As far as public image is concerned, sex crimes are among the most destructive. Even if you’re acquitted from sex crime charges, the stigma could follow you around for quite some time. This is partially because our society has a bad habit of assuming blame on the accused before they are even brought to trial. Because of this, it can be very difficult for convicted sex criminals or even alleged sex criminals to live normal lives, but some in Collier County are seeking to remind everyone that sex criminals are people too, and they have rights.
The Florida County wants to place even greater restrictions on sex offenders. Under Florida law, offenders are not permitted to live within 1,000 feet of places where there are likely to be many children, including schools, parks and playgrounds. The County is looking to expand that distance to 2,500 feet, which they believe will further reduce the chances of a child coming into contact with a sex offender. However, even the police are skeptical about the idea, claiming that the increase wouldn’t stop dangerous offenders but may decrease their ability to keep track of them.
This new restriction would inconvenience those who were genuinely trying to put their past behind them.
By increasing the buffer zone, sex offenders would have fewer housing options, increasing the risk that they either become homeless or all become concentrated in certain areas. The Florida Action Committee president shared law enforcement’s misgivings, going so far as to say that the residency restrictions don’t even work.
At the end of the day, buffer zones like these dictate where people can and cannot live, and some convicted sex criminals have realized that this violates their rights. Many Florida counties are actually reducing their buffer zones under threat of civil rights violation allegations. If you are facing criminal sex charges or are a convicted sex offender, you still have rights that you can exercise. Legal counsel can work with you to present a case that allows you to be treated fairly.
Source: News Press, “Sex offender restrictions may hurt more than help,” Steve Doane, Aug. 2, 2014