October 6, 2010

Police: Spike in homeless sex offenders in LA

Homeless number skyrocket, and somehow, this makes society SAFER? Talk about warped thinking!
10-6-2010 California:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Increasing numbers of registered sex offenders are ending up homeless in Los Angeles as neighboring communities comply with Jessica's Law, a police official said Tuesday.

Detective Diane Webb told members of the Los Angeles Police Commission there are 576 homeless registered sex offenders living in the city, up from 191 in 2007 — the year California implemented Jessica's Law.

The law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other places where children congregate.

The restrictions mean it is sometimes tough for offenders to find housing that complies with the law. Smaller cities, especially, have struggled to find suitable housing.

In San Francisco, for instance, almost the entire city is off-limits to registered sex offenders, Webb said.

Additionally, some cities have passed extra laws further limiting where offenders can live.

Los Angeles' large land mass means more houses here are compliant with Jessica's Law, especially in the industrial area near the harbor, which has seen registered sex offenders fill entire apartment buildings.

State funding for parolees to live in these units is available only for 60 days after the parolee's release. When it runs out, Webb said some offenders end up on nearby streets, an unintended consequence of Jessica's Law.

Though police are concerned the high homeless rate among registered sex offenders could result in a greater rate of recidivism, there is no evidence to show that has happened yet.

"If you are living under a bridge somewhere, you are not living near your family support system," Webb said. "You are more unstable."

Since Jessica's Law was implemented, the number of homeless registered sex offenders in all of California has increased from 2,049 to 5,064.

Part of the increase is due to the nature of the sex-offender registry. Once placed on it, most people remain on listed for life.

A publicly available database provides information on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders, a requirement of a different law. ..Source.. by THOMAS WATKINS

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