Sat, Nov 4, 2017 at 12:01 PM
Residency restrictions is the polite term for banishment laws that are on the books in many states and cities around the country. The laws target people on the sex offense registry and are usually wreathed in child protection rhetoric. Are they effective? Investigative reporter Eric Dexheimer did some serious digging and has a story about Meadows Place, a Texas town that’s fixing to rip a resident right out of her own house. His article has plenty more about how residency restrictions are used to run people out of town and keep them out while doing nothing to improve public safety. Texas lawmakers were recently warned, “There’s a growing body of research that shows residency restrictions *increase* sex offender recidivism rates.” Still legislators in Texas and around the country keep passing these laws, apparently not enough of them have the ability to resist stupid, inhumane ideas. Good luck to KJ and her legal eagle, Richard Gladden, and kudos to Eric Dexheimer and his editors at the Austin American-Statesman for some great journalism—have a look! -Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire
Austin American-Statesman | Nov. 4, 2017
Woman may be first sex offender evicted as towns adopt exclusion zones
By Eric Dexheimer
Residency restrictions reflect a belief that those convicted of sex offenses are uniquely dangerous and incapable of reform. As the number of registered sex offenders in Texas approaches 90,000, however, studies have found many of those assumptions to be false.
Studies show the vast majority of sex offenses are committed against family members or acquaintances, and that convicted sex offenders appear less likely to repeat their crime than those convicted of other offenses. That means laws based on offenders grabbing random children off playgrounds have little practical effect on public safety.
“The research does not support that residency restrictions, or exclusion zones, have any beneficial impact on safety, or recidivism, or any other objective you’re trying to achieve here,” Michele Deitch, of the University of Texas’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, told state legislators this spring. “In fact, there’s a growing body of research that shows residency restrictions increase sex offender recidivism rates” by driving offenders away from family and other support systems.
Residency restrictions have been challenged in court in recent years. Massachusetts justices compared them to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Yet the fear of child sex predators persists, and many citizens support residency restrictions — the wider the better. MORE:
Our vision for a just future
1. Abolish pre-crime preventative detention laws
2. Free our friends and loved ones from dehumanizing labels
3. Realign our justice system with the values of restoration and reintegration
Just Future Project is a new initiative focused on challenging pre-crime preventative detention laws. We are a people-driven grassroots advocacy campaign dedicated to building a movement of community members demanding an end to indefinite detention regimes.
Why Is This Important?
Pre-crime preventative detention systems are a dangerous departure from the traditional values of our legal system.
We believe in justice, that persons who have caused harm may be held accountable for their actions. But justice also demands proportionality and due process, elements essential to distinguish justice from mere vengeance. The goal of any true system of justice must be restoration and re-integration, not the perpetual containment and incapacitation that have come to define the U.S. criminal legal system.