea of the reality regarding sex offenders.

According to the Department of Justice, convicted sex offenders are the second least likely to commit a like offense within ten years (less than 8 percent). The least likely are single-incident murderers (less than 5 percent). Under closer scrutiny, reoffense for child molestation is comparable to that of single-incident murderers.

Additionally, those who do reoffend are most frequently those who are under the stress of unemployment, harassment by neighbors, and instability in or lack of adequate housing.

Residency restriction laws also interfere with the application and enforcement of the "Megan's law" provisions each state has by denying the sex offender the ability to establish a reliable residence. Those that do often find malicious neighbors registering a "day care" within the restriction distance of the sex offender's new residency and in short order, a notice for the sex offender to move immediately with a time frame as little as 24 hours in some municipalities.

These facts alone refute the claims that there is no argument against the residency restriction laws. These laws have, in direct violation of constitutional law no less, denied sex offenders not only a place to live but participation in religious activities, educational opportunities, and even significant work opportunities. They essentially, after the sex offender has done his or her time, add the punishment of banishment from society altogether.

Yes, what they did in the past was heinious, but so too are the actions our society is doing to them after the fact. We cannot and must not use their past conduct to justify throwing out everything our nation represents, which is exactly what we are doing with these laws. In our desperate desire to protect our children, we are forgetting who we are.

And lastly, I ask each of you this ... if it was, one day, your own son or daughter who was caught up in a sexually-based offense, would you want them banished forever from society? Check out www.rickyslife.com before you answer that.

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