Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Danbury Restricts Sex Offenders from City Recreation Areas

From the Danbury News-Times:
The city became the first community in the state Tuesday to bar convicted sex offenders from city-run recreation areas, but a gap that weakens the measure remains and questions linger about whether the new ordinance will uphold in court.

The Common Council voted 18-1 to adopt an ordinance that prohibits people who have been convicted of sexual offenses from about 40 parks, playgrounds, sports fields and other recreational facilities controlled by the city...
[...]
Mayor Mark Boughton [...] said the ordinance sends a message to the community that the city cares about its children.

"It's something, and it's better than nothing," Boughton said. (Putnam)

Really?

It's vague, mostly unenforceable (how do you keep someone out of a park?, full of holes and may not stand up in court. There's also little evidence that this new ordinance-- indeed, that laws restricting the movements and residency of sex offenders in general-- will actually protect children. In fact, sometimes strict requirements like this either lead sex offenders to go to another town which doesn't have these laws, or become homeless and disappear from sight (and from the registry).

Therefore, kudos to Danbury for passing a law that actually isn’t better than nothing.

Source
Putnam, Elizabeth. "Danbury bars sex offenders from parks." Danbury News-Times 6 December, 2006.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw this on the news last night. Now I'm not saying their intentions aren't in the best interests of the community because I think they are but I don't understand how this can be constitutional.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a sex offender challenge it in court.

Anonymous said...

If the ordinance forces a sex offender to move to another Town, that's good for Danbury. Realistically, this ordinance won't result in sex offenders becoming homeless to dodge it. As for enforcement, anybody who sees a 'suspecious' person in a park can check with the registry and then report 'em. Sex offenders can still go to malls, of course. But there is no point in having a registry if it isn't used.

ctblogger said...

GC,

I was at the Common Council meeting and videotaped everything. This ordinance has so many holes that you can drive a truck through it.

I'm processing the video and I'm going to post my report later today. Trust me, you'll be shocked to see how this proposal actually cam about and how the Democrats tried to fix the numerous problems with this proposal before it passed

This whole thing is nonsense and reinforces my belief that there needs to be a change in Danbury come '07.

Anon: it's already going to be challenged in court.

bluecoat said...

The State Cops profiled here and href="http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-statepolice.artdec06,0,3868244.story?coll=hc-headlines-editorials">here run the sex offender registry - some of them are sex offenders themselves but not registered!!!

Janet said...

My fear, constitutionality aside, is that it brings false hope to parents who now may think that because this ordinance exists, it's OK to let your kids play unsupervised in the park.

Sure, the ordinance looks good on paper, but in reality if a sex predator wants to molest a child, he's not going to stop from going into a park for fear that he may get arrested or whatever the fine is. If he's willing to molest a child and face those penalties, he's also willing to walk inside of a public park.

It just brings false hope to parents.

bluecoat said...

I am afraid this will be like the "drug free" zones with all the impracticlaity they have brought. For the most serious of sex offenders, New York State has been talking about civil confinement after jail until the pros cert them rehabilitated for general public release but the state cop, a seargeant, that runs the computer system doesn't even want to hear about classifications. I don't know how keeping a list makes him an expert on human behavior, particulary given the way his union and brothers have behaved unchecked for years. This is a seriuos problem but it needs to be dealt with rationally by professionals.

and to my monitor - I saw a couple of pieces about the issue in the media. Former Westchester Republican prosecutor,Jeenine Pirro, has done some great work apparently.

Anonymous said...

The problem is, there is no substitute for good parenting. This law is unlikely to truly protect kids - for most kids who are molested, it is done by someone who they know. Also - what is the definition of sex offender here? Does it encompass the 19 year old who was dating a sixteen year old and her parents got pissed off and got him charged with statutory rape? I don't know the law here in CT, but in other states I believe the term sex offender does encompass things like that. As a mom of a five year old, I will do everything in my power to protect her, but I believe that encompasses things like actually looking after her in public places, and educating her about protecting herself, and not relying on the government to pass laws disallowing unsavory characters in parks.

bluecoat said...

just fyi 12:55; 16 and 17 year olds are treated as adults in the criminal justice system but that's another story that needs to be adressed in a comprehensive look at how CT does things wrongly - because they've always done it that way.

Aldon Hynes said...

Wouldn't it be better if we just required all sex offenders to simply wear a Scarlet Letter?

For another perspective on sex offender laws, please check out this article in the L.A. Times.

Fuzzy Turtle said...

Wouldn't it be better if we just required all sex offenders to simply wear a Scarlet Letter?

no Mayor Boughton wants them to wear blue hats. He's a big BORAT fan.

Anonymous said...

Ostracize them from their spouses, friends, family, neighbors and coworkers...publicy humiliate them so that they lose their jobs...take away places they can live...now restrict where they can go...how do we expect them to integrate into society and not re-offend?