A law enforcement initiative on next week’s ballot in California has raised concerns among those who reside in rural areas, reports the Associated Press. Proposition 83 would prohibit paroled sex offenders from living in many urban areas, leading to a potential exodus of offenders to less populated regions. The measure also would require lifetime satellite tracking of felony sex offenders, increase sentences and parole terms for violent and habitual sex offenders, and make more sexually violent predators eligible for indefinite commitments to state mental hospitals.
Of Proposition 83’s many provisions, the most controversial prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. That expands the distance requirements and the number of offenders affected by existing state law. Paroled sex offenders now are prohibited from living within a quarter-mile – or 1,320 feet – of a school, with a half-mile restriction for high-risk sex offenders. Law enforcement and social service workers worry that those residency requirements will make it virtually impossible for paroled sex offenders to find places to live within urban areas. Some may simply stop reporting their addresses so they won’t have to move.