Steven Yoder recently wrote a article of the same title as this blog post. The central question is do residency bans drive sex offenders underground. Mr. Yoder gives on example where a city in California created a park to drive out 33 registered sex offenders from there homes .Currently , there have been legal challenges to the residency rules under several states sex offender registry laws.
One judge relied on a report conducted by the State of Colorado Sex Offender Management Board on residency bans. The basic findings were that residency bans does not lower recidivism rates and could actually increase the risks to the public.
Let’s take a look at Tennessee’s sex offender registry laws on residences. Tennessee Code Annotated 40-39-211 spells out the residency ban. Tennessee prohibits a sex offender from residing or working within a 1000 feet of schools child care facilities , public parks playgrounds , recreation centers or public athletic fields available for use by the public at large.
Here is one example where a person could drive a sex offender from their neighborhood. A person puts a small playground in the backyard. Then allows the public to use the playground . It is possible that this playground could be covered under the statute.
Some states have moved to prevent local governments from enacting tougher residency requirements. Here is a statement from a New Hampshire Representative :
“My first term, I was pretty much a hard-liner,” said Republican representative Larry Gagne during a January committee hearing.
“I said, ‘Put [sex offenders] in outer space; put them all on an island.’ But I changed my mind after a [police] sergeant came in and said, ‘If they go underground, we can’t find them.’”
Mr. Yoder’s article is worth reading on this tough issue.