More states are moving barring released sex offenders from living near or visiting schools, playgrounds and other areas where children gather.
The measures build on child-abuse legislation, including federal and state “Megan’s laws” that have made public the names of more than 450,000 convicted sex offenders. They reflect how lawmakers are heeding parents’ calls for more aggressive measures to protect children.
USA Today reports that since Alabama acted in 1996, six states and one city have banned sex offenders from “child safety zones” of 500 to 2,000 feet from a school’s entrance. The other states involved are Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Oregon. Other states are debating similar measures this year.
Albuquerque last month created a 1,000-foot safety zone around schools and requires convicted sex offenders to register with their employers and landlords. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the law, saying it violates individual rights. A state court is scheduled to hear the case June 13.