Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Iowa beginning to figure it out

Iowa, which started the "no-live zones," is beginning to figure the problems with their laws. From Elderly sex offender raises concerns in Shell Rock (he has to move because his nursing home is within a 2000 foot zone):

Butler County Sheriff Tim Junker said Hansen is no threat to the community.

"He's in a monitored situation. He's in a structured environment where he can't hurt or endanger anyone," he said.

Moving Hansen to another facility also presents problems since many are too close to a school or day care. His listing on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry also makes him a liability in the eyes of care providers, Lievens said.

Critics of the state law and strict residency requirements passed by some cities say the rules also hinder offenders from receiving social services, proper medical and mental health care and family support. County attorneys, sheriffs and city police departments across the state have also warned the residency restrictions leave few areas where offenders can live legally, creating clusters of sex criminal districts.

Those on the registry are required to inform their local county sheriff of their address. But officials argue county and city ordinances restricting residency make tracking offenders more difficult because of strong incentives for offenders to not comply.

The problem isn't unique to Shell Rock or Northeast Iowa,

On Monday, city aldermen in Davenport expressed reservations about the effectiveness of tighter restrictions following a presentation by Iowa Department of Corrections officials, law enforcement officers and the Scott County Attorney. The city is considering expanding the residency restrictions to include locations near libraries, swimming pools, parks and other recreational areas, though officials contend the proposal would do nothing to protect children.


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