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ND: Despite research, lawmakers OK bill keeping high-risk sex offenders from living near schools

North Dakota’s on track to have its first statewide restriction on where high-risk sex offenders can live, with lawmakers voting almost unanimously for a bill that would prohibit such offenders from residing within 500 feet of a school.

House Bill 1334, which has received little media attention, quietly passed the House in February and the Senate this week. The bill has not yet been sent to Gov. Doug Burgum, who generally does not comment on legislation before it reaches his desk, his spokesman Mike Nowatzki said Thursday, March 30.

Over two-dozen other states have imposed blanket restrictions on where sex offenders can live. But no research has shown that these restrictions prevent sex crimes. Rather, in some cases they’ve led to “loss of housing, loss of support systems, and financial hardship that may aggravate rather than mitigate offender risk,” according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The manager of North Dakota’s sex offender program, who testified against the bill, agrees that such restrictions don’t have the desired effect. “Setting up an imaginary boundary of 500 feet from a school, I think, could provide a false sense of security and that, I think, could be very dangerous,” said Barb Breiland of the state’s parole and probation division. Full Article

Join the discussion

  1. JoeHillsGhost

    So basically, North Dakota passed a statewide residency restriction because of ONE guy who no longer lives where he did when this whole law was proposed in the first place. Sad!

  2. Timmr

    ‘Meier said the offender’s presence put parents and students “on guard a little bit and gave them a real uneasy feeling.”‘
    Isn’t that what Megan’s Law was supposed to do, let you know where those with past sex offenses live and be on guard with them. Now that they have the law, John Q. Public wishes for blissful ignorance again rather than vigilance. Push the problem, (that was a manufactured problem in the begining), to somewhere else.

  3. Registry Rage

    We don’t need no stinking FACTS when we can sucker those worrywart parents into believing their children are safe from preexisting phantom threats.

  4. New Person

    Snyder needs to be very transformative b/c fear is suppressing facts. What else can be expanded upon to drive registrants off? The SCOTUS better fix all this soon.

  5. Eric Knight

    And here we find the money quote:

    The lone dissenting vote against Meier’s bill came from Rep. Luke Simons, R-Dickinson, who believes decisions on sex-offender residency restrictions should be left up to local municipalities.

    Simons said several representatives approached him after the vote and told him they wished they could have voted with him. “But they were afraid the news media would have ripped them up too much,” he said. “It’s such an unpopular opinion that nobody wants to talk about.”

    In short, politics trumps the Constitution once again. THIS is why the registry is so out of whack!

    • Registry Rage

      Not politics, but the illusion of control and normalcy while we have NONE.

  6. Take the fork in the road....

    Here is the fork in the road, so take it….

    The Gov is on the hook for his political life here with empirical evidence backing sound data on one side and the irrational fears of emotional unfounded thinking on the other before he slides his pen on one line (VETO) or the other (LAW) of this bill. What will he do?! (Drum roll) People can flood the Gov’s office with their dissention still and maybe make a difference.

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