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California

Restrictive Residency Rules and the Illusion of Public Safety

The latest strategy to restrict where convicted sex offenders live is to create parks where none exist to force registered sex offenders to move out of a neighborhood. The City of Los Angeles plans to build three pocket parks in the communities of Harbor Gateway and Wilmington. California state law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park, playground school or a daycare center. Some states restrict living within 1,000 feet or near certain bus stops. There are similar residence restrictive laws in every state along with sex offender databases and community notification of where offenders live, known as Megan’s Laws. The unintended result of super-restrictive sex offender zoning makes it impossible for sex offenders to find stable housing and forces them to cluster and crowd together in motels and apartment buildings, or sometimes under bridges creating homelessness, often away from family or other potentially positive supports. There is concern that these over-restrictive policies can backfire and actually increase recidivism. Full Article

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