Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jasper AL: NIMBY!

Jasper targets sex offenders with new laws:

Jasper has some new laws aimed at sex offenders, and they are tougher than state restrictions. About 25 sex offenders live in Jasper. Yesterday, the Jasper City Council approved three laws that further restrict where adult registered sex offenders can live and work.

One law bars sex offenders from living or working within one mile of schools, day-care centers, public and private parks or other recreation facilities. Alabama law has a two-thousand-foot restriction.

City officials say the new law would eliminate about two-thirds of the city for sex offenders to live or work.

Violating the law is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and up to a 500-dollar fine.

A second law requires police to notify businesses and residents within two-thousand feet of where a registered sex offender lives or works.

The state requires notification within 15-hundred feet of residents in cities other than Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville.

Also, hotels, motels, apartments and recreation facilities also must post in lobbies or entrances photos of all the sex offenders who live or work on the property. State law does not have such a provision.

Failure to post the photos is a misdemeanor charge.

And the third new law says businesses within 500 feet of a school, day-care center, park or recreation facility cannot hire a sex offender.

If they do, they risk having their business license revoked and being charged with a misdemeanor.

Talk about over the top! The residency restrictions are difficult enough, but not being able to work withiin a mile of "schools, day-care centers, public and private parks or other recreation facilities". I just looked at Jasper on a map and Jasper proper (the area where there is a grid of streets indicating a relatively high density of housing and businesses) appears to be roughly 2 miles square.
This means that just one single school or park dead-center would make over 75% of the portion of the city where one will find the vast majority of employment and housing completely off-limits.

The article notes that about 2/3 of the area in the Jasper city limits is rendered off limits. It's a pretty easy guess that the available 1/3 is the peripheral areas where there is likely to be very little in the way of either housing or unemployment.

It's easy to guess the intent of this law from its effect: force them to move elsewhere -- "Not In MY Back Yard, but okay in yours!!"

Consider too what happens when all the other cities do the same. Unable to work, unable to establish residency, what are the remaining options...?

Not very thoughtful, the City of Jasper, Alabama.


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