When Southborough police acknowledged they made a mistake in allowing a registered Level 2 sex offender to live in close proximity to a preschool despite a town bylaw prohibiting it, it made news beyond the borders of our town. Today the Boston Globe takes a look a the case and the larger debate about whether residency restrictions are constitutional and whether they even work.
Reports the Globe:
There are six registered sex offenders living in Southborough, (Police Chief Jane Moran) said, with two classified as “Level 3,” meaning they’re considered most likely to reoffend.
Only 10 percent of Southborough does not fall within 1,000 feet of a school, day-care center, playground, or other areas covered by the bylaw, greatly limiting where sex offenders can reside, Moran said.
“That’s one of the consequences of their mistakes, and overwhelmingly Town Meeting felt that was justified,” said John Rooney, chairman of the Southborough Board of Selectmen.
(ACLU of Massachsuetts Lawyer John Reinstein), however, calls the limitation something else.
“It’s banishment,” Reinstein said. “It means you can’t live in the entire town, and that in turn concedes the authority of one town to determine sex offenders have to live elsewhere.”
No surprise we’ve talked about this case extensively here on the blog, but now that a bit of time has passed and some of the initial fervor has died down, what do you think? Did you support the sex offender bylaw when in passed in 2008 and do you still? Do you believe residency restrictions work? Or do they offer only a false sense of security? I encourage you to check out the Globe piece, and then come back and share your thoughts in the comments.