Not in my backyard


The front page of yesterday’s SJ Merc includes a great graphic showing how almost all of San Jose would be off limits to all registered sex offenders if California’s Proposition 83 is enacted by voters this November. The proposition would make it illegal for a registered sex offender to live within 2000 feet of a park or school (regardless of whether his or her crime involved children) and to wear a GPS ankle bracelet for life.

From my brief read of the law defining sexual registration (IANAL!) it looks like convicted criminals are forced to register if they’re found guilty of rape or by order of the court for any other crime if the court finds that “the person committed the offense as a result of sexual compulsion or for purposes of sexual gratification.” That’s not a sympathetic bunch of people, and though I’m disturbed by the idea of treating people as guilty of FutureCrime (punish people for what they might do in the future) I can understand the motivation. But as the Merc story points out banishing registered sex offenders from most parts of the city will just lead to more sex offenders becoming homeless, cut off from the support groups and social network that helps keep them from committing crimes again.