Stiffer Penalties for Sex Offenders

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

Give sex offenders longer prison sentences. Keep them farther away from schools. Take away their voting rights. Limit their driving privileges.
With more than 50 such proposals in the last two years, Illinois lawmakers are trying harder than ever to crack down on sex offenders. Sex offenders have been in the legislative crosshairs for years. But experts say the push is intensifying in Illinois and across the nation because lawmakers see a real safety problem and also a way to score political points off a hated group. Treatment advocates and experts warn that the laws could backfire. Restrictions on where they can live might push more offenders into smaller areas or leave them homeless and harder to track. Or they could discourage offenders from registering with authorities and trying to change their ways.

Click on the video link to watch a report on how these laws would impact us locally.

You can find out more information on www.ilga.gov. Here are a few of their ideas:

--HB514: Makes it illegal for a child sex offender to knowingly loiter or reside within one-thousand feet of a school, up from 500 feet under current law.

--HB2432: Requires employers of child sex offenders to notify school officials when the offender is working on school property.

--HB3656: Prevents registered sex offenders from being court-appointed guardians of any minors.

--HB4179: Bars sex offenders from asking Illinois courts for a name change.

--HB4193: Creates a "violence against youth" registry for offenses such as kidnapping, first-degree murder and child abduction against minors that are not sex crimes but that now require offenders to register as sex offenders.

--HB4227: Makes it a crime for someone to knowingly provide shelter or rental housing to a sex offender who is not registered with the state as required.

--HB4311: Bans convicted sex offenders from voting for the rest of their lives.

--SB2962: Requires the secretary of state to revoke driving privileges of convicted sex offenders who fail to renew their licenses annually.

--SB3016: Requires sex offenders to submit more information about their crimes when they register with the state and to register every 90 days if they register annually now.

--SB3018: Makes it a new crime with potential prison time for a state employee or contractor to have sex with a person with a disability who is under state care.


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