Wednesday, January 13, 2010


In “Let’s Be Reasonable With The Registration Of Sex Offenders” (2-18-08) and “Registration Of Sex Offenders” (2-13-09), I wrote that the problem with sex offender registration laws is that those who have to register may be subjected to some stipulations which are simply unreasonable. Convicted sex offenders are prohibited form residing within certain distances from any school, child care center, playground or any other place where children might gather. When that distance reaches 1,500 feet, there are few places, if any, where a sex offender can live.

Miami has some of the toughest sex offender restrictions in the nation. Sex offenders in Miami are prohibited from residing within 2,500 feet of any place where children might gather, thereby making it impossible for them to reside anywhere within that city. Thus, its restrictions have made Miami’s sex offenders homeless. And just the other day, the Homeowners Association of April Sound, an upscale subdivision in Montgomery County (north of Houston), has amended its deed restrictions to prohibit any sex offender from living there.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have absolutely no sympathy for sexual predators. Just read my blog, “The U.S. Supreme Court Should Restore The Death Penalty For Child Rapists (12-24-09), and you’ll know where I stand.

Shooting is to good for those who sexually molest infants, toddlers and pre-teens. They deserve the death penalty. At the very least, they should serve the rest of their lives confined behind bars, never seeing the light of day outside of prison walls. None of this crap about an abusive childhood or a diminished mental capacity. Those who forcibly rape older juveniles and adults deserve a harsh prison term and, if released, should be required to register as sex offenders. But once they’re out of prison, they’ve got to have a place to live!

Our registration laws are utterly nonsensical. A "weenie waver" is a sex offender while some jerk taking a leak in public is not. Yet, when the guy taking a piss is convicted of indecent exposure, he is required to register as a sex offender. When a 20 year-old is convicted of having consensual sex with a 17 year-old, he is also required to register. The federal Adam Walsh Act, passed by Congress in 2006, even mandates that any male juvenile who had consensual sex with a female juvenile must be included in the national sex offender registry.

Those sex offender registration laws are really feel good laws designed to placate an angry and frightened public. Intended to protect the public, especially our children, those residence restrictions may actually have the opposite effect.

Here is Paco’s blog on the problem with California’s paroled sex offenders:


PacoVilla Corrections blog
January 12, 2010


By John Simerman
Contra Costa Times

Less than a year after state corrections officials tightened a $22 million spigot of free apartments and motel rooms for paroled sex offenders, the number of parolees who say they are homeless has nearly doubled, adding fuel for critics who say the tight living restrictions under Jessica's Law threaten public safety more than bolster it.

More than 2,200 paroled sex offenders were registered as transient in November, state figures show, up from 1,257 a year ago and 88 in September 2007. That was just before parole officials began enforcing a ban on sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children "regularly gather."

The ranks of paroled sex offender at large — free of GPS anklets — also grew, from 58 in 2007 to about 500, according to the state Sex Offender Management Board

[Paco then continues with his own take on the problem.]


"The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it."
-Rob Norton, Concise Encyclopaedia of Economics

While the context of Mr. Norton's observation was economics, Jessica's Law would appear to be the epitome of unexpected consequences. After all, it wasn't the intention of the voters to convert the known sex-offender population into shadowy Hoboes--The stated goal was the precise opposite. Yet, that is precisely what happened.

The question is, how could this outcome possibly be unanticipated?

Isn't it apparent actively ignoring reality effectively nullifies unintended consequences as an excuse? Which is to say, if you SHOULD have fathomed an outcome but chose not to, you have ignored the inevitable.


To illustrate this rather obvious reality, let's consider a rather obvious analogy.

A man decides he is going to stop an approaching freight train by standing on the track. He calculates the train's speed, determines the distance needed for the engineer to bring it to a stop and stands in the best location for the engineer to spot him. The train doesn't stop.

Now, it's clear getting squashed like a bug was not the man's intention--It is equally clear this outcome was inevitable.

So it is, we ignored the only possible outcome of driving sex-offenders out of neighborhoods. Now, there really are Boogie Men out's the Law.

No comments: