A new law passed in Orange County represents a “new frontier” in sex offender supervision, according to the LA Times: the new law bans registered sex offenders from entering designated spaces, under the threat of a $500 fine or six months in jail.
Up until recently, states were rapidly passing laws restricting the housing options for those convicted of sex crimes. But that practice has slowed as of late, as some states have begun repealing their sex offender restrictions, saying they don’t prevent crimes and are burdensome to enforce.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas would apparently disagree:
Rackauckas and other supporters said the idea was to keep sex offenders away from children and families. “Parks do not belong to sexual deviants,” Rackauckas said in a statement. “Parks belong to children who want to play there and parents who want to enjoy nature with their children.”
Critics, however, see the law as politics rather than sound policy:
Franklin Zimring, a UC Berkeley law professor, said the law was overly broad and misdirected because more than 90% of sex crimes targeting children are committed not by strangers in a park but by family members or acquaintances.
“It’s trying to solve a problem nobody knows exists,” he said, adding that laws imposing restrictions on sex offenders were snowballing because they were politically popular.
The law would be the first of its kind in California. Meanwhile, further to the south in San Diego, a judge recently ruled that portions of Jessica’s Law–which says that a registered sex offender can’t live within 2,000 feet of school or park–are unconstitutional because they’re overly broad.