Lancaster, California, 70 miles north of Los Angeles, is considering a proposal to bar parolees and probationers from a 20-block area to help control crime, the Los Angeles Times reports. The plan, under review by the city attorney, will be considered by the City Council next month. If approved, the program would be implemented in August.
Signs posted around the neighborhood would tell parolees and probationers to keep out. They also would be barred from renting or owning property there. Violators would receive a warning on the first offense and face arrest on the second.
If successful, the so-called Lancaster Community Appreciation Project could be replicated in other drug- and crime-plagued neighborhoods. “It’s a very novel idea,” said Anne Aldrich, a spokeswoman for the city. “But the solutions in these neighborhoods require very open-minded thinking.”
The American Civil Liberties Union believes the strategy is unconstitutional. Ben Wizner of the ACLU of Southern California, said it appeared to violate the 1st Amendment right to association and a court-established right to travel.