Public concern about the threat posed by sex offenders has inspired varied legislation designed to combat recidivistic sexual violence. For example, policies mandating sex offender registration, community notification, civil commitment, castration, “three-strikes and you’re out,” and nondiscretionary sentencing have been introduced. The newest wave of such statutes has come in the form of laws controlling where sex offenders can live. These restrictions prohibit sex offenders from residing within specific distances from schools or places where children congregate. Thus far, 14 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee) have enacted buffer zones that prohibit sex offenders from residing within close proximity to a school, park, day care center, or school bus stop. The least restrictive distance requirement is in Illinois (500 ft), but most common are 1,000- to 2,000-ft boundaries. California lawdoes not allowcertain sex offenders on parole to live within a quarter mile of an elementary school and prohibits parolees from living within 35 miles of a victim or witness.
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