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Oklahomaís Approach To Sex Offenders

Despite the fact that America boasts of one of the most effective judicial and criminal systems in the world, we still struggle mightily with the problem of dealing with sex offenders who prey on innocent victims. American society has yet to find an ideal approach to dealing with this social problem. This concern has resurfaced in recent weeks due to various high-profile sex crimes in media. With the dearth of an effective national approach to the problem states and cities have tried to deal with sex offenders in their own way. For instance, California has instituted a two-year civil commitment for convicted sex offenders, which means that these sex criminals will serve another two years locked up in a prison facility in addition to the official sentence handed down by the court in their case. Oklahoma is dealing with sex criminals in a different way.

The state has a law that prohibits sex offenders from living in most residential areas in an attempt to keep them away from families and children that reside in these areas. An updated version of the law stipulates that these criminals cannot move into an abode that is within 2,000 feet of day-care centers, playgrounds and parks. Schools have been a banned territory for sex criminals in Oklahoma for years. In addition, sex offenders who were already residing in such areas when the law was passed will be compelled to move residence if they are within 300 feet of these locations. As such, the law practically expels sex offenders from most places in cities and towns in Oklahoma, which leaves little option but to live in the rural areas.

And already, this possibility has raised an uproar in several rural venues in Okalahoma as law enforcement officers, civil rights proponents, prosecutors, lawmakers and children's advocates complain that the new law will make Oklahoma countryside less safe. As one local parole officer put it, ``Residential restrictions actually increase recidivism'' and since these criminals will likely be based in rural communities, that is where they will likely revert back to their evil form. In any case, national observers are keeping a keen watch on Oklahoma to see just how effective this new approach to sex offenders will be.


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