Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Some measures are counterproductive and are providing offenders with legal ammunition.

The City of Los Angeles is building at least three "pocket parks" to force convicted sex offenders out of their homes. City officials say sex offenders have aggregated in small pockets within the community and concerned citizens want the groups dispersed. Their efforts may bring to the fore discussion on how offenders are treated, and could ultimately prove counter-productive.

Joe Buscaino believes the parks will make his constituents neighborhood safer, but at what cost?

Joe Buscaino believes the parks will make his constituents neighborhood safer, but at what cost?

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/1/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Sex Offenders, Los Angeles, pocket parks, residency restrictions, public safety, recidivism


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It will be the smallest park in Los Angeles at just one-fifth an acre in size. Yet, it will be enough to compel as many as 86 sex offenders living in a pocket of the city in Torrance near the Harbor Gateway, to find another place to live.

The pocket park is part of a program that is designed to add green, open spaces and public amenities to several Los Angeles communities, but some are also being built for another value-added purpose.

Under state law, sex offenders are not allowed to live within 2,000 feet of a school or a park. This places all but a few slivers of residences off limits for offenders, forcing many to leave cities and relocate to rural or industrial areas.

Still, there remain a few residential pockets where offenders can legally live and by constructing a park, those pockets will now be closed by the "pocket parks."

City Councilman Joe Buscaino said, "I want to do everything in my power to keep child sex offenders away from children. We have to look at some solutions and in comes the pocket park idea."

While such measures may be popular with the community, they may actually have an adverse effect on both public safety and laws which are intended to protect children.

Despite popular opinion, sex offenders reoffend in the smallest numbers according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).  The CDCR reports that only 2 percent of sex offenders recidivate according to data from 2008. That's much lower than any type of other criminal offender in the state. This does not suggest that prison cures the problem, but more likely once a family and the community knows that an individual is dangerous, they tend to take protective measures. Also, most child sex offenses do not involve strangers, but rather family members, so knowing who they are is much more key to public safety than where they are.

Janice Bellucci, president of California Reform Sex Offender Laws told the L.A. Times, "People are running around with hysteria when they don't know the facts. I understand that sex offenders are not a popular part of society, but they have constitutional rights."

This is where the efforts to build the parks may land public officials in a tight spot. There is a growing consensus in both academic and law enforcement circles that current laws, which have a banishing effect on sex offenders, tend to make recidivism more likely and communities less safe. This is because offenders are separated from stable housing and other social support structures that are vital to rehabilitation.

These measures also provide fodder for activist lawyers to attack current laws as unjust and unconstitutional. Ultimately, if a judge can be found that sympathizes with the plight of the sex offenders then the laws which are intended to protect the community could be struck down for overreaching.

Similar challenges have been won by sex offenders in other states with regards to residency restrictions, the right to visit parks and other public places, and even the right to participate in online social networks such as Facebook. A recent California ballot initiative requiring sex offenders to register their online identities has already been suspended by a judge and will likely be overturned.

This then, makes efforts such as the pocket park in Los Angeles counter-productive. While the sex offenders may eventually leave the neighborhoods where the parks are built, they will locate elsewhere.

For now, the parks are being constructed and will provide children with a place to play and adults a spot to relax. They will also beautify the community. However, they may also provide ammunition to sex offenders and their advocates who wish to weaken existing laws, which currently place a myriad of highly debatable restrictions on them.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Learning from the Wonderful Witness of 'Doubting' Thomas Watch

Image of Thomas the doubter became the Thomas the model believer, an example for each one of us. He is a great beacon of light for all of us as we cry out with him, MY LORD AND MY GOD!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

What conclusion, dear brethren, do you come to? Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple, was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by ... continue reading


Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... continue reading


America's MOST and LEAST patriotic states in 2015 Watch

Image of Virginia [not pictured] has been named the most patriotic state.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recent American pride survey, published on June 29, 2015, revealed Virginia to be at the top of the current list of the most patriotic states in the USA. WalletHub, a consumer website, evaluated the military and civic engagement of all 50 states, included in the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:19-22
19 So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 117:1, 2
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, all nations, extol him, ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:24-29
24 Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Thomas
July 3: St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter