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San Francisco Chronicle | March 25, 2016
Calls for limiting sex-offender registry will be tough to act on
By Melody Gutierrez
SACRAMENTO — The board that oversees the state’s sex-offender laws has a seemingly unconventional public safety pitch: Californians would be safer if the sex-offender registry were pared down.
The California Sex Offender Management Board wants to eliminate lifetime registration requirements for some sex offenders. It’s proposing that lower-risk sex offenders be removed from the registry 10 to 20 years after their crimes to make the list more relevant and focused on higher-risk offenders. That way, law enforcement and the public can better differentiate between offenders who pose the greatest risks and those not likely to re-offend.
But the board needs a change in law to do this, and the idea is opposed by some crime victim groups. It’s also not an easy feat to find an elected official to carry a bill that eases restrictions on sex offenders. The board, headed by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, has recommended paring down the list for the past eight years, to no avail. In the coming months, it will launch an outreach campaign in hopes of calming public fears about the proposal, then look for a lawmaker willing to author a bill next year.
When facts aren't facts: A look at the effectiveness of sexual offender registries
Excerpts: Rydberg said registration laws have been found not to significantly reduce sex crimes, and have made it more difficult for offenders to acclimate back into society, which in turn makes it more likely that they will end up in prison for a non-sexual offense.
Patrick Crawley, executive director and counsel for the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee, said the assertion that outlined the state’s need for the law likely came from evidence presented during a committee hearing, but that he was unable to find any supporting data that was used.