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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Making the punishment fit the crime - Ohio judge doles out unusual sentences Watch

Image of Judge Michael Cicconetti's type of justice seems to be working, as only 10 percent of those who complete the judge's unusual sentences wind up in court a second time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Making the punishment fit the crime seems to be the method behind Judge Michael Cicconetti's madness. The Ohio judge metes out unusual sentences in lieu of hefty fines and jail time. It must be working, as those sentenced to perform the unlikely, court-mandated ... continue reading


Pope Francis holds virtual audience with Americans prior to U.S. visit Watch

Image of Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience hosted by ABC News. Moderated inside the Vatican by ABC News'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking to Americans nationwide, Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience hosted by ABC News. Moderated inside the Vatican by ABC News' "World News Tonight," the segment will air this Friday, September 4, on ABC's "20/20" news program. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'It just fell out': Latest Planned Parenthood hidden-camera footage reveals a sickening lack of human values (WARNING: Graphic Video) Watch

Image of Procurement Manager, Perrin Larton

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Planned Parenthood is exposed once again in another undercover video from the Center for Medical Progress. A conversation with Dr. Katharine Sheehan, long-time medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest until 2013, Perrin Larton, the Procurement ... continue reading


MASSIVE MANHUNT for three suspects on the loose after killing an Illinois officer Watch

Image of The FBI, U.S. marshals, SWAT, ATF, K9 units and Chicago police all search for the three suspects.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

UPDATE: One of the suspects has been taken into custody Tuesday afternoon following the deadly shooting of Charles Gliniewicz.A police officer on a routine patrol was shot and killed around 8am Tuesday morning in Fox Lake, Illinois. Law enforcement officers flood the ... continue reading


Standing with God: Thousands stand up for a traditional marriage and pro-life America Watch

Image of Thousands come to the Stand with God rally outside the South Carolina statehouse lawn.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People flocked to the South Carolina statehouse lawn to advocate the defunding of Planned Parenthood and reversal of the legalization of same-sex marriages. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The pro-traditional family and pro-life demonstration in South ... continue reading


Supreme Court abandons Kim Davis, her martyrdom should come quickly Watch

Image of Until quite recently, the notion of putting a public servant into position to choose between their faith and their work has been inconceivable. Faith has always been protected but not anymore.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis had her day in court and it went badly. However, she still has her job, and she is still conducting herself with dignity despite the media circus surrounding her office. Ms. Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses to same sex ... continue reading


Mount McKinley will now be officially recognized by its original name - Denali Watch

Image of The tallest spot in the continental United States, Mount McKinley, will now be known by its original name given it by native Alaskans: Denali.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The tallest spot in the continental United States, Mount McKinley, will now be known by its original name given it by native Alaskans: Denali. The Obama administration took charge to end a lengthy disagreement by the states of Ohio and Alaska. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Undocumented immigrants denied U.S. birth certificates for children born in Texas Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amicus brief was filed Monday evening by the Mexican government over the denial of U.S. birth certificates of illegal immigrant children born in Texas. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to Fox News, denials of birth certificates were due to the ... continue reading


Are mass shootings the result of American exceptionalism? Watch

Image of Aurora theater shooting aftermath.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study shows America has the highest rate of mass shootings in the world due to the "dark side of exceptionalism." MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Adam Lankford, a criminologist at University of Alabama discovered The United States has experienced five ... continue reading


5 things to look forward to during Pope Francis' visit to the United States Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is set to visit Washington D.C, New York and Philadelphia, USA this coming September 22-27, 2015 for the World Meeting of Families. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Listed below are 5 things to look forward to during his visit:1. Focus on family ... 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, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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