Iowa opposition to sex offender residency restriction laws gaining momentum

Johnson County has now become the 11th county in the state of Iowa to approve a resolution urging the repeal of sex offender residency restriction laws.

In its place, the Iowa State Association of Counties recommends creating “safe zones,” that would prevent sex offenders from entering areas near schools and day cares.“Changing this law doesn’t mean we’re weak on crime,” supervisor Terrence Neuzil said.

The current law makes it difficult for such sex offenders to find a place to live, so some stopped registering on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry or law enforcement lost track of them, Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek told the board last week.

Here is a great opinion piece from the Daily Iowan, which urges common sense and rationality in dealing with these situations.

The punishing of sex offenders has reached such heightened fervor that there is an expectation of agreement on whatever law or restriction is being proposed – regardless of how ludicrous or ineffective it may be. Imagine the poor politician who has to run with the record of being “soft on sex offenders.” It doesn’t matter how heinous or deplorable the criminal act may be, we are all still responsible for behaving as rational adults in how we handle it.Schools and daycares abound in Iowa City and other areas of the state, resulting in few options for sex offenders looking for a place to reside. This causes problems for law enforcement and affects the community’s level of safety because the restrictions result in the clustering of sex offenders, or sex offenders fails to register because they fear not being able to have a place to live. The behaviors of sex offenders are of obvious concern because of the high rate of recidivism, but that should mean that keeping track of them is more important than deciding where they can live. The law doesn’t prevent them from re-offending; instead, it only works to give a false sense of security.

I have previously blogged about this growing opposition in Iowa, but some of the more dedicated blogs don’t seem to have picked up on it. Perhaps if they read this, they could post more on the events in this particular state. I’d love to read their comments.

Previous posts:
IA county seeks repeal of sex offender law
Prosecutors statement against sex offender restrictions

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