Thursday, April 13, 2006

Open letter to Carrollton City Council

Re: Sex Offender Residency Ordinance
Please don't sponsor the resolution for a "tougher stance" on sex offenders by using the Sex Offender Residency Ordinance. Carrollton has already been in the news more than once because of this embarrassing and thoughtless proposal.

Adding to the restrictions of registered sex offenders is political and emotional but not beneficial. In a number of ways it adversely affects the very children we claim to be protecting. I refer you to the news article about Iowa's efforts, Sex offender restrictions backfire. I trust Carrollton can avoid Iowa's mistakes.

In the article, the Iowa County Attorneys Association stated that the restriction doesn't provide the protection originally intended and the cost of enforcement as well as the effects on families of offenders warrant replacing the law. The Association said research shows there is no correlation between residency restrictions and reducing sex offenses.

In addition, using claims of a high recidivism rate is false and unconscionable. The Bureau of Justice states more research is necessary, but that sex offenders are less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense. In fact, they say the only category of crimes with a lower recidivism rate are those persons convicted of murder (1.2%). More information on the recidivism rate is here.

Last year, my granddaughter went to a school that had a sex offender living nearby. I knew this because I used the Texas Department of Public Safety's map utility. I also trust the other agencies responsible for managing sex offenders. I felt she was safe and secure enough without having to add imaginary safeguards.

Please carefully consider potential problems and publicity this ordinance brings with it. I want to continue to be proud of Carrollton, my town.

Thank you.

Vicki Bridges

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