Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Increased Restrictions On Sex Offenders

Sex offenders will face much stricter registration regulations in North Carolina beginning December 1, 2006. The House and Senate approved far-reaching legislation on Thursday, after months of work by the House Select Committee on Sex Offender Registration Laws and passage of several House bills that sought to better protect our children from these predators.

House and Senate members combined several bills previously passed by the House into one comprehensive package (HB 1896), which now awaits the Governor’s signature. The legislation prohibits a sex offender from living within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center and bars offenders from working or volunteering in a position where they would interact with minors. Some of the worst predators face lifetime satellite monitoring under a new global positioning system (GPS), and all offenders must comply with tougher registration requirements, which will give authorities more chances to update addresses and photographs. The bill also takes aim at human trafficking and sexual servitude by increasing penalties, especially for those individuals who harbor children. The human trafficking provision would also apply to those involved in trafficking illegal aliens.

Legislators also included $1.5 million in the budget to upgrade the state’s sex offender registry, implement the global positioning system (GPS), and establish an email notification program so citizens can be notified when a registered sex offender moves into their neighborhood.

Many states have strengthened their sex offender laws since the 2005 kidnapping and killing of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who spent much of her life in Gaston County, N.C., before moving to Florida with her father. A registered sex offender has been charged in her death.

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