Criminal Justice

Sex offenders congregate to reform laws they consider too harsh

More than 700,000 people are now registered sex offenders, and some among that group are fighting to change or overturn laws that they consider too harsh.

More than 100 people attended a conference held in Los Angeles a few weeks ago to advocate for reform, the New York Times reports. Those attending the meeting—and other conferences like it—claim the sex offender laws are unconstitutional and ineffective.

In California, for example, sex offenders can’t live within 2,000 feet of a school, park or playground. In the state’s Orange County and several of its cities, sex offenders are banned from visiting public parks or beaches.

Sex offenders saw two recent victories. A California appeals court struck down the Orange County ban in November, the story says. And the city of Cypress, Calif., repealed a law last week that had required registered sex offenders to post signs on their doors on Halloween.

Nina Salarno Ashford, a lawyer with Crime Victims United, had no sympathy for the legal plight of sex offenders. “I find it very offensive that registered sex offenders are trying to defeat the measures we have put in place to protect children,” she told the Times. “They created their own issues. In trying to find sympathy, they’re forgetting that somebody was assaulted, in many cases a child.”

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