ELI5: How do registered sex offenders go to grocery stores and malls etc, where children just are naturally?

Well, I might be a bit late to this thread, but I've been a registered sex offender for more than 10 years, so I figure I'm qualified to answer this question.

First off, all of these regulations vary from state to state. There is no federal mandate -- all of the "can't live within X distance of a school/playground/whatever" exists or doesn't exist state by state. Some states have the distance requirement, with a further requirement that a sex offender cannot be in any place where "children congregate."

Obviously, both of these requirements are very much open to interpretation. This is why you have states and municipalities that interpret very strictly -- like Florida, using these guidelines so that sex offenders cannot live anywhere other than under bridges -- or laxly.

In my own experience, the restrictions of being a sex offender have been had little impact on my life in a law-enforcement sense, mostly for two reasons: first, no one really cares until they have it shoved in their face. And second, sex offender guidelines are ridiculously difficult to enforce.

So, I meet with the sex offender cop in my local town police office once a year. I fill out some basic information. I do not see or here from him for a solid year. If I change jobs I disclose to the Sex Offender Registry Board and to the local P.D. If I move I disclose to SORB and the local P.D. Other than that, it means fuck-all. I got to the library, I bring my niece to the park. I'm just like you, %95 of the time.

In my experience, the laws and regulations surrounding sex offenders is one part hysteria, one part puritanical "justice," and one part theater. None of the laws in place really prevent sex crimes from happening; to the contrary, they are actively detrimental.

In terms of my own specific circumstances, I'd rather not speak to it at all. It's a complex, flawed system on both ends.

/r/explainlikeimfive Thread