Report 2007-115 Highlights - April 2008

Sex Offender Placement:

State Laws Are Not Always Clear, and No One Formally Assesses the Impact Sex Offender Placement Has on Local Communities


Our review of the placement of sex offenders in communities found that:

  • The Department of Justice's (Justice) database contained more than 59,000 registered sex offenders living in California communities. Of these, 8,000 are supervised and monitored by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Corrections) until they complete their parole.
  • State laws and regulations and departmental policies do not require that licensing departments consider the criminal background of potential clients, including registered sex offenders, that the licensed facilities plan to serve.
  • State law does not generally allow sex offenders on parole to reside with other sex offenders in a single-family dwelling that is not what it terms a "residential facility"; however, in several instances two or more sex offenders on parole were residing in the same hotel room.
  • The registered addresses in Justice's database for 49 sex offenders were the same as the official addresses of facilities licensed by the Department of Social Services that serve children.
  • Although state law does not prohibit two or more sex offenders from residing at the same "residential facility," it does not clearly define whether residential facilities include those that do not require a license, such as sober living facilities.
  • State law is also unclear whether the residence restriction applies to juvenile sex offenders; we found several instances in which Corrections placed juvenile sex offender parolees at the same location.
  • Local law enforcement agencies generally told us they have not performed formal assessments of the impact sex offenders have on their resources and communities.
  • State laws generally do not require the departments or their contractors that place registered sex offenders to consider the impact on local communities when making placement decisions.

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