With most state and federal crimes, there are proscribed sentences, which typically include a minimum and maximum period of incarceration. Some crimes carry mandatory minimum sentences, such as many federal drug crimes, which can produce onerous sentences.
But even those sentences have a defined endpoint. But there is one type of crime that can leave a defendant with what at first appears to be an ordinary sentence of a certain period of years. But that is not all. Many sentences for sex crimes in reality carry a life sentence.
Many of these defendants will be forced to maintain a lifetime of registration updates with local or state law enforcement. They may have to inform the authorities every 90 days of their residence, their vehicle license, their email addresses, a current photo and if they work or go to school in another county, they may have to maintain that updated information with each county.
If they fail with any of these requirements, they can be arrested for violations that could land them back in jail. And there is still more. Many states and cities have created additional residency restrictions on those released after serving time for a sex crime.
There are typically restrictions on where an offender may live, prohibiting them from being within a set distance from schools, churches, day care centers, parks, playgrounds, and sometimes even bus stops.
The effect of these restrictions can be to create an overlapping set of circles that in some cases rule out offenders living anywhere within a city.
While the media often highlight high-profile sex crimes due to their value for ratings, these draconian laws affect thousands of lesser charges, making minor cases of teenage sex, internet pornography or even public urinations into crimes that can carry a lifetime and life-destroying sentence. (Cont.)
Source: newyorktimes.com, "Teenager’s Jailing Brings a Call to Fix Sex Offender Registries," Julie Bosman, July 4, 2015