Collateral Damage to Families in America’s War on Sex Crimes
Lauren Book is the 30-year-old daughter of a prominent Florida lobbyist. During her teens, she suffered terrible sexual abuse at the hands of her nanny while her father was away at the state Capitol.
She turned those traumatic events into a thriving nonprofit called Lauren’s Kids, which educates the public on sexual abuse prevention through in-school curricula and awareness-raising campaigns.
But Lauren’s Kids has another face too—it’s been instrumental in passing legislation that has made Florida one of the harshest states in the nation for those on the state’s sex offender registry and their families.
Lauren’s Kids has proposed a state law banning registrants from living within 2500 feet of places like parks, daycares, and schools. Many Florida towns and counties have already done just that, passing ordinances that make upwards of 90 percent of homes and apartments off limits to registrants and their families. Rates of homelessness among registrants have soared, making it harder for probation and parole officers to maintain contact with them.
Coalitions against sexual assault in many other states, such as Kansas and California, have gone on record opposing such residency restrictions because they destabilize the lives of offenders, which actually may increase the risk of reoffense.
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