Letters to the Editor

Jessica’s Law Should Not Be Passed

Last week the New University ran a commentary article in support of Proposition 83, or Jessica’s Law (‘Jessica’s Law Needs to Be Passed,’ Oct. 23, 2006). However, this article failed to mention several key factors which should sway voters to instead vote against Jessica’s Law.

On Sept. 20, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into legislation a package of bills which arguably give California the toughest sex offender laws in the nation (not among the ‘most lenient’ as stated in last week’s article). This package of bills is nearly a carbon copy of Proposition 83. The new legislation increases the child-rape penalties to 25 years to life in prison, extends prison time for offenders charged with luring people over the Internet, allows the possession of child pornography to be classified as a felony, lengthens parole time for violent ex-felons to 10 years, requires registered sex offenders to disclose their status when applying for certain jobs, adds new crimes to the list of those whose perpetrators must register as sex offenders, increases the number of offenders listed and the amount of information divulged about these offenders on the Megan’s Law Web site and creates a new Sex Offenders Management Board to oversee sex offenders.

There are two main differences between the existing legislation and Proposition 83. First, Jessica’s Law would require sex offenders to live at least 2,000 feet away from schools and parks where children ‘regularly gather.’ The existing legislation does not impose such living restrictions. However, it does ban sex offenders from loitering around schools and parks, a far more effective means of keeping children safe.

The 2,000-foot residency restriction of Proposition 83 is a useless step in the fight to protect children. The fact is that most children who are molested are victims of people they already know, such as teachers or family friends