CA Panel Assails “Feel-Good” Sex-Offender Laws, Seeks Overhaul


California should rewrite its sex-offender laws so that more criminals could be sent to mental hospitals and fewer would loiter near parks and schools, says a draft report from a state panel advising the governor, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The document suggested that sex offenders' parole notes and records be retained for 75 years – not one, as the state had been doing until recently. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the panel to revisit the state's handling of sex offenders after community outrage over the slaying of Chelsea King, 17. Changes to the law about the diagnosis of mentally disordered offenders in particular “might have helped prevent the murder of Chelsea King,” the report says.

“The statute should be amended to provide for commitment, not release, when evaluators split two to two over commitment,” it says. The report includes harsh criticism for an assortment of sex-offender laws that have come to pass in California. “Many decisions seem to have been made for political reasons or what feels good at the time,” it says. “As a result, money and time have been wasted on policies and programs that do not make our communities safer, but are politically popular.” The report from the 17-member Sex Offender Management Board suggests a shift in state strategy and resources to focus on the most dangerous sex offenders, with greater restrictions and treatment

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