Michigan's Exclusion Zones

 
• Registrants cannot live or work within 1,000 feet of a school.
• Registrants cannot “loiter” within 1.000 feet of a school, which means that registrant-parents cannot participate in many of their children’s educational activities, attend school activities, or take their children to a park within an exclusion zone. 
• School exclusions zones apply to all registrants, even to those whose crime had nothing to do with children and who have never been found to be a danger to children.
• Exclusions zones don’t work because they block former offenders from housing, employ-ment, treatment, stability, and supportive networks they need to build and maintain success-ful, law-abiding lives.
• A study by the Prison Policy Initiative found that almost 50 percent of Grand Rapids is off-limits to registrants (and much of the other 50 percent contains non-residential areas). See Exhibit 2, attached.
• Social science research shows no connection between where child sex offenses occur and where the offender lives or works. 
• Most child sex offenses occur in the home and are com¬mitted by family members, friends, sitters, or others with a connection to the child.
 
The U.S. Department of Justice recommends against offender exclusion zones because the zones do not reduce crime: 
 
“Restrictions that prevent convicted sex offenders from living near schools, daycare 
centers, and other places where children congregate have generally had no deterrent 
effect on sexual reoffending, particularly against children. In fact, studies have revealed 
that proximity to schools and other places where children congregate had little relation to where offenders met child victims.” 
 
A Department of Justice-funded study found that exclusion zones may have increased recidivism in Michigan. It is also impossible to know where exclusion zones are because the size and shape of the zone depends on whether you measure from the school door, the school building, or the school property line. Attached Exhibit 3 shows how exclusion zones expand depending on how you measure them. Because registrants and law enforcement officials have no way of knowing where property lines are, they cannot know where exclusion zones begin and end. This is why the federal district court held the exclusion zones to be unconstitutionally vague.   

Related Issues: