You can change the location apartments for rent sex offenders any time. It’s clear from the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry that sex offenders are living in every corner of New Jersey.
All high-risk and most moderate-risk offenders are listed online — 4,397 as of Wednesday — but there are thousands more deemed less likely to reoffend who don’t have their names listed. Some cities have higher rates of sex offenders, according to state data, even when controlling for size. Looking at communities with at least 50,000 residents, the 11 municipalities with the highest rates of sex offenders are home to 40 percent of the state’s listed sex offenders. So why do more sex offenders end up in certain places and not others?
Inside the courtyard at Northern State Prison in Newark. NJ Advance Media put the question to two experts in the field: Jackson Tay Bosley, who developed sex offender treatment programs for the state, and attorney Fletcher Duddy, who manages the state Office of the Public Defender’s Megan’s Law Unit. Both hypothesized that the legal requirements, living restrictions and notoriety that come with being a tier 2 or 3 sex offender can channel people to certain cities. Those issues make sex offenders more likely to be homeless and thus find themselves living in halfway houses or other temporary housing, Duddy said, and some communities have more of that housing than others. It starts with sex offenders having trouble getting jobs because they show up in the online registry, Bosley said.
Bosley said in a phone interview. It’s a hit to their economic viability that they have this label. Bosley said landlords in lower-end places often can’t afford to turn sex offenders away, so registrants are more likely to settle there. But many landlords won’t rent to offenders who appear in the online registry, Duddy said. Almost all defendants convicted of sex crimes in New Jersey are subject to parole supervision for life.
Duddy said residency restrictions set by their parole officer can cause homelessness and thus channel offenders to halfway houses. The location of sex offenders treatment programs could also channel offenders to certain cities, Bosley said. Offenders must get counseling, at least temporarily, as a condition of their parole. Those who can’t afford private treatment have to go to one of the state-sponsored programs Bosley set up for indigent parolees in cities around New Jersey. People often worry about having sex offenders in the community, but they are less likely to reoffend if they are living a stable life and not worrying about basic needs like housing, Bosley said.