Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sympathy for the devil.

This seems a bit harsh:

A new Georgia law that goes into effect July 1 may force nearly 60 percent of convicted sex offenders in Hall County to move from their current homes to avoid further legal trouble, authorities say.

Hall County Sheriff's Capt. Mark McGinnis said the department is mapping out the locations of more than 200 sex offenders living in the county to prepare to enforce the more stringent law.

"About 60 percent (of sex offenders in Hall) may have concern," he said. "We don't want someone to have to move, but in some instances, they may have to."

The law would impose stricter limits on where sex offenders may live, work or spend time, including 1,000-foot buffers around school bus stops, churches, schools, child care centers and other places where children congregate.

All 67 registered sex offenders living in Forsyth County must change residences by July 1 as the new state law goes into effect, and they may find there is nowhere in the county they can live that complies with new requirements, according to a report from The Forsyth County News.

And lest you think that every sex offender preys upon children:

The Georgia law, believed to be among the nation's toughest, is so strict on where sex offenders may live, a civil liberties group Tuesday filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging it.

The lawsuit, filed by the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights on behalf of nine convicted sex offenders, argues that the new restrictions would make it impossible for offenders to live in most of the state's urban and suburban areas.

Among the offenders listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit is 44-year-old Janet Jenkins Allison of Dahlonega. Allison, who is married and has five children, was convicted of being a party to the crimes of statutory rape and child molestation in 2002, according to the lawsuit.

Allison's teenage daughter became pregnant at age 15. An indictment charged that Allison "did not do enough to stop her daughter's sexual activity," the lawsuit said. Her daughter, now 19, later married the father of the child.

Allison is required to register as a sex offender because of the conviction.

The lawsuit said a Lumpkin County Sheriff's deputy told Allison on Thursday she would have to leave her home of four years by July 1 because she lives within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop.

It's naive, I know, but I figure that when the state sentences a criminal to prison, the presumption is that at the end of the sentence, they'll return to society less likely to reoffend. But if these sorts of draconian measures are necessary to protect society, that's obviously not the case; if they're necessary, why did the state ever release these criminals from jail?