Sex offender residency restrictions: every source says wasteful, harmful

By SANDY . . . The Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government in Maine and Representative Danny Martin who heads that committee are pushing for legislation that will expand residency restrictions for those on the sex offender registry in the areas of the state that have them.

Maine does not have statewide mandated residency restrictions, and a report published by another legislative committee ten years ago in Maine raises major concerns and questions about this current proposed legislation.

In 2008, that committee produced a report titled, “Maine’s Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee Study of Sex Offender Registration Laws.” It is a 37-page report representing hundreds of man-hours of research and meetings examining the effects of SORNA in their state and the alterations that were needed. SORNA, incidentally, does not require residency or proximity restrictions.

On the bottom of page 19 and continuing onto 20 of the report is a brief section dealing with residency restrictions. It acknowledges that some communities in the state have adopted these restrictions for their individual jurisdictions. And then it goes on to say:

Hearing testimony on these bills and educating ourselves about other states’ experiences with residency restrictions, the committee finds, and the research supports, that such restrictions do not increase public safety. Residency restrictions make it more difficult for sex offenders to reenter society and find stability (living and working arrangements) and make it more challenging for law enforcement to find and monitor offenders. Based on these findings, the committee recommends that the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee of the 124th Legislature considers introducing legislation that would preempt the field of sex offender management and prohibit municipalities and other entities from adopting their own restrictions on sex offenders.”

One little paragraph that says it all. What a shame it is that they did not proceed with the proposed legislation or, if they did, that it was not successful.

The question is, why is this current committee so determined to compound something that already has been condemned as not only ineffective but detrimental to overall public safety?

Of course, they are not the only state to do so. California, one of the harshest states historically in its erections of residency and proximity restrictions, goes directly against its own Sexual Offense Management Board, which said, “There is no research which supports the use of these strategies [residency and proximity restrictions], there is substantial research showing that such policies have no effect on preventing recidivism, and there is a growing body of research which indicates that residence restrictions actually increase sex offender recidivism and decrease community safety” (p.2).

Other states as well have jurisdictional or statewide restrictions that are in total opposition to the recommendations of the sex offender management boards that they have commissioned to give advice and oversee sexual offense laws and ordinances.

While Texas has no statewide restrictions, certain Texas cities have restrictions so stringent that registrants have been forced to give up desperately needed jobs that they were offered. There was literally no way they could navigate, by car or by bus, the route between where they lived and the location of the job without going into or through a restricted area around a school or daycare facility, and there was no place they could live closer to the job.

The report rendered by that Maine legislative committee ten years ago, that statement by the California board, and every single study or report examining the efficacy of residency and/or proximity restrictions for those on the registry are uniform in their conclusions. These restrictions are ineffective and actually harmful to public safety.

Any legislator who is advocating for such restrictions, including Rep. Danny Martin, should be made to answer directly this question: Why are you asking your constituents to spend tax dollars implementing laws that are shown by every available source to be not only useless but actually harmful to your state?

6 thoughts on “Sex offender residency restrictions: every source says wasteful, harmful

  • May 22, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I am a 70 y/o retired female who houses two sex offenders. One has been with me 8 months and got off probation 1 month ago. The other fella will be off in September, 2018. He has been with me for nearly 3 years and currently works two jobs as a cook and has purchased a car (I taught him how to drive). Neither have recidivism or violent backgrounds. Not only do they have to continue to register via the required mailing returned in person twice a year after 10 years of behaving like contributing citizens, but they still can be roused at any time of the day or night to verify they are still at the same address (as reported for the last 3 years). Mind you, his car is in the driveway for the sheriff to run the plates, but they’d rather bang on my door waking the entire household. I also house a person who has no connection with the law and is still impacted by this draconian ambiguous statute (GS_14-208.9A(b)) including myself. Because I wouldn’t open the door, the sheriff threatened to come back at 2:00 am saying if I thought 10 pm was bad. Again, when I refused, he said he would put a warrant out for them. It wasn’t until I challenged him asking if he was threatening me, did he leave. He did not show back at 2 am. (Lucky him!) I went first thing to the CSI and inquired why they needed to be excessive and where was it in writing that they could show up at my door and harass the occupants of my home on my property? The fella that was off probation went with me to report afraid they would actually put him back in prison (he was trembling). This happened Wednesday night. I still have not received an answer as to why they need to use tax payer dollars so wastefully. If it isn’t law that they can show up at any time day or night without provocation (section (c) of GS_14-208.9A “Additional Verification May Be Required”…describes provocation if appearance changes then a new ID photo must be taken to reflect those changes, however, section (b) has no qualifiers to “Additional Verification May Be Required”. If anything, it is redundant. It certainly is not clear and gives too much leeway to waste tax payers money. Not only did the parole officer come back the next evening (Fella still on probation has to see PO each month so why can’t that be verification enough?), I found out they showed up again yesterday asking if the fellas knew if I owned a gun. Think cops have been digging? Never came up before. I’ve have the permit for 6 months. I guess if I had one they would have to move, not sure, but why are they suddenly checking my background? There ought to be a brochure for homeowners who rent to sex offenders so there are no surprises or making up stuff as they go. The law is vague at best and just plain wrong at worst. Everyone deserves a second chance or even two, but making them forever punished and persecuted is inhumane. It’s no different than slaves being branded on their face as a runaway. Might as well not let them out if you’re not going to let them up. Rousing law abiding citizens to pad payroll is unacceptable. Take that task out of the job description. Greed is everywhere, but it cannot exist on the backs of people trying to stand up and take their place in society. Ironically, the day after the night visit, I’m listening to NPR, discuss prison reform and the uptick in prison unrest and the UNC-Pembroke professor says it’s because there is no hope. I am hoping I can get some more information from him on how to change this behavior by the PD. Since it really isn’t spelled out and left to “Job Description”, than we need to get that changed. That shouldn’t be an act of congress. Anybody who can shed some light or give me some direction, I’d be grateful. I’m sorry, but I don’t trust where money is so intrinsically involved. People have forgotten how to do the right thing or even what the right thing might be to do. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • May 26, 2018 at 11:12 pm


      Would you mind letting me know what county you are in. You can contact me directly at Thanks. Robin

      • September 13, 2020 at 2:27 pm

        What the fuck do you mean what country is she in? America is what country that bullshit is happening in. Registration laws are inhumane, ineffective and just ways to discriminate. Most sex offender’s are on the list for some bull shit anyway, and most people complaining about them don’t really know shit about them or the bullshit laws. I don’t know if this was a anti sex offender comment, but there ENOUGH stupid people in this country. Educate yourself, and thank your God that nothing has happened to you or your family that has made you have to register, because it’s simple, someone can just say something and have you arrested, and if you can’t prove you didn’t do it, then you plea guilty or take it to trial and get 20 yrs. Oh yes, It’s all a game and it’s cute how many people are actually playing it. But if you’re stupid you’d be pro sex offender registry, more tax payer dollars for absolutely nothing.

        • September 14, 2020 at 9:31 am

          Learn to read genius. Robin asked what county not country. BTW Robin is not even close to being stupid. He is one of the few people in this country who actually gives a damn about us. Next time take the time to read everything.

          • September 14, 2020 at 2:44 pm

            Omg I’m so sry, I’m just used to people hating I was already so mad but glad at the same time that ppl were really getting together on this registration B’s and I saw that and tripped. I said country WTF. Honest mistake. I’m very grateful for anyone who stands up for this, we need to be on the streets protesting and to be honest it should’ve never gotten this far, these laws are mad stupid, and I’m prepared to fight and even die behind all this, it’s ruined alot of lives and hopefully something gives soon.. my apologies again, sincere apologies to you all. Forgive me please

          • September 15, 2020 at 9:14 am

            No worries, Michael. I appreciate your passion for the subject matter. And thanks thanks for the impassioned defense, NCJERRY! -Robin

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