I read an interesting article in the Washington Post today about the unintended consequence of various sex offender laws in the USA. The restrictions on where former sex offenders are allowed to live have become so restrictive that many are finding there is no area in which they can reside. Once an area that fits within the narrow range is located, so many former sex offenders are housed there that the local community launches into protests until the people are moved. Now, I'm sure the more heartless folk would say that these people brought this trouble on themselves and, of course, this is true. However, these people have done their time and deserve the opportunity to get their lives back on track and become contributing members of society again. To force these people into a situation where they can't work again or even live in a home isn't about justice... it's purely about vengence and cheap, nasty politics.
Further, not only is this treatment inhumane, it undermines the whole alleged point of the law in the first place ie. the protection of children. Only an idiot would consider that someone who is forced into ongoing homelessness and unemployment poses less of a risk to children than someone who's done their time and is given the opportunity for redemption. Again, the more callous amongst us would probably say that this is a good reason to just put them in gaol and never let them out again. Well, I'm sure there are plenty of third world dictatorships that treat their citizens like this if you want to go there. Personally, I prefer to live in a democracy that values freedom and treats its citzens with compassion and fairness.