In New York City, there are hundreds of men and women on the sex offender registry who are subject to the Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA) residency restriction, which prevents them from living within 1,000 feet of a school. This little-known restriction has created enormous constitutional problems. Because our densely-populated city contains virtually no residences that comply with this restriction, prisons are holding these people past the length of their prison sentences if there is no SARA-compliant housing available – a time period that usually extends longer than a year. This event addresses the history and policy behind the residency restriction, the impact of SARA on people who have committed sex offenses, and the legal challenges being made on behalf of people affected by SARA.
Michael Burke, Hodges Walsh Messemer & Burke, LLP
Bill Dobbs, Publisher, Dobbs Wire, newsletter about sex offense law and policy; Advisor, Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center at Mitchell Hamline Law School
Emily Horowitz, Professor and Chairperson, St. Francis College, Sociology and Criminal Justice Department
Susannah Karlin, Licensed Social Worker, Center for Appellate Litigation
Robert Newman, Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Practice, Special Litigation Unit
Greg Williams, The Fortune Society
Housing Restrictions Keep Sex Offenders in Prison Beyond Release Dates [nytimes.com – 8/21/2014]