Monday, August 07, 2006

Another risk of zoning laws

This would be absolutely hilarious -- except for the increased risk involved:

Law on sex offenders logistical headache, Daily Times, Maryville TN

The purpose of the Child Protection Act of 2006 is obvious -- the law is designed to protect Tennessee's children.

However, one provision in the act is apparently making it more difficult to sentence, supervise and treat sexual offenders whose victims were minors.

Local concerns about sex offenders being treated next door to Fort Craig School of Dynamic Learning have been eliminated by the new law.

A provision in the law states that sex offenders whose victims were minors may not ``knowingly obtain sexual offender treatment or attend a sexual offender treatment program'' within 1,000 feet of the property line of ``any public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, other child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or public athletic field available for use by the general public.''

The law immediately shut down the sex-offender treatment program operated by Bill Tillery, owner of Psychological and Counseling Services at 601 Charles St., on the corner across Lamar Street from Fort Craig School.

Tillery, a licensed clinical social worker, had been conducting two group sex-offender treatment sessions each week until an outcry from Fort Craig parents last spring. The parents were concerned that having sex offenders in such close proximity to the school posed a threat to their children. ...

Tillery can't meet with sex offenders at the probation and parole office in Maryville because that location on Home Avenue is within 1,000 feet of a public park, Maryville's Greenway Trail. ...

At present, sex offenders required to regularly report to their probation and parole officer cannot go to the Maryville office or to 20 or more offices across the state for those meetings. ...

''I cannot find any evidence that the location for treatment of sexual offenders has caused community harm,'' Tillery said. ``I can provide research to show that sex offenders not in treatment are 10 times more likely to re-offend. Making it so difficult for offenders to get treatment increases the risk to the children in the community.''

I am aghast at the really poor quality of Tennessee legislators. Surely somebody of reasonable intelligence would stepped back for a second to say, "Waittaminute, have we REALLY thought this one through?"

But it seems nobody did.

Figures. Shout "sex offender" and all reason flies out the window. Stupid, stupid, stupd.

And I bet not a one of them will have the honor to tell the public, "We goofed, we put your children at INCREASED risk, we apologize and will try to fix it."


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