A bill from two Santa Clarita Valley legislators meant to stop the state from “dumping” sex offenders in rural communities is now headed to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.
Senate Bill 1199, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, and co-authored by Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Lancaster, was approved by the Assembly Committee on Public Safety this week.
“Current law pushes sex offenders to areas that are more rural and less expensive which leaves areas like the Antelope and Victor valleys bearing the brunt of rehousing and rehabilitating California’s sex offenders,” Wilk said. “S.B. 1199 will keep our communities safer by ensuring the placement and rehabilitation of these sexual predators does not take place solely in California’s more affordable and remote communities.”
Jessica’s Law prohibits sex offender parolees released from prison on or after Nov. 8, 2006, from residing within 2,000 feet of any school and park where children congregate. The unintended consequences of residence restrictions include transience, homelessness, instability, and other obstacles to community re-entry that may actually compromise, rather than promote, public safety.
S.B. 1199 would expand current protections against the placing of sexually violent predators into random communities to include, when reasonably possible, requiring authorities to take familial and community ties into consideration when determining where inmates convicted of sex offenses requiring registration as a sex criminal are placed upon release.
“Current law is not only dangerous for our communities, it puts a tremendous strain on the availability of services and supervision needed when offenders are clustered in more remote communities like those of the Antelope and Victor valleys,” said Wilk. “The goal is to keep registered sex-offenders from re-offending and to keep our communities safe. Our best chance at that is if they receive the appropriate services, and have the support of their families and friends by being placed in to their original home communities.”