Houston Officials Work on Sex Offender Policy
(12/30/2006)

HOUSTON — City officials are drafting a proposition that would regulate where registered sex offenders can live and who can rent housing to them.

The ordinance would bar sex offenders from living in areas where children congregate, and would restrict parolees or sex offenders from living together in what would be considered unlicensed, unsanctioned halfway houses.

The proposition is designed to protect the public from clusters of sex offenders or parolees. Also under consideration is a restriction on the number of sex offenders allowed to live in housing complexes.

Exceptions to the ordinance would include sex offenders or parolees who are minors and those who established a residence before the ordinance was put in place. Violation of the ordinance would result in a $500 fine and would be classified as a Class C misdemeanor.

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Critics of the proposition worry it might impose a burden on housing directors and people who work for apartment communities. They also say the ordinance could be hard to enforce.

As of press time, the ordinance was still in draft form and had not yet been voted on.

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