Georgia was lauded four years ago by conservatives for passing one of the nation’s toughest sex offender laws. Now, says the Associated Press, the state has scaled back its once-intense restrictions significantly. The old law was challenged by civil liberties groups even before it took effect. After losing several court battles, legislators were forced to make a change or a federal judge was going to throw out the entire law.
Now that the restrictions have been eased, 13,000 registered sex offenders – more than 70 percent of all Georgia sex offenders – can live and work wherever they want. Previously, all registered sex offenders were banned from living within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, and other places where children gather, driving them to desolate areas or out of state. “Lessening those kinds of restrictions is dangerous – it could lead to more crime, more offenders,” said Ernie Allen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “We know that sex offenders who prey upon children do well in prison because there aren’t temptations there. These guys get into the community, they begin to fantasize as they encounter kids in the community, and they lead to new offenses.”