Alexandria, Neb., Residency Restrictions Will Make That Town More Dangerous

With politicians in Alexandria, Neb., pursuing a residency restriction ordinance that basically targets one person, we recommend to everyone in Alexandria the following news item:

Florida is among states that have pursued aggressive residency restrictions. The Sunshine State now is dealing with the devastating effects of this initiative: The public is terrified. All research shows that residency restrictions do not work. Research shows that residency restrictions make your community more dangerous. 

“All of the research says that residency restrictions have no influence on safety,” said Carey Haughwout, Palm Beach County public defender. 

Many sex offenders come out of prison penniless and abandoned by their families. Many others are stymied in their housing searches. The county has a 2,500-foot restriction, and cities can further restrict residency, leaving a hodgepodge of regulations and very few affordable housing options. 

Consequently, a colony of more than 100 sex offenders has emerged in an abandoned sugar-company town in western Palm Beach County near Pahokee called Miracle Village. “When we first moved there, they wanted to hang us,” said Pat Powers, director of a ministry group there. “Now the mayor is saying we’re an asset to the community.” MORE

LB285 and Prison Overcrowding

Nebraska’s prison overcrowding issue is generating a lot of noise. Someone should take a hard look at how Nebraska’s harsh new law on former sex-offenders is making things worse.

UNO research shows that most former sex offenders are not going to reoffend. But the new law, LB 285, creates a web of technical violations that are prosecuted as felonies. Example: A 22-year-old Lincoln mother spends a weekend a few blocks away from her registry address, gets handcuffed by big lawmen in front her toddler child and hauled off to jail. If convicted, she goes to prison. Wouldn’t it make more sense for her spot in prison to be taken by someone who actually is dangerous?

Wouldn’t it?