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Life after prison can be difficult for Missouri sex offenders

Most people who serve prison time in Missouri are considered to have paid their debt to society when their term expires. This is not usually true, however, of sex offenders. Many of them must register with a state sex offender registry, which in Missouri has more than 12,000 names on it. People convicted of sex offenses have a hard time getting a job, finding a place to live -- in short, getting through life like a normal person.

One man in St. Louis, Missouri, has found this to be true. After his release from prison for failing to register as a sex offender -- he had previously served time for molesting an 11-year-old boy -- he found a job at a recycling plant and eventually worked his way up to be a night manager. However, the business was sold and the company's new owners couldn't see past his criminal record and let him go.

As a sex offender, the man must abide by restrictions on where he can live and what he can do. He cannot loiter at playgrounds and cannot live near day-care centers or schools. He must keep his sex-offender registry current by checking in with police every 90 days to tell them where he lives and works and provide them with a current photograph. Finding landlords who will rent to registered sex offenders is difficult, so many of those on the list congregate in the same neighborhoods.

And the laws in Missouri keep getting tougher. Some offenders are now required to stay indoors on Halloween and post signs on their doors that they have no candy to hand out. Still, those on the list soldier on, hoping to fit in the best that they can.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Kevin Wright, sex offender: What do we do with him?" Jesse Bogan, Feb. 19, 2012

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