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Car Ban Proposed for Convicted Sex Offenders 

17 October 2006

A senior member of the CDU [Christian Democratic Union] wants to introduce new legislation designed to reduce the number of sex offenses committed in Germany. This would include preventing offenders released from jail from owning a car.

Wolfgang Bosbach, deputy parliamentary group leader of the CDU, has called for new restrictions on the rehabilitation of sex offenders who have served their sentences.

Given that cars help most sex offenders identify, reach and get away from their victims, the new law would bar convicted sex offenders from owning a vehicle.

"Vehicles play a major role in the crime," Bosbach told reporters, according to Reuters news service. "By banning offenders from owning one, we can make it considerably harder for them to re-offend.

"If they are going to be released from jail, then we need to set the bar as high as possible in order to reduce their threat level and prevent repeat crimes," he said, adding that a legal framework needs to be put in place as soon as possible.

Controversial move

But this might prove tricky.

"In principle we would welcome any new initiative which would improve victim protection," said Veit Schiemann from the Weisser Ring association for crime victims.

"But any change to legislation needs to be thoroughly looked into from both a political and a legal point of view, and Bosbach's proposal would have far-reaching repercussions," Schiemann added. 

"It might be in breach of an offender's right to choose a job -- were he barred from owning a car he would inevitably be barred from work in certain professions, which would be unconstitutional."

Further initiatives would include closer monitoring of offenders upon their release from jail, while calls to post the names of convicted offenders in an Internet registry were rejected by Bosbach on the grounds the move could have "irrational consequences."

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