Orange County, Ca., is emblematic of a new wave of laws restricting the movement of sex offenders, reports the New York Times. The county government and a dozen cities have banned sex offenders from setting foot in public parks, on beaches, and at harbors, rendering almost half the county parks closed to them. Ten cities are considering similar legislation. Communities around the U.S. have gone beyond regulating where sex offenders can live and are banning them outright from a growing list of public places. From North Carolina to Washington State, communities have designated swimming pools, parks, and school bus stops as “child safety zones,” off limits to some sex offenders.
They are barred from libraries in half a dozen Massachusetts cities, and from all public facilities in Huachuca City, Az. “Child safety zones are being passed more and more at the city and county level,” said Prof. Elizabeth Jeglic of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It's becoming more and more restrictive. They're not only limiting where sex offenders can live, but they're limiting their movement as well.” Criitics say “child safety zones” are unenforceable. “These are cheap laws that can be passed to make people feel good,” said Charles Ewing, author of “Justice Perverted: Sex Offense Law, Psychology, and Public Policy.”