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Why Is One County Looking To Further Limit Housing Options For Sex Offenders?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2016 | Sex Crimes

As we’ve made clear in previous discussions on our blog, those convicted of sex crimes here in Florida face a host of consequences outside of a prison sentence, fines and permanent criminal record. Indeed, they face potential lifetime registration with the state, a societal stigma that will make it difficult to find employment and residency restrictions that can greatly complicate living situations.

Interestingly enough, one county is now trying to enhance its residency restrictions to a considerable degree, a move that is drawing criticism from multiple parties.

Where exactly is this attempt to enhance residency restrictions occurring?

Officials with the Hillsborough County Commission are currently debating a measure that would prohibit all sexual predators whose victims were younger than 16 years old from establishing a residence within 2,500 feet of libraries, playground, schools and other places where children gather.

How does this ordinance differ from existing state law?

It’s considerably harsher than state law, which mandates only a 1,000-foot residency buffer from these types of gathering spots.

What are critics saying about the proposed residency restriction?

Critics are arguing that the enhanced residency restrictions being considered for Hillsborough County would actually be counter-productive. Specifically, they point to a considerable body of research, including a 2015 study undertaken by the US. Department of Justice, indicating that such actions are not effective deterrents and do little to protect children.

Indeed, some of this research has found that these types of residency restrictions can actually increase the risk of recidivism, as offenders are forced out of family homes, and onto the street where they have no support system and no viable source of income.

Is this enhanced ordinance going to pass?

It remains to be seen whether the Hillsborough County Commission will pass the ordinance. A similar measure was actually introduced back in 2007 but ultimately failed after the local sheriff’s office opposed it on the grounds that it would be too difficult to enforce.

It’s worth noting that the American Civil Liberties Union is monitoring the situation and will likely take action if it passes.

Stay tuned for updates …

If you are under investigation or have been charged with any sort of sex crime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible as your freedom and your future is on the line.