This may be a case where the silent majority had its way. There were no comments at a New Paltz public hearing last Thursday on a law to limit the number of registered sex offenders staying in a hotel or motel. The law was passed unanimously by the town bard moments after the hearing was closed.
Seven registered sex offenders were living at the New Paltz Econo Lodge. The new law limits the concentration of registered offenders based in part on how they are designated in the three-tier classification system.
When sentenced to parole or having completed their time in prison, individuals guilty of a sex offense are classified based on the likelihood that they will commit another sex crime. Those designated at level one are least likely to be a risk, while levels two and three each signal a higher chance of recidivism.
Housing a released sex offender is a challenge. Potential landlords and employers have access to that registry, making job and housing offers harder to find. Other state laws prevent certain offenders from living within a thousand feet of a school or place where children congregate.
A representative of the county’s parole department told Tim Rogers, the village mayor, that some registered offenders are held in prison past their release date because there’s no place for them to live. That’s an expensive proposition, and a strategy that has been used to cut that cost is to strike agreements with hoteliers to pay for rooms instead, providing them a steady stream of income.
A similar law passed in Lloyd two years ago has not been challenged in court.