Friday, April 9, 2010

Are Harsher Sex-Offender Laws Yielding Unintended Consequences?

WallStreetJournal: Are Harsher Sex-Offender Laws Yielding Unintended Consequences? Sex offender housing restrictions may lead to more crimes.

Over the years, laws concerning sex offenders have tightened up not just in Illinois, but all over the country. Many states have changed their laws to designate where, exactly, sex-offenders may live. Often they’re barred from living near schools and day-care centers, for instance.

In Illinois, those unable to find suitable (and legal) housing after being released are serving their paroles in prison. This may win politicians some easy points — after all, they can tout the development as being good for public safety — but the results aren’t always pretty.

“There’s a growing awareness that these housing restrictions make politicians feel good, but don’t protect victims or prevent crime,” Kaethe Morris Hoffer, a legal director at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, told the Chicago Tribune.

Last month, reports the Trib, the Collaborative on Re-Entry, a coalition of community safety officials from across the state, pledged to find ways to address the unintended consequences of sex offender housing restrictions.