Here in Texas and across the United States, those convicted of sex crimes are often subject to rather stringent requirements. For example, state law may dictate that they will have to register with a sex offender registry for anywhere from ten years to life, and/or be subject to certain restrictions that keep them away from children.
Furthermore, they may have to deal with state laws or local ordinances that make large swaths of residential areas entirely off limits, severely restricting their housing options.
Interestingly, it appears that those communities where housing remains an option for many convicted sex offenders are now actively developing plans to change this.
Local officials and residents in communities from California to Florida are building so-called micro parks. These tiny playgrounds, often consisting of no more than a slide of swing set on a tiny strip of land, take advantage of state laws/local ordinances that expressly prohibit convicted sex offenders from living near places where children congregate.
"Regardless of whether it's the largest park or the smallest, we're putting in a park to send a message that we don't want a high concentration of sex offenders in this community," said one Los Angeles City Council member.
While advocates of these micro parks argue that they serve to make communities safer, opponents argue that they actually achieve the opposite effect. Namely, that they leave convicted sex offenders -- regardless of the nature of their crime -- with absolutely nowhere to go, forcing them out onto the street, which in turn makes them harder to monitor and more likely to reoffend.
"Putting in parks doesn't just break up clusters -- it makes it impossible for sex offenders to find housing in the whole city," said a member of the California Sex Offender Management Board. "It's counterproductive to public safety, because when you have nothing to lose, you are much more likely to commit a crime than when you are rebuilding your life."
What are your thoughts on these micro parks? Are they a good idea or are they too restrictive? Should states have to offset them with some type of available housing option?
Whether you have been charged or are currently under investigation for a sex crime or cyber crime, be certain to contact an experienced legal professional to help protect your rights.
Stay tuned for more from our San Antonio criminal defense blog ...
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The New York Times, "Neighborhoods seek to banish sex offenders by building parks," Ian Lovett, March 9, 2013