Friday, December 19, 2008

Report: More Sex Offenders Homeless (California): Report: More Sex Offenders Homeless.

SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Sex Offender Management Board released a report Thursday that shows a dramatic increase in homelessness among sex offenders on parole. The report, titled "Homelessness Among Registered Sex Offenders in California: the Numbers, the Risks, and the Response," shows an 800 percent increase in transience among sex offenders when residency restrictions under Jessica's Law are actively enforced.

California voters approved Proposition 83, or Jessica's Law, in 2006. It prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of schools and parks. "When you draw circles, 2000 foot circles around schools and parks particularly in dense urban areas it becomes really difficult to figure out a place they can live," said Sex Offender Management Board Chair Suzanne Brown-McBride. "So many folks are forced to be transient."

Along with her post on the Sex Offender Management Board, Brown-McBride is also the Executive Director of California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "As a victims' advocate, the thing that I care most about is making sure I can do everything I can to make sure an offender will not re-offend," said Brown-McBride.

The report found that homelessness increases the risk that a sex offender may re-offend.

"When offenders are transient, it's difficult to stay in contact with your supervisor. It's difficult to be in treatment, it's difficult to hold a job, all of those things we know stabilize offenders," said Brown-McBride. "When they (sex offenders) are successful in the community, it means that we're safer."

The report concludes that laws forcing sex offenders to go homeless are not in the best interest of public safety.

"Policymakers should take steps to ensure that there are stable and appropriate housing options available for sex offenders," said Brown-McBride. Lawmakers in Iowa, which has similar residency restrictions for convicted sex offenders, will consider several bills aimed at easing those restrictions.

"It's easy to say I don't care if a sex offender is homeless, but you should care because it's about public safety," said Brown-McBride.

Paroled sex offenders are fitted with GPS devices in California. "But GPS is not the same thing as having a stable place where you can check on them and be around them," said Brown-McBride. "We're going to have to figure out some other solution."

the Sex Offender Management Board will make recommendations to legislators in January. "Some of that may involve rethinking the restrictions," said Brown-McBride. "It may involve thinking about loitering restrictions instead of residency restrictions."

To view the full report, click here.

This is what you get when you ostracize sex offenders from society. Again it proves that isolating sex offenders actually endangers communities , contrary to popular scare tactics of residency restrictions.