Sex Offender Registration - Effectiveness and Consequences - Registration and Homelessness

Registration and Homelessness

People who are registered in offender databases are usually required to notify the government when they change their place of residence. This notification requirement is problematic in cases where the registered offender is homeless.

The state of Washington is among those that have special provisions in their registration code covering homeless offenders, but not all states have such provisions. A November 2006 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling exempts homeless persons from that state's registration requirements, which has prompted a drive to compose new laws covering this contingency.

News reports in 2007 revealed that some registered sex offenders were living outside or under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami, Florida because Miami-Dade County ordinances, which are more restrictive than Florida's state laws, made it virtually impossible for them to find housing. The colony at the causeway grew to as many as 140 registrants living there as of July 2009, but eventually became a political embarrassment and was disbanded in April 2010, with the residents moved into acceptable housing in the area.

As of 2013 Suffolk County, New York, which had imposed onerous restrictions on sex offenders exceeding those required by New York State law, was faced with a situation where 40 sex offenders were living in two cramped trailers located in isolated locations. This situation had been created by the county in 2007 as a solution to the problem of housing sex offenders.

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