Fullerton City Council votes to enforce Jessica’s Law

In News

A law enabling police to fine, prosecute and jail sex offenders who reside within 2,000 ft. of a school or park was voted in unanimously by the Fullerton City Council Tuesday.

Prior to this it was illegal under Jessica’s Law for sex offenders to live in these areas but police were unable to act when infractions occurred.

“We did a lot of research and the conclusion was that the law had no teeth,” Fullerton Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said. “If you were in violation we could wag our finger at you, but nothing else.”

The law was prompted by a public complaint made by the Levinson family of Fullerton – who reside near Laguna Lake Park. According the Orange County Register, Eric Hinnenkamp, a registered sex offender, inherited his parent’s home near the park and there was fear he might move in.

“Experience has shown the recidivism rate of sex offenders is significant,” Goodrich said. “Anything we can do to prevent (sex offenders) from having access to children is a plus.”

Goodrich added that although this is a huge step, parents should still be “vigilant” and watch their kids because there are still a lot of sex offenders that have not been caught.

Jessica’s Law was enacted by California voters in 2006. According to a Los Angeles Times article, the law, officially called Proposition 83, “increased penalties for repeat sex offenders, prohibited them from living near schools and parks, and changed the law to permit their indefinite confinement to mental institutions, instead of two years with the possibility of extensions.”

Goodrich stated that although no ramifications for violating Proposition 83 were included in the initial act – a clause in the proposition enabled cities to set punishments for violators.

“I’m relieved, (sexual violence is) always something, as a girl, we worry about,” said Alexandra Schnack, a master’s student in counseling. “Maybe it will help people feel better about going to night classes.”

Other students echoed Schnack’s statement and agreed that the new law will make Fullerton a safer place.

“If the law isn’t enforced it’s like the law doesn’t exist,” said Jamel Shamiyeh, a sociology student. “It will make things safer. People who have violated the law in the past might do so again if they have not been rehabilitated.”

The law will take effect in a month and will subject violators to a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

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  • Sex Offender Issues

    “Experience has shown the recidivism rate of sex offenders is significant,”

    Really? Experience and facts do not equal the same, and I have the facts, which show that sex offenders have the lowest recidivism of any other criminal, except murderers.

    If you care to know the facts, and not “experience” or someones “assumption” then visit our blog here, where we have a ton of studies to prove what we are saying:

    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/p/recidivism-studies.html

  • Sean Viele

    What about Julian Collender? There was a city council meeting in Yorba Linda on Tuesday that the Daily Titan should have covered, but you didn’t. Jules would have been a student at this school this semester and nobody knows the injustice which was inflicted on him and his family. HE WAS MURDERED BY THE BREA POLICE!!! Don’t act like this didn’t happen daily titan staff. Write about it and let this injustice be heard by the people who would have been his fellow students, had he not been murdered by this corrupt department. JUSTICE FOR JULIAN!!! PRINT IT!

  • Letsgetreal

    “Experience has shown the recidivism rate of sex offenders is significant,” Goodrich said.

    This is another fear mongering Law.

    What I like about this study is, it proves what experts and studies have proven all along. That is, The VAST majority of a repeat (first time)sex offender is very low and the vast majority is within the First 3 years. After that it drops off in a HUGE way. In other words, “The longer an individual remains free of another sex offense, the less chance that he/she has of re-offending.

    States and the Federal government need to re-evaluate their draconian attitude!

    RECIDIVISM OF PAROLED SEX OFFENDERS – A TEN (10) YEAR STUDY
    Here are the highlights of Recidivism.

    California Sex Offender Management Board (www.CASOMB.org June 2008

    The following figures on a ten-year California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) follow-up study of the recidivism of 3,577
    individuals convicted of a sex offense who were released from CDCR prisons in 1997 and followed until the end of 2007

    The bottom line with this study is:

    CUMULATIVE TOTAL OF ALL WHO HAD BEEN RETURNED TO
    CUSTODY UNTIL 2007- A 10 YEAR PERIOD
    3.21% were returned to custody with a new sex crime by the end of third year.

    3.21 re-offended and the remaining seven years produced the remaining 0.17%

    AFTER
    PERCENT
    INCREASE
    YEAR 1 79 2.21% 2.21%
    YEAR 2 26 0.73% 2.94%
    YEAR 3 10 0.27% 3.21%
    YEAR 5 3 0.09% 3.30%
    YEAR 10 3 0.08% 3.38%
    TOTAL 121 3.38% 3.38%

  • common sense

    Voluminous academic research suggests that the many state laws like Jessica’s Law are actually likely to make the problem worse. No one who reads “When Evidence Is Ignored: Residential Restrictions For Sex Offenders” will think highly of the politicians and district attorneys who touted Jessica’s Law so avidly in 2006. The study – co-authored by Richard Tewskbury, a University of Louisville professor who edits the journal Justice Quarterly and who is one of the leading U.S. experts on sex offender policy – matter of factly tears apart the pols’ and DAs’ arguments.
    It shows how these policies make it more difficult for offenders to find housing, get jobs, receive support from family members – essentially, to develop a stable life that would lower the risk of recidivism.
    Residence restrictions, which lead to instability, transience and hopelessness, contradict decades of criminological research identifying factors associated with successful offender re-integration. Sex offenders and other offenders with positive support systems are less likely to re-offend and violate probation than those who lack support. Stable employment and relationships make it less likely that offenders reentering the community will resume a life of crime.
    Conversely, lifestyle instability and negative moods are associated with increased sexual recidivism. Social stigma and economic hardships resulting from conviction can preclude involvement in pro-social roles and activities, including employment, education, parenting and property ownership. Social and economic marginalization is especially pronounced for registered sex offenders who are publicly identified. Desistance from crime, however, is facilitated by reinforcing the offender’s identity as a conforming and invested citizen, not by preventing the ability to meet basic needs.
    Now I’m sure some will dismiss this as academic mumbo-jumbo that is sympathetic to sex offenders; a lot of people will like the idea that the law makes offenders’ lives much more difficult.
    But if the goal is …
    1) reducing sex crimes;
    2) getting the most bang for our buck with law enforcement funding; and
    3) not creating a bogus sense of security with deeply flawed laws
    … we should take this sort of research seriously.
    Instead, I fear we’ll see more grandstanding – because no news event more lends itself to grandstanding than appalling crimes.

  • common sense

    Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Research Finds Limited Effects in New Jersey
    National Institute of Justice

    Researchers analyzed and compared data from before and after enactment of Megan’s Law in New Jersey. They found that:
    Sex offense rates in New Jersey have been on a consistent downward trend since 1985. During this period, rearrests for all violent crime (whether sex crimes or not) also decreased. When the researchers examined the decline in each county and then examined the state as a whole, the resulting statistical analysis showed that the greatest rate of decline for sex offending occurred before 1994 (i.e., before the passage and implementation of Megan’s Law) and the least rate of decline occurred after 1995.
    Passage of Megan’s Law did not reduce the number of rearrests for sex offenses, nor did it have any demonstrable effect on the time between when sex offenders were released from prison and the time they were rearrested for any new offense, such as a drug, theft or sex offense.
    The majority of sex offenders sentenced in New Jersey are convicted of child molestation and incest. In more than half of the cases, the victim and offender know each other. Megan’s Law did not have an effect on this pattern: The bulk of offenses and reoffenses committed both before and after the law remained child molestation and incest.
    Megan’s Law had no demonstrable effect on the number of victims involved in sexual offenses, i.e., the data show no reduction in the number of victims.
    Sex offenders convicted both before and after Megan’s Law serve approximately the same amount of time. Sex offenders convicted after Megan’s Law received shorter sentences than those convicted before the law. Sentences were nearly twice as long before the law was passed. But after the law was passed, fewer sexual offenders were paroled largely because of changes in sentencing guidelines.
    The researchers estimated the cost of implementing the law. Estimates show that New Jersey spent $555,565 to implement the law in 1995. In 2006, the estimated cost of implementing the law was approximately $3.9 million based on data received from 15 of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Researchers studying the impact of registration and notification laws in other states have found similar results.

    American Psychological Association
    Does a watched pot boil? A time-series analysis of New York State’s sex offender registration and notification law.
    Sandler, Jeffrey C.; Freeman, Naomi J.; Socia, Kelly M.
    Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Vol 14(4), Nov 2008, 284-302

    Despite the fact that the federal and many state governments have enacted registration and community notification laws as a means to better protect communities from sexual offending, limited empirical research has been conducted to examine the impact of such legislation on public safety. Therefore, utilizing time-series analyses, this study examined differences in sexual offense arrest rates before and after the enactment of New York State’s Sex Offender Registration Act. Results provide no support for the effectiveness of registration and community notification laws in reducing sexual offending by: (a) rapists, (b) child molesters, (c) sexual recidivists, or (d) first-time sex offenders. Analyses also showed that over 95% of all

  • Shelomith Stow

    I sincerely wish that Officer Goodrich had elaborated a bit on his statement that the recidivism rate for sex offenders is “significant.” I find it difficult to place much credence in his saying he did a lot of research because every bit of research I have looked at, and the amount has been large and the sources have been reputable, says exactly the opposite.

    “Recently the Bureau of Justice Statistics published a study which tracked 9,700 sex offenders for three years, 2001-2004. Their findings concluded: Only 5.3% of these people imprisoned for sex crimes were rearrested for a subsequent sex offense.”

    Research would also have shown him that the action his town has taken is worthless and will accomplish nothing positive.

    “A January 2007 resolution passed by the American Correctional Association declares, ‘There is no evidence to support the efficacy of broadly applied residential restrictions on sex offenders.’ ”

    I suggest that this town, the next time some law or restriction is in the offing, make sure that someone really does the research instead of just saying he did.

  • GoFullerton

    Go Fullerton! I wish more cities in California would add teeth to this law.

  • matthewhobbs444

    If one is to make an accuraate statement, then they need to do a LITTLE research. Their are many sites that are available to one who wishes to become informed, instead of just putting something out there, as Goodrich did. The problem with Jessica Law is that it is not effective. Restrictions on where one lives has nothing to do with if one reoffends. The only thing these laws accomplish is that they provide people with a false sense of security. They do nothing to protect our children, and set up a fragile set of society for failure. The greatest threat sits down to dinner with us every night, or visits on a Sunday, and we trust family members to babysit, we visit out of state relatives, our trusted neighbors, school teachers, leaders of groups, ect. I know this to be true. My children and grandchildren were molested by relatives. You REALLY DO NOT KNOW, you think you do but you don’t. You think you have warned your child, thus protecting them but you haven’t. Instead time, energy, and money are wasted on a group of people that are no longer a danger to anyone.

  • Letsgetreal

    Ten Myths About Sex Offenders – http://t.co/EL7syOL

    In recent years social scientists and criminologists have combed through an immense accumulation of data from hundreds of studies, which have tracked tens of thousands of individual sex offenders for long periods of time, some even for decades.

    By 1994, 670 studies of sex offenders had been done and by the end of 2005 well over 700. Many of these studies have been systematized through a methodology called meta-analysis. The resulting data reveal that many common myths about sex offenders are simply false. We outline here some of them.
    http://t.co/EL7syOL

  • Valigator

    Another forum where the above posters (sex offenders) gravitate to pursuade the unsuspecting public, sex offenders arent really bad guys, they are just over-prosecuted and mis-understood???Right?
    Hate to break it to your above stat guy, but guys who prey on childen under 12 have a 35% rate of re-offending which increases the longer they remain on the “outside” Housing, residency restrictions and oversight have nothing to do with it. Its because they cant see any further than their own desire to “get off” and will take any opportunity that presents itself. Dont fall for the above crap by sex offenders posing as regular citizens, they do this all day long. These guys will tear your or your children’s world apart given the chance and “brag about it later” Letsgetreal loves to throw out outdated stats and want YOU to fall for them. Make no mistake, guys are re-offending at all time highs, and for more severe crimes, dont take my word for it, READ THE DAILY PAPERS

  • Valigator

    Another forum where the above posters (sex offenders) gravitate to pursuade the unsuspecting public, sex offenders arent really bad guys, they are just over-prosecuted and mis-understood???Right?
    Hate to break it to your above stat guy, but guys who prey on childen under 12 have a 35% rate of re-offending which increases the longer they remain on the “outside” Housing, residency restrictions and oversight have nothing to do with it. Its because they cant see any further than their own desire to “get off” and will take any opportunity that presents itself. Dont fall for the above crap by sex offenders posing as regular citizens, they do this all day long. These guys will tear your or your children’s world apart given the chance and “brag about it later” Letsgetreal loves to throw out outdated stats and want YOU to fall for them. Make no mistake, guys are re-offending at all time highs, and for more severe crimes, dont take my word for it, READ THE DAILY PAPERS

  • www.dailytitan.com

    Fullerton city council votes to enforce jessica E2 80 99s law.. Nifty 🙂