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Societal costs high for sex crime convictions in Florida

A certain stigma comes with having a sexual conviction on your record. As if being listed on Florida's public sex offender registry and the national registry isn't enough, there are also the possible personal and professional repercussions. Add into the mix a residency ban, which is a real thing in certain areas, and the fallout from a sex crime is one that can continue to haunt a person -- and their families -- for years to come. 

With the registries and residency bans, the problem is the consequences do not start and end with just the person on the registry. Rather, their family members -- including their children -- are often forced to suffer through the consequences too. 

A recent article broke down the struggle for one father. In his case, the married father of three is not able to sleep in the same home as his family due to a residency ban. The fact that he needs to be out of the house and the banned zone every night by 10 p.m. is no doubt affecting his family.

It is worth noting, the conviction is tied to a crime committed 15 years ago. The father spent close to three years behind bars and completed a sex offender treatment program, which he credits for his rehabilitation. Yet, he continues to deal with the fallout.

In looking at the effect these registries and residency bans have on a person's family though, part of the problem is that the data is very sparse. However, what is available, does not paint a real promising picture. 

In one study, 600 family members were surveyed. Of these, more than 20 percent said their loved one was forced to move out of a rental after a landlord found the tenant's name on a registry. 

The same study also found that many kids end up suffering from social consequences when they have a parent on the registry. From being harassed by other children, to other parents not allowing their kids to play together anymore, the children are the ones who often also feel ostracized.

What is the solution to all of this? That is the million dollar question, as some advocacy groups are starting to point to the unnecessary damage that continues for years after a conviction. For the time being though, this is just part of the reason why people are so strongly encouraged to hire an attorney after being charged with a sex crime. Since the potential consequences -- both criminal and social -- are so steep, it is imperative to have your side of the story also heard in court.

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