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Statement in opposition to Proposition 83

Carleen R. Arlidge, President of California Attorneys For Criminal Justice, 

February 14, 2006,

This proposition is another Jessica's Law style violent sex offender law. 

On < > is a longer statement from their website. There are some people who are sane and have balls to stand up against the hysteria. Unfortunately, the measure is expected to pass. But implementation and revisions will be the next battle. 

Proposition 83 would cost taxpayers an estimated $500 million but will not increase our children's safety. Instead, by diluting law enforcement resources, the initiative would actually reduce most children's security while increasing the danger for those most at risk. 


The initiative proposes to "monitor" every registered sex offender, on the misguided theory that each is likely to re-offend against "strangers". But law enforcement experience shows that when sex registrants re-offend, their targets are usually members of their own household. 

This Proposition would do nothing to safeguard children in their own homes, even though they are most at risk.


The Proposition would not focus on the real problem dangerous sex offenders but would instead waste limited resources tracking persons who pose no risk. 

The new law would create an expensive tracking system for thousands of registrants who were convicted of minor, non-violent offenses, perhaps years or decades ago. 

Law enforcement's resources should be directed toward high risk individuals living in our neighborhoods. Proposition 83 would have other dangerous, unintended consequences. The Proposition's monitoring provisions would be least effective against those posing the greatest danger. Obviously, dangerous offenders would be the least likely to comply, so the proposed law would push the more serious offenders underground, where they would be less effectively monitored by police. In addition, by prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park or school, the initiative would force many offenders from urban to rural areas with smaller police forces. 

A high concentration of sex offenders in rural neighborhoods will not serve public safety. 

Prosecutors in the State of Iowa know from sad experience that this type of residency restriction does not work. In 2001, Iowa adopted a similar law, but now the association of county prosecutors that once advocated for that law now say that it 

"does not provide the protection that was originally intended and that the cost of enforcing the requirement and unintended effects on families of offenders warrant replacing the restriction with more effective protective measures." 

A summary of the Iowa prosecutors' findings 

This shows why the Iowa law was a disaster and why Proposition 83 must be rejected: 

Residency restrictions do not reduce sex offenses against children or improve children's safety.
Residency restrictions will not be effective against 80 to 90% of sex crimes against children, because those crimes are committed by a relative or acquaintance of the child.
Residency restrictions cause sex registrants to disappear from the registration system, harming the interest of public safety.
Enforcing the residency restrictions is expensive and ineffective. 
The law also caused unwarranted disruption to the innocent families of ex-offenders.

For all of these reasons, vote "No" on Proposition 83!

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