Over the last decade, legislators have rushed to impose broader and broader restrictions on sex offenders that prohibit them from living within certain distances of churches, schools, and other locations. The result is often effective banishment or homelessness for sex offenders. Georgia’s politicians have been so careless in their legislation that officials are now recommending that sex offenders live in the forests.
We have seen how the definition of “sex offender” often leads to ridiculous and abusive results. However, even for legitimately classified sex offenders, the residential limitations have left individuals with no place to live.
Georgia laws were previously challenged in a case where it effectively banished an individual, here.
You will see the result if you venture behind an office complex in Marietta in the forest where probation officials have been sending ex-offenders to live like hermits. Other states have put offenders under bridges like trolls. Whether hermit or troll, the situation does not allow for these ex-offenders to return to productive lives in society and may actually increase the likelihood of recidivism.
These laws are very popular, but they impose restrictions that make it virtually impossible to create a stable life for ex-offenders and seem designed to force these individuals to leave the state. I was just interviewed on a case where an ex-offender was prohibited from attending church because it had children present. Such limitations raises serious constitutional questions. One would think that politicians would want ex-offenders to find spiritual guidance. Recently, a child molester succeeded in challenging restrictions that barred his access to a synagogue, here.
For the Georgia story, click here.