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Most sex offender parolees exempt from ban
Sex Offender Registry

 

Most sex offender parolees exempt from ban


Three-quarters of paroled sex offenders in California who were previously banned from living near parks, schools and other places where children congregate now face no housing restrictions after the state changed its policy in response to a court ruling, according to data compiled at the request of The Associated Press.

The rate is far higher than officials predicted. The state initially expected half of the 5,900 parolees would have restrictions lifted on where they can live or sleep when the corrections department changed its policy in response to the ruling that said the prohibition cannot be broadly applied to all offenders.

Instead, data shows that 76 percent of offenders are no longer subject to the voter-approved restrictions.

Corrections officials said last spring that about half of the convicted sex offenders are considered child molesters who would still be subject to the housing ban.

But even some whose offense involved a child no longer face the 2,000-foot residency restriction, officials disclosed in explaining the higher number. That's because the department's new policy requires a direct connection between where a parolee lives and the offender's crime or potential to reoffend. Only rarely is the assailant a stranger to the victim, the type of offender whose behavior might be affected by where he lives.

"A parole agent cannot simply prevent a parolee from living near a school or park because the offender committed a crime against a child," Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Jeffrey Callison said in a statement. He said the department reverted to a policy it used before Jessica's Law was passed, which requires that parole restrictions be related to the crime committed.

The decision largely reverses a blanket housing ban imposed by California voters nine years ago. Many states impose a variety of residency restrictions on sex offenders, though states including Iowa, Georgia and Oklahoma rescinded or changed their residency restrictions and some now also tailor restrictions to individual sex offenders.

As a result of California's policy change, more than 4,200 of the state's 5,900 offenders no longer qualify for the residency restrictions, according to data compiled by the corrections department at the AP's request. However, their whereabouts still are monitored with tracking devices and they must tell local law enforcement agencies where they live.

One in five sex offenders who used to be transient have been able to find permanent housing because they are no longer subject to the rule, the department said.

"These numbers are absolutely astounding," said state Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, who co-authored the original ballot initiative. "Kids in kindergarten living across the street from a sex offender is not what the people voted for in Jessica's Law. Seventy percent of the people voted to keep them away from schools and parks."

The department spent months reviewing offenders' criminal backgrounds before deciding that the ban should continue to apply to about 1,400 offenders. The department couldn't provide the status of nearly 300 other offenders.

"That's a pretty dramatic reduction in numbers, so that's scary. That's scary for victims," said Nina Salarno, executive director of Crime Victims United of California.

She and Criminal Justice Legal Foundation president Michael Rushford, who represents crime victims, said the department is broadly interpreting the March court ruling, which applied only to San Diego County. Officials have refused to release the legal advice from the state attorney general that they are relying upon in making the decision.

In the March ruling, justices found that blanket restrictions violate offenders' constitutional rights by making it difficult for them to find housing and other services, without advancing the state's goal of protecting children. One of the San Diego County offenders sued after he was forced to live in a dry riverbed, while two others slept in an alley near the parole office.

Susan Fisher, a board member of the victims support group Citizens against Homicide, said she would have been surprised at the low number of parolees still facing residency restrictions had she not spent so much time as a parole commissioner and as victims' rights adviser to former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Most people think "that around every corner is a child molester," she said. Yet experts say most child molesters are family members or acquaintances of the victim.

Ending the blanket housing restriction tracks recommendations that have been made for years by the Sex Offender Management Board, an advisory panel made up of law enforcement and treatment professionals.

Board vice chairman Tom Tobin said California parole officers who are responsible for enforcing the prohibition are doing a much better job now of tracking sex offenders based on their individual risk.

Tobin, a psychologist who also is on the board of the California Coalition on Sexual Offending, said agents can still apply the housing ban where it makes sense, and the department said it still prohibits many offenders from having contact with minors or loitering near parks, schools or other places where children gather.

Tobin and Fisher said the public is safer with about 260 fewer transient sex offenders who now have been able to find housing since the rule changed.

"If somebody's living under a bridge or going from one house to the next ... we're putting ourselves at greater risk," Fisher said.

Runner disagreed. She intends to try again next year to pass stalled legislation that would let judges in each county decide if the 2,000-foot limit is too restrictive in their jurisdiction.

"Unfortunately, that many people coming from transient to living near schools is not good," Runner said.
Source:  www.aol.com/article/2015/12/14/ap-exclusive-most-sex-offender-parolees-exempt-from-ban/21283531/?icid=maing-fluid%7Camp-bon%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D-153136039

Sex Offenders Registry

Rank

Offenders
(7/2014)
Population
(2013)
Offenders
/100K
RSO
Census
/100K

United States

790,834
316,128,729
250
-
-
-

Alabama

13,074
4,833,722
270
24
23
19

Alaska

2,165
735,132
295
48
47
15

Arizona

14,500
6,570,902
221
26
16
32

Arkansas

13,813
2,959,373
467
23
32
4

California

82,147
38,332,521
214
1
1
33

Colorado

16,470
5,268,367
313
17
22
13

Connecticut

5,657
3,596,080
157
35
29
47T

Delaware

4,489
925,749
485
37
45
3

DC

995
626,630
159
47
50
46

Florida

63,990
19,552,860
327
3
4
11

Georgia

24,870
9,895,622
251
4
8
24

Hawaii

2,967
1,404,054
211
44
40
34

Idaho

4,056
1,612,136
252
38
39
23

Illinois

22,891
12,882,135
178
9
5
41

Indiana

1,196
6,626,624
169
20
15
43T

Iowa

5,917
3,090,416
191
34
30
38

Kansas

7,923
2,900,872
273
32
33
18

Kentucky

9,909
4,395,295
225
27
26
31

Louisiana

15,960
4,625,470
345
18
25
9

Maine

3,113
1,328,302
234
43
41
29

Maryland

8,734
5,928,814
147
28
19
50

Massachusetts

11,307
6,692,821
169
25
14
43T

Michigan

40,909
9,992,167
409
7
9
5

Minnesota

17,859
5,420,380
329
15
21
10

Mississippi

8,285
2,991,207
277
29
31
17

Missouri

14,243
6,044,151
236
21
18
28

Montana

2,338
1,015,165
230
46
44
30

Nebraska

4,601
1,854,304
248
41
38
26

Nevada

7,518
2,790,136
269
31
35
20

New Hampshire

2,594
1,323,349
196
45
42
37

New Jersey

15,290
8,899,339
172
19
11
42

New Mexico

3,793
2,085,287
182
40
36
40

New York

37,089
19,651,127
189
5
3
39

North Carolina

19,545
9,848,060
198
12
10
35T

North Dakota

1,814
723,393
251
49
48
24T

Ohio

18,983
11,570,808
164
13
7
45

Oklahoma

6,041
3,850,568
157
33
28
47T

Oregon

27,073
3,930,065
689
6
27
1

Pennsylvania

16,682
12,773,801
131
16
6
51

Rhode Island

1,579
1,051,511
150
50
43
49

South Carolina

13,853
4,774,839
290
22
24
16

South Dakota

3,230
844,877
382
42
46
7

Tennessee

20,410
6,495,978
314
11
17
12

Texas

81,235
26,448,193
307
2
2
14

Utah

7,045
2,893,957
243
30
34
27

Vermont

2,302
646,449
356
51
49
8

Virginia

20,902
8,260,405
253
10
12
22

Washington

18,712
6,971,406
268
14
13
21

West Virginia

3,698
1,868,516
198
36
37
35T

Wisconsin

23,165
5,742,713
403
8
20
6

Wyoming

3,902
592,658
670
39
51
2

Source: www.mysafelife.us/blog/2014/10/11/sex-offenders-by-state-and-rank

 



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