Louisiana places whole host of restrictions on convicted sex offenders
In Louisiana, the consequences of a sex crime conviction extend far beyond the criminal sentence. Even after they are released from prison and off of probation, convicted sex offenders can be subject to a whole host of restrictions.
Chief among these is the requirement that individuals convicted of sex crimes or crimes against children register with the State Sex Offender & Child Predator Registry. As part of this process, convicted sex offenders are required to disclose significant personal information, including their address, place of employment, photograph, email addresses, phone numbers, fingerprints and a DNA sample. Much of this information is made available to the public. Depending on the nature of the underlying offense, the duration of the registration requirement could be as short as 15 years or as long as the remainder of the offender’s life.
The restrictions don’t stop there. In January 2013, a new law went into effect that limits convicted sex offenders’ ability to use public libraries. The law allows each parish to set their own restrictions, but the idea is to prevent individuals convicted of sex crimes from being present at libraries during peak hours or during times when children’s programs are scheduled. Parishes would also be able to prohibit sex offenders from entering certain areas of a library. The law only applies to convicted sex offenders whose victims were under 13 years of age.
The library law comes after a change that went into effect this summer requiring individuals convicted of child molestation or other sex crimes involving child victims to list their crimes on all of their social networking profiles. In addition, they must provide an accurate physical description and current address. The law was passed after an earlier statute — which significantly restricted offenders’ ability to use the Internet — was struck down as unconstitutional. The penalties for violating the social networking law are severe and can include up to 20 years in prison.
Convicted sex offenders in Louisiana are also banned from certain professions, including driving buses, taxis or limousines. In addition, state law places significant restrictions on the places where convicted sex offenders can live or visit.
Complying with sex offender restrictions
The proponents of these restrictions say that they are meant to keep Louisiana residents safe and to deter future crimes. However, many criminal justice advocates worry that the laws could, in fact, have the exact opposite effect. They say that strict prohibitions make it harder for ex-convicts to reintegrate into society, increasing their chances of becoming alienated and likely to re-offend.
At the very least, the significant consequences for violating these laws demonstrates the importance of not taking chances when it comes to complying with Louisiana’s rules for convicted sex offenders. If you have been convicted of a sex crime in Louisiana, be sure to talk with your criminal defense lawyer if you have any concerns about whether a particular action is legal.