Thursday, January 15, 2009

California Sex Offender's Law Questioned : California sex offender's law questioned.

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A movement is afoot to revise "Jessica's Law," with some officials saying the California law limiting where sex offenders can live is counterproductive.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that a state board has found that the restrictions on where released sex offenders can live has left many of them homeless and more likely to return to a life of crime. Also, state taxpayers wind up paying $25 million a year to house some of them.

The law passed by California voters two years ago bans sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other areas where children gather. But the state Sex Offender Management Board said in a report sent to lawmakers this week that has drastically curtailed where the offenders can live and hasn't shown to be effective in reducing crime.

"It seems unwise to spend such resources as a consequence of residence restriction policies which have no track record of increasing community safety," board members wrote.

State lawmakers would need a two-thirds majority to change the law. State Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, who helped push the law through, still supports it.

Withinthescope : Board Urges Refusal of Money and Requirements of Adam Walsh Act .

Urging the California State Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger to elect not to come into compliance with the federal Act, the Board argued:

"Instead of incurring the substantial - and un-reimbursed - costs associated with the Adam Walsh Act, California should absorb the comparatively small loss of federal funds that would result from not accepting the very costly and ill-advised changes to state law and policy required by the Act. Any funding cuts to the JAG / Byrne grants to local law enforcement should be offset with other funds to ensure that the vital public safety work of those programs is continued."

As the Board reasoned, in addition to "particularly problematic” policy choices made by the Act, the potential loss of $1.2 million in federal funds compared poorly with a "minimum" of $32 million in costs that would be incurred by California in order to obtain compliance with the new law.