5 Protected Zones That Are Off-Limits to Sex Offenders
Over fifty years ago, states all over the USA started keeping track of sex offenders, with California enacting the first registration laws. Currently, all states have them, and they help law enforcers to track the movements of sex offenders and report relevant information to the local community. Part of the registration laws gives guidelines on sex offenders’ residency and restricted safety zones for children.
Most of the US states have laws restricting zones where sex offenders are not allowed to live or visit. The general type of restriction forbids them from living within various distances of the designated places where children gather. General distance markers range from one thousand to two thousand feet from the chosen zones. However, South Dakota and Illinois have distance markers of 500 feet. Other states such as California, Indiana, Arkansas, and Louisiana limit the sex offender’s restrictions for those convicted of the most serious offenses. Some states base their restrictions on the likelihood of the offender to offend again based on risk assessments, especially in Washington and Minnesota. All states have lists on their statutes that describe the ban.
A huge number of local municipalities have restricting ordinances that have been enacted over the past years. States that have enacted local restrictions include Florida, Georgia, California, New York, New Jersey, Iowa, Washington, Virginia, and Texas. Different states have various numbers of the municipalities that have ordinances. These local ordinances have restrictions similar to those of the state. Danbury has nearly 100 registered sex offenders and restricts them from being present in any safety zones that are designated for children. In the city, child safety zones include Public Parks, recreational centers, playgrounds, swimming or wading pools, bathing beaches, and sports fields or facilities and their surrounding areas. However, the restrictions do not apply to:
1) A person whose name has been detached from the Public Safety’s Sex Offenders Registry, from other state lists or federal and military system due to the expiration date set on the registration term, or simply from a court order.
2) When entering a polling place located close or in a child safety zone to vote and have to leave immediately after voting.
If a law enforcer with reason suspects that child sex offender have violated the ordinance by being in a safety zone, the officer is required to provide the sex offenders name, telephone number, and address. If the suspicion is confirmed, the officer must write a warning to the sex offender and enquire them to leave. If they fail to do so, they get subjected to a $100 fine, which also applies to subsequent offenders.
Arguments about the Restriction
The most logic argument in support of the ordinances is that they keep potential victims safely away from sex offenders. Contrasting arguments against these restrictions include:
- Some sex offenders are forced to live in areas that lack transportation, housing, jobs, and access to medical facilities
- They could create homelessness, which could make it very difficult for police officers to keep track of the sex offenders
Even though restrictions have withstood challenges in trials in appellate courts, Wasatch Defense Lawyers can be of great benefit throughout your case. However, the restrictions put in place are not meant to hurt a sex offender but to protect children against them. Even though they may differ in some states, the general idea behind them still prevails.