Some States Reconsider Sex Offender Living Restrictions


The crackdown on sex offenders in recent years may be backfiring in states where strict housing rules are coming under court challenge and making it harder for law enforcement to track those convicted of rape, child molesting and similar crimes, reports Laws in at least six states, including California, Georgia and Iowa, barring sex offenders from living near schools and parks are being challenged by ex-offenders who claim they unconstitutionally penalize them after they have served their time.

The restrictions became popular after the 2005 murder of Jessica Lunsford, 9, in Florida by a convicted sex offender who had moved into the neighborhood. Sixteen states and more than 400 cities nationwide have since adopted so-called “Jessica’s Laws,” joining six other states that restricted where registered sex offenders can live prior to 2005. But the trend may be slowing down. “State lawmakers are wrestling with whether they’ve gone too far,” said on ACLU official.


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