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Sex Offenders Difficult to Track under Jessica's Law

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By Kamika Dunlap on May 14, 2010 12:50 PM

The job of tracking California's sexually violent predators is no easy feat. In fact, many argue that Jessica's Law has made it all the more difficult for state parole investigators.

The law requires sex offenders to return to the county where they were convicted. In addition, Jessica's Law mandates they cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school, park or playground, which has made tracking sex offenders a daunting task for parole investigators because such sex offenders are more likely to become homeless, reports KTVU.

For example, in tightly populated San Francisco County, Jessica's Law has significantly limited housing options for sex offender parolees.

As previously discussed, the strict residency restrictions have caused more issues than they have solved. Many sex offenders cannot find housing in urban areas across the state and often are forced into homelessness.

The California Sex Offender Management Board is an independent state advisory panel made up of prosecutors, police, and community experts who have been looking at the challenges around Jessica's Law.

The residency restrictions make it especially difficult to track registered sex offenders who declare themselves transients.

The board agrees that it has not only become harder to track paroled sex offenders, but has made it difficult for them to transition back into society. As a result, they are pushing to get Jessica's Law amended.

The California Supreme Court is questioning the legality of Jessica's Law and whether sex predators should be treated differently from other violent offenders, as previously discussed.

With an estimated 66,000 paroled sex offenders and another 20,000 awaiting release from California prisons, San Francisco's problem is only a small part of California's problem. And that problem is bound to get worse in the months and years to come.

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