California Loosens Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

Key provisions of a voter-approved law restricting the residency of registered sex offenders will no longer be enforced, state officials announced Thursday.

Following an analysis of a March 2 ruling by the California Supreme Court, the California Department of Corrections said it could no longer impose blanket restrictions forbidding sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, as set forth under Jessica’s Law. While the restrictions will still apply to high-risk offenders who have committed crimes against children under the age of 14, all other cases will be assessed individually, the CDCR said.

"While the court's ruling is specific to San Diego County, its rationale is not," explained CDCR spokesman Luis Patino. "After reviewing the court's analysis, the state attorney general's office advised CDCR that applying the blanket mandatory residency restrictions of Jessica's Law would be found to be unconstitutional in every county."

Jessica’s Law was approved by 70% of voters in 2006. In addition to its residency restrictions, the law increased penalties for sex offenders and broadened the definition of certain offenses.

On March 2, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of four parolees who said the restrictions had effectively barred them from acquiring housing in any part of San Diego County. The Court struck down the provisions, calling them “harsh and severe.”

Read more about CDCR’s announcement here.