Prof. Berman posted yesterday about this extraordinary (and powerful) statement [pdf] by the Iowa County Attorneys Association regarding sex offender residency restrictions in Iowa. Most of you will remember the buzz generated by several states and counties adopting severe housing restrictions in regards to sex offenders, increasing the “buffer zone”, within which they cannot live or work.
From Prof. Berman:
The ICAA’s potent statement (which everyone should read in full)
explains in great detail why Iowa’s broad sex offender residency
restriction is ineffectual and harmful to public safety. Of course,
persons impacted by residency restrictions have long argued their
unfairness and some researchers have highlighted concerns about their
efficacy. But the ICAA statement provides a thoughtful explanation from prosecutors as to why these laws are a bad idea and make our society less safe.
Please read the entire statement (It is 5 pages long) to get the full effect of the arguments being made. These are some of the same arguments that are debated in the blogosphere and generally raised in support of re-thinking these harsh restrictions.
The concluding paragraph is also telling:
The [ICAA] strongly urges the General Assembly and the Governor to act promptly to address the problems created by the 2,000 foot residency restriction by replacing the restriction with measures that more effectively protect children, that reduce the unintended unfairness to innocent persons and that make more prudent use of law enforcement resources. The ICAA stands ready to assist in any way with this effort.