Adopting a tiered registration policy and changing California laws is the “highest priority” of the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB), according to its newly released annual report. In order to achieve that result, CASOMB has engaged in an “evidence-based public education campaign”.
CASOMB views the current system of registering all sex offenders for a lifetime as “hugely burdensome and ineffective” and recognizes that “not all offenders are the same.” The board believes that a tiered registry would remove “sex offenders who pose a negligible to no risk of reoffending” from the state’s current lifetime registry. In addition, CASOMB has concluded that “tiering is in the public’s interest.”
The annual report also focuses upon residency restrictions, which “increase the risk of reoffending and do not make communities safer.” The board also reported that blanket residency restrictions are “counterproductive to effective sex offender management.” For those reasons, CASOMB “recommends against all current and future use of blanket residency restrictions by local jurisdictions.” The CASOMB report noted that at the time the report was written, residency restrictions in 13 cities had been challenged in court. (As of this date, residency restrictions have been challenged in a total of 21 cities.)
The annual report also focused upon a recent study by the California Department of Justice that concluded that registrants on probation “recidivate at a higher rate than those supervised by State Parole.” The report suggests that the higher recidivism rate may be due to a “lack of resources”, such as the Containment Model, for many registrants under supervision of County Probation Departments.
According to the annual report, CASOMB wants to expand its scope in order to include juvenile registrants. The report states that in 2016 there were 1,645 juveniles on the state’s registry. This number is believed to represent only a small percentage of the total number of juveniles who have sexually offended and does not include those who are under probation supervision in the communities. In order to include juvenile registrants in its purview, state legislation is required.
CASOMB’s future plans also include reviews of the state’s civil commitment process. According to the report, there are currently 910 men who have been committed to the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) due to that process. That number represents “less than 7 out of every 1,000” sex offenders reviewed by DSH. Of that total, only 48 percent of the men have met probable cause. The report also notes that the number of detained, but not committed, registrants has “increased significantly” over the past 10 years and that “it is not uncommon for the duration of detainee status to exceed 10 years.” The in-patient cost for each registrant in civil commitment is about $200,000 per year.