Complex residency restrictions difficult to enforce; essentially useless

Here’s an article from Columbia, Missouri, that begins by explaining how difficult it is for law enforcement to enforce Missouri’s complex sex offender residency restrictions and ends up, perhaps inadvertently, proving the uselessness of residency restrictions. Certainly, many of the experts quoted in the article don’t seem to think much of the restrictions.

Although Missouri law focuses on proximity of offenders to children, in nine out of 10 cases, victims and their assailants aren’t strangers, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 

Beth Huebner, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis sees residency restrictions as “a false safety.” 

It’s not how sex offenders get access to children. 

“Often times, the perpetrators are family members or close friends. Many of those cases go unreported, and people don’t know how to report them or feel shame,” Huebner said.Assistant Division Director of Mental Health Services at the Missouri Department of Corrections Scott O’Kelley admits that a lot of sex offender laws and restrictions are based on “fear and revulsion,” rather than science. 

Huebner said, “The assumption behind those restrictions (is) that if we limit individuals’ access to children, then we will have lower recidivism rates. But there is no evidence in Missouri that it has happened.”

You can read the full article here

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