Thursday, November 09, 2006

Judge Blocks Part Of California Sex Offender Proposition

SF Gate

One day after California voters overwhelmingly passed an initiative tightening legal restrictions on registered sex offenders, a federal judge has blocked local enforcement of a provision forbidding past offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco issued the temporary restraining order today against the provision of Proposition 83 at the request of a Bay Area man who pleaded no contest to a sex crime more than 15 years ago, according to his lawsuit.

The suit claims that Prop. 83, approved Tuesday by a vote of 70 percent to 30 percent, would impose retroactive punishment by forcing the man to move immediately from the community where he has lived for more than 20 years.

This ruling makes absolute sense to me since well meaning restrictions can cause problems for those on sex offender registries without improving public safety. These types of restrictions can also have the effect of clustering registered sex offenders in the reduced number of areas where they are allowed to live.

For the most dangerous sex offenders no monitoring system or restriction will deter them from reoffending.

What's most needed in my opinion is effective assessment of sex offenders (including monitoring movements through a GPS system as needed) so the most dangerous offenders can be considered for civil commitment and so we don't waste massive resources on blanket policies or laws that only make us feel safer.

Many sex offenders patterns of behavior and selection of victims are such that their proximity to groups of children has no bearing on the possibility of reoffending. If the response to sex crimes becomes too extreme across the board, it may result in fewer victims reporting what happened to them and fewer juries convicting so-called good rapists.

To tighten the restrictions on convicted sex offenders without improving methods that help potential sex offenders change their patterns before they break the law can't be anything but short sighted. The obvious difficulty in changing rape-friendly attitudes is that most of us don't want to look at how what we believe, what we do and what we say contributes to sex crimes.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   2 comments links to this post

2 Comments:

At November 09, 2006 1:09 AM, Blogger Gracchi said...

Well done. This is a subtle and intelligent post. In the UK we recently had the paedophile scare in which mobs went round attacking people- it should always be there that once people have served the penalty they shouldn't be penalised further though obviously jobs in schools should be off limits. Yet again I'm really impressed this is a great post.

 
At November 09, 2006 1:42 PM, Blogger sailorman said...

"If the response to sex crimes becomes too extreme across the board, it may result in fewer victims reporting what happened to them and fewer juries convicting so-called good rapists."

I get the jury part, but not the victim part. Can you elaborate more?

 

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