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Living Restrictions 

A History of Sex Offender Residency Restrictions


Sex Offender Residency Restrictions are quite different from a sex offender's requirement to register.  Registration requires the reporting of an address, residency restrictions exclude the eligibility of certain locations. 


Sex Offender Registration came first but the first state to enact full sex offender residency restrictions was by the state of Alabama in 1996.  I have read many times, yet it's incorrect that the first state was Florida in 1995.  Residency restrictions were in fact not placed in Florida until 2004.  The confusion comes from the difference of laws that apply to all offenders versus regulations that apply to probation.  Florida did enact a residency restriction for offenders on probation starting 10/01/1995 but it's a probation regulation, not a law that applies to all offenders.  Yet since the majority of offenders are released on probation, it is correct to say that Florida implemented a restriction earlier than Alabama, it's just that Alabama was first to pass a law that had nothing to do with probation status.


Florida was one of the first states to implement a state law requiring regular registrations but registering an address and restricting an adress are not the same.  Florida also passed an act requiring the notification of sexual predator's addresses to be made public, but again notification and restrictions are also not the same.  The rules for registration are very important, and sex offenders and preditors can be charged with a new crime if they fail to compy with registration requirements.  These rules are documented in the registration section of our site.  This section will remain specific to the residency restrictions.


Residency restrictions can be set on a local level in addition to state level, which is what makes it so difficult to find one place that documents all the different ordiances.  This section is that one stop for those ordiances, but many areas of our site are still under construction.


Local restrictions are usually set by the state but within the state each county and city can make their own ordiances. When these ordiances differ from the state mandates they are sometimes challenged but remain .


Plenty of reports are available on the general idea of sex offender residency restrictions and it's fairly easy to find articles related to their effectiveness or lack of.  None however seem to simply document what they are and when they became effective except for the author picking one or two specific examples.  Some documents even show the total number of local ordiances.  They seldom, if ever,  document where each local ordaince exist much less when they began.  It's not nearly as useful to know that a particular state or county has X number of local ordiances as it is to know the specifics of each and every one of them.  You can't determine where sex offenders can live by knowing the total number of local ordiances.  It must be documented where each of them exist.


Since the jurisdiction of these restrictions never fall within the same local agencies you'll stumble upon information for what the ordiances are in one particular place, but never for what they are overall.  You already cross into the different state jurisdictions but even within a state one local sheriff department or police department only documents  their jurisdiction, not the jurisdiction for other cities and counties.




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