Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/1/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

School shooting in Washington state leaves 2 dead, five injured Watch

Image of Kids and parents react to news of the shooting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A shooting has occurred at a school in Washington, in which authorities believe a bullied student shot and killed another. The shooter is also believed to be dead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A school shooting has taken place at Marysville-Pilchuck High School ... continue reading


Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


Rest in Peace, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete: Communion and Liberation Priest Enters Eternal Encounter Watch

Image of Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete was a leader in the ecclesial movement called Communion and Liberation. He was also a gifted writer, known for his naturally supernatural holiness of life. Those whom he touched are a living testimony to a life - and a priesthood - which was well lived. In encountering him, they encountered Jesus Christ. That experience is the very heart of the Gospel, the meaning of the Christian claim. It is the key to understanding the Church. It is the spirituality of Communion and Liberation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

As we pause to honor Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Communion and Liberation Priest, may our prayers accompany him, lighting his passage into the eternal encounter with the Lord whom he loves. Let us also ask for his prayers - and follow his example. Let us decide to ... continue reading


How far will it spread? A New York doctor has tested positive for Ebola Watch

Image of 33-year-old Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, had recently returned to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Guinea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A New York doctor who had recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for Ebola, the fourth person diagnosed with the disease in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Craig Spencer worked for Doctors Without Borders where he was treating ... continue reading


Same-sex couples line up to be wed in Wyoming Watch

Image of After the state formally dropped its defense of a law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Jennifer Mumaugh says that attitudes across the state have shifted in recent years to be more open to gay couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Same-sex couples began lining up around the block in Wyoming for marriage licenses this week. U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, appointed by President Barack Obama struck down the state's gay marriage ban last week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Will they riot after this? Autopsy, analysis shows officer Wilson was telling the truth Watch

Image of New analysis and witness reports suggest that officer Darren Wilson was being attacked by Michael Brown and shot him in self defense.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New evidence from Ferguson Missouri seems to vindicate the testimony of officer Darren Wilson, showing that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown may not be as cut and dry as many of the protestors in the area believe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to ... continue reading


Is this a sign of things to come? 2014 midterm most expensive on record Watch

Image of Early voting has already started in several states including Kansas and Illinois.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Well underway, the 2014 midterms are set to be the most expensive midterms ever, according to projections that the Center for Responsive Politics released on October 22. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While heavily overshadowed by global affairs like the ... continue reading


ACTIVE SHOOTER - Kids, teachers, community terrorized by admin, police at Thompson Jr. HS in Bakersfield in the name of safety? Watch

Image of Terrorization in the name of safety is still terror.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest school shooting did not make the national news yesterday because allegedly it was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against kids and a working-class community in the name of safety. For about 30 minutes on Tuesday, students, faculty, and their parents ... continue reading


Catholic school forbids Hollywood lesbian drama from shooting on location Watch

Image of In the scene to be filmed at the school, Moore's character, a New Jersey police detective with terminal cancer, applies for a domestic partnership with her partner, played by Page in order to pass on her pension legally after her death.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While actresses Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are big names in filmland, their largesse didn't get them past the authorities at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York. The catholic school has declined their request to use their location for a ... continue reading


On the Feast of St. John Paul II, His Prophetic Warning to the U.S. Requires a Response Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier standing under the beautiful bronze statue of John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In an address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spoke some words which I believe were prophetic. - We are now standing in the face ... 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 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... 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