Wilk legislation requiring community tie for placement of sex offender parolees clears first hurdle

Sacramento – Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, announces Senate Bill 1199 (SB 1199) was unanimously approved Senate Committee on Public Safety. SB 1199 would require, when at all possible, that there be a family or community connection before paroling a sex offender into a community (unless that placement would violate any other law or pose a risk to the victims).

“People living in rural and affordable areas of California, like the Victor and Antelope valleys should not bear the brunt of rehousing and rehabilitating California’s sex offenders. Unfortunately many of the laws put in place to protect citizens from predators have had the unintended consequence of putting rural communities at a higher risk,” said Wilk. “This is not only dangerous for these communities, but it puts a tremendous strain on the availability of the services and supervision needed for the parolee to successfully rehabilitate.”

SB 1199  would expand current protections against the ‘dumping’ of sexually violent predators into random communities to include, when reasonably possible, taking family and community ties into consideration when determining where inmates convicted of registrable sex offenses are placed. This would apply except in cases where such placement would violate any other law or pose a risk to the victim.

Jessica’s Law prohibits sex offender parolees released from prison on or after Nov. 8, 2006 from residing within 2,000 feet of any school and park where children congregate. The unintended consequences of residence restrictions include transience, homelessness, instability, and other obstacles to community reentry that may actually compromise, rather than promote, public safety. Currently offenders are disproportionally clustered in areas with more compliant and cheaper housing. Such has been the case in affordable and rural areas around the state.

“SB 1199 will keep our communities safer and provide the newly paroled offender with the best possible chance of not re-offending,” said Wilk. “I am pleased to see this legislation continue through the legislative process.”

In addition, Senate Bill 1198 (SB 1198), a measure to improve the state’s ability to identify and manage high-risk repeat sex offenders, was also heard today and unanimously passed by the Committee. Both SB 1199 and 1198 are headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee for its consideration.

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