View the article here
Sounds like California folks are finally seeing the big picture. The comments section is very good. Video is available as well.
Various sections of Jessica’s Law are being challenged in court. One of them is its retroactivity.
Can and should it apply to those who were released before it went into effect? That’s one of the issues in Ross’ case.
He was ordered to be released in March 2006 before the law was voted in November of that year. But because there was no place for him to live, he had to wait an additional year and a half at Atascadero State Hospital.
He didn’t get out until April 2007. His attorney argues that the original release order is the one that should count. Therefore, Jessica’s Law wouldn’t apply in his case.
Today, the CDC announced that 1,773 parolees must move to comply with Jessica’s Law. No one knows where they will go, yet they have to go somewhere.
On the same day, a three-judge federal panel met to consider how it will decide whether California’s prisons are so crowded that conditions violate prisons’ rights (the medical care of California’s prison population has already been taken over by a federal receiver). The relentless march of get-tough-on-crime initiatives and laws has led us to this precipice.
Will our indifference lead us over the edge? Surely, we cannot warehouse a population the size of Irvine, Calif., indefinitely.
Everyday, many—like Mr. W.—are released on parole to transition back into the community. Where will they go?
How will that be accomplished? Shouldn’t we be trying to answer these questions?
Todd W. Howeth
Sr. Deputy Public Defender
Ventura County, Calif.
Attorney for Mr. Ross W.
Jessica’s Law Proposition 83 does nothing to protect children and, in fact, displaces about one million women and children who are connected to a sex offender in California alone. People wearing GPS devices cannot get jobs, and this harms their family members who depend on them as breadwinners.
Most sex offenders did not commit a violent crime. For example, a college kid who is charged with indecent exposure is thrown in the same database classification as the most mentally ill and violent offenders.
Where we should be focusing our energy and funds, if the goal is to protect children, is on strengthening the family unit and working against substance abuse and mental illness that are often the causes of the actual crime. Sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rates of all categories of crime, less than five percent for child molestation—according to the Bureau of Justice. This is going to cost a fortune and is already putting women and children on the streets.
Reverend B. Cayenne Bird