Law was Designed to Overflow Prisons Unconstitutional Law Will Harm More Children than it Protects
Judge slaps restraining order and blocks deceitful bill
Long before the elections, I spoke of Conservative politicians posturing "tough on crime" and using fear tactics to get votes. One of the worst applications of this tactic was the writing of and campaigning for the initiative patterned after other "Jessica's Laws." State Senator George Runner and his wife, Senator Sharon Runner, Republicans - Lancaster (Los Angeles County) wrote the initiative and it was placed on the November 7 ballot as Proposition 83, in spite of these facts:
• It duplicated provisions of recently passed Senate Bill 1128.
• It contained false statistics on recidivism rates of sex offenders. Child molesters have less than 5% recidivism rates according to the Bureau of Justice, the lowest of all categories of crime.
• No place on the actual ballot did it mention "GPS devices for life" or any details about what would be required to enforce such a broad and redundant Proposition.
• Its language was vague on whether it could be enforced retroactively on sex offenders who have served their time, have completed their parole terms and now have homes, families, and jobs.
• It was deceitfully touted as a law targeting child molesters while in reality its vague language didn't clearly differentiate between most sex offenders and those at highest risk of repeating their crimes. This means that the law could be used to track all 90,000 sex offenders in the state -- even those convicted of less-threatening crimes like indecent exposure, urinating outside, streaking, and a myriad of other minor crimes that fall under the PC 290 law.
• It did not take into account how it would be implemented or who would foot the bill.
• Its writers and supporters ignored the widely publicized accounts by Iowa state officials of not only the dismal the failure of their Jessica's law to protect children, but worse it caused Iowa law enforcement to lose track of 50 percent of the state's sex offenders.
Proposition 83 prohibits all – minor and major -sexual offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks or playgrounds; increases sentencing and parole terms; and monitors their whereabouts of for life using satellite tracked, GPS ankle bracelets. Its proponents publicized it as being targeted to child kidnappers, rapists, and murders, but in reality it targets all child molesters (90 percent of which are known and trusted by their victims) and most sex offenders.
As the first person to oppose Jessica's law in print, I published two columns in January and February 2006 that exposed Proposition 83 as purely political and, though costing the state millions per year in resources, would do nothing to reduce the incidence of child molestation. UNION members mobilized on many fronts for months to educate the public about the deceit behind this initiative, the unconstitutionality of its being enforced retroactively (ex post facto) and on broad categories of sex offenses
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B. Cayenne Bird is a 45-year veteran op-ed journalist and publisher. A descendant of Mary Todd Lincoln, and General Andrew Porter, she is passionate about human rights and criminal justice issues. A mother and grandmother with advanced degrees in Journalism, Liberal Studies, and Humanities (Cultural Anthropology) she has focused on prison reform making great strides in Calif. supporting the landmark Plata-Coleman case for a decade which resulted in major prison reform. She writes scholarly articles too but prefers op-eds.