At first sight when I read the headline in this mornings Pasadena Star News my parent hat was on and thought bravo keep the child sex offenders at bay. Then I got to thinking, do we have a civil liberty issue at hand? What’s to stop them from crossing the city limit anyway?
Monrovia joined the ranks of several other cities in the area that place significant restrictions on where a registered sex offender, on parole or not, can reside or even congregate within the city limits. Only 2% of the city residential housing stock is now available to these folks. 2%.
The law enacted is based on the Prop 83 Jessica’s Law that was passed a few years ago. LA County was the first to enact similar restrictions that apply to the unincorporated areas of the county. Challenges to similar restrictions have stood the test of law.
Here’s where my libertarian streak rears its head. If the laws say these guys served their time for the crime and are free to go why are they being restricted so much more differently than other criminals once released? I mean a petty thief released can go free to live and congregate once his time and parole is served yet these folks are treated differently. I understand the chances of recidivism is high among the offenders, but the code as passed doesn’t allow for shades of gray.
I’m not advocating those sex offenders for violent crime or involving children get a break. But what about the non-violent ones. As an example, a guy at a party misreads a girls intentions and plants a kiss on her only to get slapped, then a police report charging him with sexual battery lands him on the offender list? Or the couple that have consensual sex only to find out one of the partners lied their age and it becomes a sex with a minor charge landing them on the list? Shades of gray.
Aside from the liberties issue of residing where you wish after you’ve served your time there is another concern. Isn’t this classic NIMBY and just shoving the problem to another city to deal with? The article points out that an opinion is held that it is the states duty to relocate them when released from prison, really?
What say you?