A town in Connecticut passed a new law this week that bans registrants from virtually all of its public sites, including parks, recreation centers, event centers, swimming pools, trails, and open space land. The new law also prohibits registrants from attending school events even if their children are participating in them.
The town’s decision to ban registrants was made about the same time as their public schools prepared to participate in “The Great Kindness Challenge”, an international program meant to show that kindness matters. The irony of these two events taking place in the same town at almost the same time is overwhelming.
How can a town that publicly states that it values kindness act in such an unkind way? How can an elected official in that town state that “sex offenders” belong in only two places – jail and then Hell?
During consideration of the new law, the elected officials discussed the possibility of a legal challenge to that law. Their legal representative answered that “courts have upheld ordinances…if they are reasonably calculated to achieve health, safety, and welfare.”
Does this new law achieve health, safety, and welfare? It does not!
Instead, it is based upon the myth that everyone convicted of a sex offense, regardless of the gravity of that offense and when it occurred, poses a current danger. The new law also ignores both government and academic studies that conclude that laws, similar to the law passed in Connecticut, do not increase public safety, but instead decrease it.
This new law in Connecticut must be stopped! For if the law is not stopped, it is likely to spread to towns throughout that state as well as to all of New England.
Similar laws have been stopped in California and Illinois. Registrants in those states are now allowed to visit public sites and the results have not been that children are assaulted there. Instead, children — including children of registrants — have enjoyed picnics and played softball with all members of their families. They have also enjoyed the support of their parents at school events, both academic and athletic.
The only way to stop the new law in Connecticut is to challenge it in court by filing a lawsuit. A lawsuit similar to the 31 lawsuits filed in California that restored the rights of registrants to visit public sites. California is prepared to help registrants in Connecticut restore their rights. Discussions have begun to do just that. Please stay tuned.
— by Janice Bellucci
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