SACRAMENTO (AP) — California will alter its 8-year-old ban preventing all registered sex offenders from living near schools or parks, state officials announced Thursday, instead imposing the restriction only on pedophiles and others whose sex crimes involved children.
The state corrections department said it is changing its policy in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that found the blanket prohibition unconstitutional. The high court ruled this month that restrictions imposed by California voters in 2006 go too far to limit where sex offenders can live.
Parole agents can still force sex offenders to live more than 2,000 feet from schools and parks where children gather, as required by the ballot measure commonly known as Jessica’s Law. But they will have to make the decision for individual cases.
The March 2 ruling applied only to registered sex-offender parolees in San Diego County, but prison officials will apply the ruling statewide. Some local governments outside San Diego County also have begun repealing their local residency restrictions in response to the high court’s ruling.
It will take about 60 days for the department to review the files of about 6,000 sex offender parolees to decide if the restriction should still apply, department spokesman Luis Patino said. Existing restrictions will stay in effect until then.
About half of the sex offenders are considered child molesters, he said.
“Some people who are not pedophiles … will probably be removed from the restriction,” Patino said. “It will be tailored to people who need it the most.”
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