Parks For The Wrong Reason?

A sliver of land in the harbor area of Los Angles, large enough for two jungle gyms, some benches and a wall is being turned into a pocket park. The reason: So that 33 released sex offenders who live a block away will have to move. The city and the state have laws that they cannot be within 2000 yards of a park or school. Two other pocket parks are planned for the same reason. State laws restrict where sex offenders can live making it hard for them to be in urban areas. They end up in poor areas with no parks like this harbor neighborhood. The project is the brainchild of councilperson Joe Buscaino, a former police officer who wants to clean up the area to make it safe for children. It is not known whether the 33 former offenders had hurt children or adults, nor how serious their crimes were since the classification of sex offender covers a wide range of offenses. It’s one thing to punish people. It’s another to keep punishing them for what they might or might not do. By pushing sex offenders who have served their time on the fringes of society, by depriving them of the opportunity to reintegrate into the community, are we pushing them further into dysfunction and possibly crime? At what point does our fear turns to hysteria and that hysteria leads to injustice?