It’s refreshing when an elected politician speaks the truth, especially when they don’t mean to.
There was a segment on McNeil Lehrer this evening titled “Housing Sex Offenders,” which chronicled the very real problems with various versions of Jessica’s Law that have sprung up around the country.
The name “Jessica’s Law” started in Florida, based on the name of a victim, but is now the de facto name given by the media to various and sundry laws dealing with sex offenders.
The report focused on California sex offender residency restrictions. California’s fairly new law prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of parks, playgrounds, schools, etc. Sounds like a great idea but problems in this regard have been well documented.
PBS showed a map of Los Angeles with all the prohibited living places in red. At first, it’s easy to tell that literally almost every place in Los Angeles is covered; and then the announcer let’s us know that the places that are ‘OK’ are almost all business and commercial.
The point of this is not to make folks’ hearts bleed for sex offenders. But let’s acknowledge what the real point of these laws is. Or better yet, let’s hear from San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who when asked by the reporter the perfunctory ‘where are they supposed to go?’ replied:
The real intent of Jessica’s Law is to put people that violate children and others in prison and keep them there.
Bravo! We’ve convicted and sentenced the offender, but he’s served his time and now we want to put him back before he reoffends. The constitution prohibits us from going back and adding time to his sentence, so…
Let’s make it literally impossible for him to live anywhere legally. Then we charge him with that violation, and the problem is solved.
For anyone out there that reads this, and is nodding their head, “Yes, that makes perfect sense”… I’m not sure any amount of logic or reason will convince them of the underlying fundamental unfairness of such a system.
On an off note, for the few of you have inquired as to whether I have retired from blogging, apparently the answer is ‘No, it was just a vacation (from blogging only) and I’m back’.