LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — California cities and counties are grappling with residency rules involving paroled sex offenders.
The reconsideration was promoted when the California Supreme Court struck down a blanket ban known as Jessica’s Law last month that kept registered sex offenders from living near schools or parks.
In response, California prison officials on Tuesday issued a new policy tossing the ban and requiring parole agents to determine individual residency restrictions for each of the 6,000 offenders that are monitored.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said the ban on living near parks and schools will still apply to offenders classified as a high risk to offend again.
There were 1,448 transient sex offender parolees statewide as of Feb. 28, about half of whom are considered to be child molesters, according to the department. In Los Angeles County, there are 167 transient sex offenders, while there is 79 in Orange County, 57 in Riverside County, 51 in San Bernardino County and 37 in Ventura County.
Janice Bellucci, a lawyer for sex offenders, said the new guidelines are being unevenly applied throughout the state. Bellucci said she is also concerned that too many of sex offenders are labeled high risk and remain subject to the prohibition.
Bellucci and others say the residency restrictions force many sex offenders into homelessness.
Several cities and counties have repealed restrictions since the state Supreme Court ruling in March. Others say they will continue to enforce the rules.
At least two state lawmakers said they plan to introduce legislation imposing new restrictions.
State Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, said she is alarmed by the correction department’s new policy and is working to form a group of lawmakers to support legislation to clarify any confusion caused by the high court decision.
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