July 10, 2012

EDITORIAL: Counterproductive sex offender law doesn't protect community

7-10-2012 Oklahoma:

Our View: Oklahoma's new counterproductive law fails to protect community by putting hundreds of sex offenders out on the streets.

Local sex offenders are homeless and out on the streets July 1 as a result of SB 852, a bill authored by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond.

Hands Up Ministries, an Oklahoma City ministry that housed 200 sex offenders on its 6-acre mobile home community and provided counseling services, was specifically targeted in the bill, which made it unlawful for two or more registered sex offenders to live together. Supporters of the bill maintain the bill isn’t “an attempt to evict anyone,” but to “clarify the intended purpose of the sex order statute,” Oklahoma City Police Capt. Patrick Stewart said.

Instead, the bill did evict people — at least 61 men and women had been living in tents since July 1 at Hands Up. Instead of allowing the offenders to stay in one place, the bill scattered many of them throughout the community, where they're homeless and more likely to commit crimes of survival in search of shelter and food.

The intent of the law was to lower recidivism rates — relapses into criminal sexual behavior — and protect community members. However, it does the opposite.

Limits housing options

The bill is outrageous and unfair. It specifically targets Hands Up by creating housing restrictions and outlawing “manufactured homes, mobile homes, trailers, and recreational vehicles” in section four of the bill. It allows only “multi-unit structures” that provide independent facilities for living, sleeping, cooking, eating and sanitation as acceptable dwellings. ..Source.. by The Daily Editorial Board

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