Sex-Offender Housing Rules Relaxed in California

State will decide on a case-by-case basis if they can live near schools, parks
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2015 10:46 AM CDT
Sex-Offender Housing Rules Relaxed in California
Schoolchildren play outside a grade school, Jan. 28, 2015.   (AP Photo/Mankato Free Press, John Cross)

In an attempt to cut down on the number of transient sex offenders wandering around without a place to call home, California state prison officials announced yesterday they'd be relaxing rules that ban all registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will now review each parolee's case individually, and a spokesman for the CDCR says "high-risk" offenders who've been convicted of sexually abusing a child under the age of 14 still won't be allowed within a half-mile of any K-12 school.

California residents had voted for the "Jessica's Law" residency legislation in 2006, but the state Supreme Court ruled March 2 that the law was unconstitutional in San Diego County, the Los Angeles Times reports. While "the court’s ruling is specific to San Diego County, its rationale isn't," explains the spokesman. Those who opposed the law have pointed out that the restrictions had kept parolees from finding a place to live in urban areas, where employment and rehab services are more plentiful, per the Chronicle. The more stringent housing rules will apply while the cases of some 6,000 California sex offenders are reviewed, which should take about two months, the paper notes. (More California stories.)

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