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November 12, 2010

Law enforcement panel urging repeal of sex offender residency restrictions in California

As detailed in this interesting AP article, a "law enforcement panel is recommending that California voters repeal the residency restrictions for sex offenders they approved four years ago because too many are listed as transient, making them more difficult to monitor." Here's more:

Jessica's Law, passed by 70 percent of California voters in 2006, prohibits released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.  The residency restriction means there are few places the offenders can legally live in many communities.  That forces many of them to move frequently, making it difficult for agents to track their whereabouts.

The 17-page report says 2,100 offenders have become transient since voters approved the law.  More than a third of paroled offenders are now transient, a 750 percent increase since the law took effect.  "Homeless sex offenders put the public at risk.  These offenders are unstable and more difficult to supervise," the draft says.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press, was being prepared for review by the governor's office before its official release, corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Thursday.  It says sex offenders move frequently and have more trouble finding and keeping jobs.

The panel says some residency restrictions should remain for high-risk child molesters, and parole agents should have discretion to restrict where others can live. The report does not recommend repealing other sections of Jessica's Law, such as requiring that sex offenders' movements be tracked with GPS-linked ankle bracelets or increasing penalties for some sex crimes....

Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate created the task force this year in response to high-profile crimes committed by paroled sex offenders, including the rapes and murders of two San Diego County teenagers and a kidnapping in Northern California. The 43-member task force includes parole officials, local law enforcement, victims' representatives and treatment providers.

State Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, who co-authored Jessica's Law, said the experts should have tried to improve a law that had overwhelming voter support.... "A practical solution is not going to back to voters and letting child molesters live across the street from schools. That's just not going to happen," Runner said. "Maybe the 2,000 feet doesn't work in all communities, but in most communities it surely does."

He also disputed that transient sex offenders are more dangerous than others, given that Jessica's Law also requires that their every movement be tracked by GPS.

In many cases, parole agents are being overwhelmed by the data generated by the GPS devices. The panel recommended the corrections department create a monitoring center to evaluate the thousands of daily warnings triggered by the GPS ankle bracelets worn by 6,600 paroled sex offenders....

The panel also recommended the department use new statistical tests to better predict which ex-convicts are most likely to commit new crimes and concentrate its supervision on those offenders, the report said.

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Comments

I did a little controlled experiment. I put in my zip code, where the lawyer lives. There were 2 sex offenders, both of whom only worked in my neighborhood. I put in the zip code where the lawyer works, an area much less friendly, more expensive. There were 68 sex offenders. Those afraid of sex offenders should try to move to a lawyer neighborhood.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 13, 2010 8:47:10 AM

I am the mother of a sex-offender who was forced to live under a bridge because our home is 1400 ft from a school. The river he's living at was suggested by his parole agent & is much closer to a school than if he were allowed to remain in a stable home with us. Please support repeal of the residency statute of Jessica's law based on its' unconstitutionality

Posted by: CHERYL FULLER | Nov 13, 2010 4:13:45 PM

I'm praying for you and your family Cheryl.

Posted by: tbucket | Nov 15, 2010 2:10:27 AM

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