New Sex Offender Bill Introduced
September 1, 2005 8:54 PM
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is attempting to give California one of the toughest sex offender laws in the country by proposing the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act (SB 588 and AB 231).
“Today we are making it perfectly clear to all cowards who want to victimize innocent Californians,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger in a press release on Aug. 16. “We will stop you, we will catch you and we will punish you.”
The new sex offender bill would intensify the current Megan’s Law. New measures would include a life-long Global Positioning System (GPS), tracking devices for registered sex offenders, longer sentences to sex offenders who use date rape drugs and increased parole length.
If the bill is passed a number of changes will occur.
It would also mandate that the average parole for sex offenders be lengthened from three to five years to up to 10 years. Ten-year paroles are usually reserved for only the most severe sex crimes.
Possession of child pornography, currently a misdemeanor, would become a felony under the new bill.
The current law specifies that sex offenders who commit sexual assault using a date rape drug have an additional three years added to their sentence. The new law would increase that to five years.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Jeffery Snipes had contrasting reactions when he initially read the bill.
Students on campus have mixed opinions on the bill.
“It is a good and bad idea,” said Heather Schiffman, a 22-year-old broadcasting major. “It is a good idea in theory, but the likelihood of it working is slim to none.”
Some students think the bill will be beneficial.
“I think it’s a good thing for the safety of children,” said 22-year-old mother Tina Worku, a child development major.
While other students, such as 26-year-old mechanical engineering student Rob Curcio, think the bill should be rethought.
“A blanket punishment doesn’t always work for every situation,” said Curcio.
Most sex offenders must then register with their local police department every year, about five days before his or her birthday. Homeless sex offenders must register with the police department that he or she is located in every 30 days. Sex offenders who are considered sexually violent must register with their local police department every 90 days.
If sex offenders do not register, they are found in violation of their registration. The violation can count as a strike under California's "Three Strikes" law and the offender would have to return to prison.
There are 15 registered sex offenders living around campus and two of them are in violation of their registration, according to the current Megan’s Law website. Throughout San Francisco there are 584 registered sex offenders.
The Megan’s Law website let’s people know personal information like birth date, personal description and exactly where the offender lives.
According to Assemblyman Leland Yee’s, (D-San Francisco), spokesman David Burruto, the governor's recently proposed bill hasn't had any recent action in the legislator.
“The last action on the bill was the 18th (of Aug.),” said Burruto. “I don’t think any of these bills will do anything. They are essentially dead.”
If the bill is not passed through the legislature the governor has stated that he will bypass it and try to put the issue on the ballot.
For more information about sexual offenders in your area you can go to www.meganslaw.ca.gov.
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