Did California Sex Offender Laws 2017 Simplify Rules for Predators?
The California sex offender laws from 2017 were introduced to ease the lifetime registration burden on many offenders, but that was hardly a pro-move in terms of public safety. In the past year, California authorities have released several offenders early into the community despite their unresolved high-risk tag.
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For years, California had been one of the few U.S. states that registered all sex offenders for life. It didn’t matter if the underlying offense was a misdemeanor or a felony—every offender had to follow California’s registration laws for the rest of their life.
The lawmakers perceived that the state’s Sex Offender Registry was packed with thousands of sex offenders who had only committed trivial sexual offenses.
With that in mind, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the new sex offender law in 2017 to:
- Introduce a three-tiered system to classify offenders and set different registration durations for them
- Allow existing registrants to petition for removal from the Registry in an easy manner
Before the reform, the California Sex Offender Registry was overloaded with over 100,000 entries, which meant one in every 400 residents was on it! As per the latest data, the state’s Registry is a little shy of 83,000 registrants now.
The reforms in California sex offender laws from 2017 transformed the state’s sex offender monitoring structure. This table lists out the major benefits and flaws of this change:
The new tier system organizes different types of offenders as per the severity of their crime and the risk they pose to society.
Here’s a bird’s-eye view of California’s tier rules:
|Tier & Risk Associated||Offenses||Registration Rule|
|Tier 1||All misdemeanor and some non-violent felony sexual offenses||
|Tier 2||Mid-level felonies, like lewd acts and oral copulation with a minor||
|Tier 3||Serious offenses, like rape, child pornography, or any violent sexual act||
California’s sex offenders face restrictions based on both the registration laws and the state’s penal code. Depending on their crime and parole or probation terms, the registered sex offenders may live with one or more of the following limitations:
- Residential restrictions
- Ban from working in predator-free zones
- Travel and movement restrictions
- Continuous monitoring of internet and social media usage
- GPS device wearing for 24/7 mapping status
- No access to alcohol and certain drugs
- Everyday curfew
- No contact with minors
The above restrictions won’t apply to the ones who become unregistered sex offenders because of the 2017 law.
Any eligible offender who has followed all rules and restrictions and maintained a clean record throughout their registration period can terminate their registration in three ways:
- Petitioning to a county superior court
- Applying for a certificate of rehabilitation
- Submitting a removal request on California’s Sex Offender website
The offender will remain registered until the authority reviews their registration status—this process can take about 60 days or more. The final termination decision would vary on a case-to-case basis.
The California sex offender laws from 2017 are rooted in practicality, but they miss the basic essence of safety.
It gets even more distressing if you analyze the nature of the seemingly moderate-level Tier-2 offenses, which include unnerving sexual crimes towards kids. No parent feels safe having Tier-2 child molesters lurking in their neighborhood.
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- Sign in to DoNotPay and click on Sex Offender Search
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The report generated will contain mugshots, personal details, and other physical identifiers for the registered offenders within the search perimeter.
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