Life can be hard for a sex offender, not only are they some of the most vile criminals in the world, but if they make it out of prison alive the chances of them living a quasi-normal life are extremely low. No one wants to live next to a sex offender, and beyond that, very rigid rules have been established regarding where they can live.
Each state mandates that registered sex offenders stay a certain distance away from school and public parks. The distance varies, but the rationale remains consistent; keep sex offenders away from children.
A trend has emerged in cities all over America: create new parks and force the sex offenders out of the neighborhood. For instance, in Los Angeles small parks are being commissioned to prevent large congregations of sex offenders from being in any one area.
Though no one wants sex offenders around children, such restrictions keep pushing them out of their homes. Taken to extremes, cities may end up with a situation like the Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony in Miami, Florida.
Between 2006 and 2010 an ordinance restricted convicted sex offenders from living 2,500 feet from schools, parks, bus stops, or homeless shelters in Miami. Sex offenders were left with minimal living options. So a camp was set up under a highway. Many of the “residences” were little more than shacks with generators for power.
An analysis of the colony found that the unstable living situation increased the risk that they might offend.
There are many flawed elements of the criminal system. Restrictions like these are society’s best opportunity to protect children, but expanding the protections at the risk of increasing the chances they might reoffend might be too big of a risk.