I knew that paroled sex offenders are not allowed to live within 2,000 feet of a park or school under Jessica’s Law. I also knew that made finding housing in the city and
Sex offenders have to be released to the county from where they came, and
Law enforcement, mental health professionals and victims rights groups say the same thing – homelessness can make a convicted sex offender more likely to reoffend. The stress can lead to depression and desperation.
The case before the California Supreme Court challenging Jessica’s Law makes several points. Among them – Jessica’s Law also applies to sex offenders who did not target children, and to those who committed crimes long ago. I met one man outside the Parole Office who served time in prison for rape in the 1980’s. He recently went to prison for a stolen property conviction, got out last April, and was told Jessica’s Law now applied to him. He had not targeted children, his sex crime was more than twenty years ago, and his most recent crime – for which he now faces Jessica’s Law restrictions – had nothing to do with a sex offense.
Throughout the state, the number of transient sex offenders has soared since Jessica’s Law took effect, from a couple hundred to five-thousand. Rather than cooperate with the tighter restrictions, many sex offenders are choosing to stop cooperating with authorities.
No one can argue with wanting to protect children, but there are questions whether Jessica’s Law is an effective tool.
In addition to the housing restrictions, Jessica’s Law also calls for lifetime gps monitoring of sex offenders, tougher sentencing guidelines and longer prison terms.