Tough new North Carolina laws preventing pedophiles, rapists, and other sex offenders from living near schools, child-care centers, and parks have made it hard for some to find housing when they leave prison. State prison officials say they want to put them up temporarily in hotels at public expense, says the Raleigh News & Observer. A provision in a budget bill that could be voted on this week would let prison officials spend public money on hotel rooms or other temporary housing to prevent them from wandering the streets. It’s cheaper than keeping sex offenders in prison, where the average annual cost of housing and feeding an inmate is about $26,000.
Officials say some sex offenders are finding it so hard to find a place to stay once they are paroled that they eventually give up and serve the remainder of their sentence behind bars. As of Friday, there were 5,280 inmates in North Carolina prisons convicted of offenses that would require them to register as sex offenders. Last year, the system released 1,460 sex offenders. State law defines more than 25 crimes as sex offenses. Many involve children, but some include adult victims.