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FACTS ABOUT JESSICA’S LAW AND SEX OFFENDERS
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The California Coalition on Sexual Offending’s (CCOSO) core purpose is to Stop Sexual Abuse by supporting, educating and training professionals and the community. In February 2006, the Board of Directors voted to oppose proposition 83 the Jessica’s Law initiative. The Board found two fatal flaws in this initiative:

  • The 2000 foot residency requirement
  • The use of GPS (Global Positioning System) on Non-Predatory Offenders
These flaws would ultimately impact our communities negatively, making children less safe from potential child molesters.

Politicians worried about appearing “soft on crime” are not providing the public with meaningful solid information.  They know that laws similar to the proposed "Jessica’s Law" Initiative here in California have already been tried in other states and been found to have serious unintended consequences. 

The media, playing to and creating public apprehension about sex offenders sensationalizes stranger danger” rather than informing the public about the realities of rape and child sexual abuse.

To fulfill CCOSO’s mission, we offer the following links to help educate everyone in the public and the media about the real facts about sexual offenders.  These include the fatal flaws in this initiative which we are certain will be counter productive to community safety in the future.

Questions About Any Issues Discussed on this Page?

 CCOSO’s position opposing proposition  83

 Written in February 2006, CCOSO took a position that the proposed Jessica’s Law legislation had inherent flaws that need to be addressed before finalizing the content and implementation of the initiative.


Learn More About Sex Offenders

A 2000 overview from the Center for Sex Offender Management that debunks 11 common myths about sex offenders and victims.  Also includes statistics and profiles of adult and juvenile offenders.  This brief was supported by a grant from the Office of Justice Programs, written predominantly by Rob Freeman-Longo.

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers’ 2001 concise overview summarizing general characteristics and statistics of sex offenders and victims,  risk assessment, treatment effectiveness, recidivism rates, sex offender typologies, cost of treatment, community notification and residence restrictions. Emphasizes need for effective public policy, education, treatment and prevention of sexual abuse.

On August 15, 2006, the High Risk Sex Offender Task Force, created by Governor Arnold Schwar­zenegger through Executive Order S-08-06, submitted its report of ten recommendations to the Secretary of CDCR, the Governor, and the Legislature to improve CDCR policies related to the placement of high risk sex offenders  in local communities. The Governor issued a second order expanding the Task Force  to submit new recommendations on improvements in the notification, placement, and monitoring of sexually violent predators (SVP). This report is a comprehensive discussion of SVP issues, and the 26 Task Force recommenda­tions.


General Information About Jessica’s Law


Opposition to Jessica’s Law

  • CALCASA Opposition to Jessica’s Law 

    Strong argument against Prop. 83 from the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. CALCASA posits Jessica’s Law will provide a false sense of security at best, encouraging sex offenders to circumvent residency restrictions, and hampering law enforcement and sexual assault prevention.

  • Sebastopol City Council Resolution

A November 2006 brief statement from the City Council of Sebastopol that declares the City’s opposition to Proposition 83, “Jessica’s Law.” The City states that it would support reasoned and appropriate legislation for community safety, and cites nine failings of Proposition 83 to that end.


Newspaper Articles

April 2006, Union Tribune  (San Diego) newspaper mentions residency restrictions may have turned some supporters of Jessica’s Law against the measure because it will burden less populated areas with unintended consequences.

Christian Science Monitor article gathers information from state and national studies to take an overview of progress of sex offender legislation in many locations.  It mentions specific instances of outgrowth of restrictions including response from private business.

San Francisco Chronicle January 2006 editorial contrasts concerns about implementation of Jessica’s Law with public statements by the sponsors of the law Senator George and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner.

February 2006 article in the Los Angeles Times reports a bitter deadlock by California legislature on proposed Jessica’s Law.  Republicans’ attempts to pass a law similar to Florida’s could be a boon to the GOP.  Gov. Schwarzenegger claims insinuates Democrats do not care about public safety as much as Republicans. Article cites statistics on sex crimes’ decline.

  • Article from Metrowest Daily News (Massachusetts Newspaper), by Jennifer Kavanaugh

    A July 2006 Massachusetts Daily News article debates effectiveness of residency restrictions. Forensic psychologist and Board of Sex Offender Registry rep point out that even murderers do not have the kinds of restrictions sex offenders face, and that there is no proof that public notification has increased children’s safety or reduced recidivism rates.


Residency Restriction

Report to Florida legislature by Asst. Professor of Human Studies at Lynn University in FL.  Debunks the three most common myths regarding sex offenders:  1) all sex offenders reoffend; 2) treatment does not work; and 3) the concept of stranger danger.  

Temporary Restraining order issued by a Northern California judge restraining application of the just passed Prop 83 ("Jessica’s Law") in regard to residency restrictions.


Buffer Zone Maps     

The 2000 foot residency restriction in Proposition 83-Jessica’s Law, will force registered sex offenders to move from urban centers to rural areas. These maps, produced by the Senate office of Demographics, show the exclusion zones (in red) where registrants will be prohibited from living. Please be aware that the data used to create the maps is about 3 years old. There may be more parks, magnet and charter schools etc. Furthermore, The maps do not include day care centers (the initiative does not include them as schools) nor are all private and church schools included.

It is unclear who will bear the cost for creating maps on the local level.

Released in January 2006, the association states the 2000 foot restriction did not provide the protection that was intended and recommends replacing it with other measures.

Article explaining that the result of the effort to track sexual predators produced the unintended consequences that have complicated the problem rather than solved it.

The number of sex offenders prevented from living in Des Moines by the residency restriction placed a financial and monitoring burden on nearby Polk county.

Explanation of background on situation in Polk County, Iowa and assessment of results including increased financial responsibility and increased numbers of registered sex offenders living there creating the need for more community and police service.

December 2005 article in the Des Moines Register reporting results of the State’s 2,000-foot restriction of registered sex offenders.  This has caused increase in sex offenders’ failure to register and homelessness for many of them.

January 2006 article in the Des Moines Register, updating the 2,000-foot law.  Cites law as a failure, giving a false sense of security at best. Calls for alternatives.

March 2006 article in The New York Times on failure of Iowa’s 2000-foot safety restriction.  Three times as many sex offenders are missing since the law was instated, while homelessness and transience of many more are rising.

December 2005 article in Des Moines Register regarding ineffectiveness of the 2,000-foot “safety” law.   State poll shows 22% of adults feel the law has made the state a lot safer for children; 30% say Iowa has been made a little safer for kids; 43% feel the law has made no difference in public safety with 5% undecided.

Des Moines Register November 2005 editorial states legislators there ignore the dire results of residency restriction legislation because they do not want to appear soft on crime for politial expediency.

Concord, NH Monitor editorial points out results of Iowa’s residency restriction laws and warns that proposed legislation may have the same results.  It also compares and contrasts similar sex offender populations in the two states for validity.


GPS

A concise article published in ATSA’s Summer 2006 newsletter, covering costs,  effectiveness, and flaws in politicians’ unreasonable (though well intentioned) expectations of sex re-offense prevention through GPS.

Large-scale 2006 study from Florida State University that founds substantial reduction in technical violations and reoffense with GPS monitoring.

Executive Summary from UC Irvine on San Diego Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation’s pilot program for monitoring 80 sex offenders before including GPS throughout the State. 


GPS For Sex Offenders Has Problems

June 2006 APB from KATU.com in Portland to track parolee who removed GPS device,

February 2006 radio show debating political vs. practical aspects of proposed mandated use of GPS for all released sex offenders for 90 days post-release. Includes photo of ankle monitor.

Article in the Madison, Wisconsin Capitol Times argues that politicians are wasting money on GPS, posturing sex offenders as “bogeymen.”  The real danger to children is 90% of the time in the home by a known and trusted person.



Sex Offender Registration

October 2006 graph shows total number of sex offender registrants in each of the 57 counties in California.

  • Economic Aspects of Megan’s Law

    University of Michigan Law and Economics workshop discussing information about the effect of law to assist in protecting the public and how the laws have evolved into punitive measures.

In 2004, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy evaluated effectiveness of sex offender sentencing.  It found nearly that 20% of those required to register, failed to do so, and this percentage is steadily rising since the requirement’s inception in 1990.  This study found that those sex offenders who are convicted of failure to register have a 50% higher recidivism rate than those who register.


Sex Offender Recidivism

A multivariate analysis that examines the clinical and policy implications of the interrelationship between treatment and recidivism.  This study compares two groups: sex offenders treated with a cognitive-behavioral program at a secure facility, and an untreated correctional sample.  The successfully treated offenders were significantly less likely to reoffend.

A longitudinal study covering 351 sex offenders from 1974 to 1999, published in 2004.   Supports assertion that long-term follow-up studies reflect higher recidivism rates than short-term studies.  Three-fifths of the sample reoffended. Concludes that, regardless of time incarcerated, sex offense recidivism remains a problem for decades.

The Center for Sex Offender Management presented in its May 2001 publication an overview of current statistics from various meta-analyses on recidivism rates for sex offenders. It also encourages treatment through a combination of cognitive-behavioral, psycho-educational, and pharmacological approaches to continue a decline in repeat offenses.  This document calls for more research, particularly in the area of juvenile offenders, more distinctions between classifications of offenders, and more longitudinal studies.

This meta-analysis released in 2000 corroborates existing literature’s psychometric measures for employment (history, status at intake, needs at discharge, academic/vocational, school achievement, school maladjustment, and financial) as a valid predictor of recidivism, vs. social class, personal distress and personality.  Non-rewarding work, poor job motivation, and financial struggle correlate higher recidivism rates. 

A comprehensive presentation released in 2003 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Department.  Tracks the rates of recidivism, rearrest, reconviction and reimprisonment of the 9,691 sex offenders released from prison in 15 states in 1994 for three year post-release.

An argument published in 1996 in Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, (6, 349-359  Whurr Publishers Ltd. Pages 349 – 357) for a more phenomenological approach vs. actuarial in risk assessment.  For clinical purposes and treatment needs, we need a more complete understanding of how high-risk variables actually drive behavior.

A 2000 study designed to examine and compare two groups of offenders for a period of 4.3 years: those registered on the State Sex Offender Registry and those sex offenders who were convicted pre-Registry.  Findings were not statistically significant, however, the rates were lower for parolees and for felons, as opposed to probationers and misdemeanors.


Sexually Violent Predators

Brief statement about probable legal and treatment repercussions which may occur with the passage of California Jessica’s Law initiative from treatment, legal and financial standpoints.

Legal files of 120 sex offenders in civil commitment were analyzed for specific data in 14 categories.  Comparisons were made within this group and against similar date from another state.

Decline in sexual abuse

A 2001 report from Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, which reflects a 31% decrease in child sexual abuse, and a 37% decrease in substantiated cases from the early 1990’s to late 1990’s. This trend could be the result of a decrease in the actual incidence of child sexual abuse, a change in reporting behavior, changes in attitudes, public policy, standards, and program changes within Child Protective Services across the nation.