“I don’t think you can find any experts — or a person who actually deals with
sex offenders — who thinks residency restrictions are effective,” said Mitchell
Hamline law professor Eric Janus.
By Mike Mosedale
As Minnesota lawmakers mull a bill that would authorize local units of government to enact tough new restrictions on where sex offenders can live, its advocates face one major obstacle: finding a single authority in the field who believes it’s a good idea. At least, that’s the opinion of Mitchell Hamline law professor Eric Janus, who has written extensively on sex offender laws and policies.
“I don’t think you can find any experts — or a person who actually deals with sex offenders — who thinks residency restrictions are effective,” said Janus. “It’s amazing and quite uniform. That goes from Departments of Corrections to county attorneys and prosecutors to state task forces. Everybody says it’s a bad idea. It inhibits re-entry. It inhibits stability. It inhibits supervision. And most likely it increases recidivism.”
While that’s been the consensus among researchers for years, Janus noted, more courts across the country are finding reasons to strike down residency restrictions. “It hasn’t been unanimous, but there’s been a bit of a tipping point.