Under a Nevada law reclassifying sex offenders that takes effect July 1, the number who will be prohibited from being near areas where children gather such as parks and schools will rise to about 150 from seven, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The reclassification will result in a larger number of offenders for police to track. There are 4,200 registered sex offenders in Las Vegas’ Clark County. The Southern Nevada Sex Offender Management Task Force discussed the new law yesterday.
“We want to lock them up and throw away the key,” said Alexis Kennedy, an assistant professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Department of Criminal Justice. “But the reality is 95 percent of sex offenders go back to the community. Whether or not we want them back, they are returning.” To help rehabilitate and find employment for sex offenders, the task force recommended the state manage a halfway house exclusively for sex offenders. The panel also wants to abolish good-time credits for sex offenders in prison and increase to 10 years, from five, the mandatory probationary period for sex offenders. Kennedy sought to dispel a myth that sex offenders are hiding behind bushes ready to ambush children. Twelve percent of adult sex offenders victimize strangers, she said. That figure decreases to 3 percent for juvenile sex offenders, Most sex offenders are acquaintances and family members of victims. Maggie McLetchie of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the new law has unintended consequences: Law enforcement will have to track a larger bulk of offenders, taking the focus off people who are most likely to re-offend.