Posted by: Patricia Salkin | May 3, 2009

Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Remain Controversial Topic

Municipalities across the country are adopting residency restrictions prohibiting convicted sex offenders from living in close proximity to places that children are likely to frequent. The number of sex offenders is large—by one report there are some 550,000 registered sex offenders nationally. As more and more local and state governments adopt residency restrictions, municipal lawyers and planners are increasingly finding themselves at the center of the debate. The literature and discussions in case law suggest that residency restrictions do not reduce recidivism, do not offer any real protection for potential victims, are generally not legally defensible, and thwart efforts to reform offenders and return them to society. This however, is ignored by the emotional demands of community residents to enact these laws to “protect vulnerable children” from convicted offenders. As a body is case law is starting to develop concerning these laws, it is becoming apparent that municipalities may have difficulty defending residency restrictions.

Having noticed an interest in the subject judging by the number of “hits” on the sex offender cases discussed on this blog, Dwight Merriam, Esq, AICP of Robinson & Cole in Hartford, CT and I set out to write an article reviewing the literature and focusing on the emerging body of caselaw. We also looked at state legislative approaches, with particular note to all of the proposed bills in New York (none of which have been adopted). For those interested in the topic, the article can be downloaded from SSRN here (click on download and then select SSRN New York).


  1. The most comprehensive compilation of sex offender issues, including papers, existing court cases, and links to several blogs, can be located here:

    I would recommend you check it at least weekly as it is definitely the best source I’ve come across for this volatile subject

    Incidentally, it is ranked far higher than any other sex offender site, and has a lot of valid information

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