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20 Crim. Just. Pol'y Rev. 3 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/cjpr20 and id is 1 raw text is: 



Introduction                                                       Uri nal Justice
                                                                   h' flicix Review
                                                                 Voluime 20 \timber 1
Geographic Aspects of Sex                                          M0arch2009i 3I2
                                                                  PDubt )-_chih ltions
Offender Residency Restrictions                             107683
                                                                         hosted at
Policy and Research                                           http://onlin.sagepub.co.m

Carrie F. Mulford
Ronald E. Wilson
Angela Moore Parmley
National Institute of Justice


   Keywords: sex offender residency restrictions; notification laws; crime mapping


T hroughout the 1990s and 2000s, there has been a trend in the United States to
    register and control the movement of convicted sex offenders. Following the
abduction of an 11-year-old boy, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and
Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (1994) required that all states create sex
offender registries. Then, in 1996, Megan's Law was passed, which required public
notification of the presence of sex offenders.
   Residency restriction laws and ordinances have become an increasingly popular
way to respond to public outcry about sex offenses against children. These laws
serve to extend the punishment of sex offenders out of fear they will be hunting
for victims because they live in proximity to where children congregate. In 1996,
Alabama became the first state to restrict where sex offenders were allowed to live.
Although a handful of states had already passed exclusion zone laws prior to 2005,
the idea of local ordinances took hold following an ordinance that was passed in
Miami Beach, Florida, in response to the abduction and murder of 9-year-old
Jessica Lunsford.
   As of 2006, 29 states and hundreds of localities had adopted measures to restrict
where registered sex offenders are permitted to live (Nieto & Jung, 2006). Typically,
the laws are intended to protect children by limiting offenders' access to locations
where children congregate by establishing buffer zones of between 1,000 feet and
2,500 feet around these locations. There is wide variation in the details of the laws,
including the types of offenders who are required to comply, the types of facilities
included to create the buffer zones, the distance of the buffer zones, and how the
distance is to be determined. Some of the laws make distinctions between categories
of risk of offenders and include only high-risk offenders. Another area of variability
is the retroactive nature of the laws, with some jurisdictions requiring all sex offend-
ers on their registries to comply, regardless of when the offense occurred.

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