Despite the New York Court of Appeals majority holding in People ex rel. Johnson, New York’s policy of detaining individuals beyond their maximum sentence because they are unable to procure SARA-compliant housing is plainly unconstitutional. The policy violates sex offenders’ fundamental right to be released from prison after serving their sentence. Further, the policy fails to meet even the most relaxed form of judicial review because the state has not shown that it benefits public safety. Indeed, there is virtually no evidence proving that this policy serves to protect the public at all, and a growing body of research shows that restrictive residence constraints create hardships that lead to recidivism. Finally, the policy violates sex offenders’ Eighth Amendment rights because it punishes them for being homeless, a status imposed upon them by the sex offender statute itself.
Cardozo Law Review de·novo
Tunis, Rebecca, "Zoned In: How Residence Restrictions Lead to the Indefinite and Unconstitutional Detention of New Yorkers Convicted of Sex Crimes" (2023). Cardozo Law Review de•novo. 96.