There is a significant stigma, so much so that in Florida if you’re convicted of a sex crime, you are required to be a registered sex offender for the rest of your life. That’s not something that you can change. Depending on how severe the sex crime is, you could be classified as a violent sex offender which has more restrictions. Not only a lifetime of reporting, but also of restrictions on where you can live. The rules regarding sex offender registration prohibit you from living near a park or near a school, which includes churches that have schools.
The availability of places where you can rent or own are severely restricted. In Palm Beach County, there are actually jurisdictions where no one who is a sex offender can live because of the configuration of the town. It’s become a huge dilemma. Obviously, the government wants to keep tabs on people that have been convicted of sex crimes, but it goes overboard in certain circumstances; in a situation where there was an alleged rape in a college dorm type scenario where consent was an issue, but the accused didn’t want to run the risk of getting convicted and going to prison and might take probation, but that person then has to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life.
That’s a situation that makes it overboard or unfair, whereas obviously if it’s a serial rapist you want to make sure if they’re not in prison that they’re under wraps. There’s also another law in Florida that is called the Jimmy Ryce Act. That law allows for a person who’s been convicted and sentenced to prison to remain in custody after they serve their prison sentence. If it’s determined that they’re a threat to the community there’s a civil proceeding to keep them in custody, and they’re not housed in a prison but it’s like a prison in that it’s locked.
People can be held indefinitely even after they’ve served their sentence if a judge is convinced that that person is a threat to be released. This law draws on constitutional challenges that have lost and it’s been upheld and it’s there. There are ramifications after you’ve served your sentence on a sex crime if the state attorney chooses to pursue that.
Can a Registered Sex Offender Leave the Country Once They Have Registered?
I know that they can leave the state, but they have to get permission from Florida and they have to be accepted by the state they want to relocate to, but they can do that. That’s allowed. That’s an interesting question, because obviously, there’s no way to monitor someone out of the country like they could be monitored from a sister state. It would require checking the laws of the state where one is registered and the laws of the country where they want to travel to.
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