For a long time FAC has been reporting of the unintended consequences residency restrictions have created.
Little to no housing options for registered sex offenders has led to homelessness. It has separated families; husbands not being able to live with their wives, fathers not being able to parent their children. Housing instability is a trigger for recidivism. It has caused registrants to go undeground rather than live homeless or separated from their loved ones. Transient sex offenders are more difficult to track… all this without any evidence that registration requirements make our communities safer.
One South Florida County is finally paying attention to all the evidence, studies and testimony from experts, including law enforcement and prosecutors and doing something that will actually make our communities SAFER. Palm Beach County is considering rolling back it’s sex offender residency restrictions to what the state mandates; from 2500 feet to 1000 feet.
An ADD ON to the July 1st Board of County Commissioners agenda read as follows:
ADD-ON: Staff recommends motion to approve on preliminary reading and advertise for public hearing on July 22, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.: an Ordinance of the Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County, Florida, amending Chapter 18, Article II of the Palm Beach County Code (Ordinance No. 2006-012, amended by Ordinance No. 2011-033); relating to Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator Residence Prohibition, to be known as “the Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator Residence Prohibition Ordinance of Palm Beach County, Florida”; amending Section 18-34 (Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator Residence Prohibition; Exceptions); providing for repeal of laws in conflict; providing for a savings clause; providing for severability; providing for inclusion in the Code of Laws and Ordinances; providing for captions; and providing for an effective date.
SUMMARY: The State of Florida sexual offender and sexual predator residence prohibition laws preclude sexual offenders and sexual predators from establishing a permanent or temporary residence within one thousand (1000) feet from specified locations where children regularly congregate. The current County Ordinance provides for a more restrictive distance, prohibiting sexual offenders and sexual predators from establishing a permanent or temporary residence within twenty-five hundred (2500) feet from certain defined areas where children regularly congregate. The proposed amendment reduces the number of feet to 1000 and eliminates a designated public school bus stop from the list of specified locations, making the Ordinance consistent with Florida law. Additionally, the proposed amendment is responsive to current federal and state law evolving in other jurisdictions that suggests a County’s imposition of residency prohibitions on sexual offenders and sexual predators may not be more restrictive than the residency prohibitions mandated by the State. It is anticipated that the League of Cities will have no opposition to the proposed Ordinance amendment, as this Ordinance is applicable only in the unincorporated areas of the County. Unincorporated (PGE)We ask residents of Palm Beach County and all those impacted by these laws to write their legislators and encourage them to repeal the 2500 foot restriction.
The local CBS affiliate reported on the change, which can be seen here: http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_17322.shtml