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Distinction Between Restrictions Resulting From Registration Versus Restrictions That Are A Condition Of Probation Or Parole

Because there are so many restrictions placed upon a person accused of a sex related offense, it is difficult to keep track of the authority for each restriction. As a general rule, the mere fact that a person is registered as a sex offender does not prohibit a person from doing anything; the only additional criminal liability imposed by registration is that failure to register is a felony offense.

Restrictions related to unsupervised contact with minors, polygraph examinations, residency restrictions, and employment restrictions are all conditions of parole or probation. Texas probation and parole law requires the imposition of a “child safety zone” on a sex offender placed on community supervision (probation) or released on parole or mandatory supervision if the offender’s victim was a child. A “child safety zone” prohibits sex offenders on community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision from supervising or participating in any program that includes as participants or recipients persons 17 years of age or younger and that regularly provides athletic, civic, or cultural activities or going in, on, or within a specified distance of a premises where children commonly gather (i.e. schools, day care facilities, or playgrounds). A violation of the “child safety zone” can result in the revocation of a sex offender’s probation or parole and, consequently, incarceration. This “child safety zone” lasts for as long as the sex offender is on community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision. Similarly, the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program itself does not prohibit registered sex offenders from working in certain trades, occupations or professions.

However, this is where the “collateral consequences” conversation begins again. While the sex offender registration statute does not prohibit where a person can live or work, other state laws that regulate a particular trade, occupation or profession may bar sex offenders from working in the trade, profession or occupation. Likewise, private employers, neighborhood associations, and landlords can develop their own set of regulations which exclude registered sex offenders.

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