Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

Many states and hundreds of local municipalities have passed zoning laws prohibiting sex offenders from living within close proximity to schools, parks, playgrounds, day care centers, and other places where children congregate. The purpose of this study was to investigate the positive and negative, intended and unintended consequences of residence restrictions on sex offenders. Results indicate that residence restrictions create housing instability for many offenders and limited accessibility to employment opportunities, social services, and social support. Young adult offenders were especially impacted because residence restrictions limited affordable housing options and often prevented them from living with family members. Implications for policy development and implementation are discussed.

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