Sex Offender Laws in California

  • Post last modified:July 9, 2024

Sex offender laws in California have undergone revisions in recent years to ensure they’re current with the types of sex crimes that are committed in a technology-driven society. Here’s what that means for those charged with predatory sex crimes and how a sex crimes law firm can help/

Sex Offender Management Program

The Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP) was founded in 2014 to improve the supervision methods and policies as they pertain to sex offenders. Treatment plans were enhanced as were the tools available to law enforcement and parole officers. For instance, polygraph testing is one tool that is now part of the state’s routine protection mechanisms. This has improved risk assessments used to determine how a parolee is classified. California has one of the largest global positioning systems (GPS) programs in the country. Every sex offender who has been released into society is now monitored via GPS.

Along with these new tools, there are other changes too. For instance, newer sex offender laws in California address specific types of assaults, many of which have victims’ names attached to them.

Jessica’s Law

Jessica’s Law focuses on what California calls “proximity and tracking.” Passed in late 2006, Jessica’s Law increases the penalties for sex offenders while also clarifying some sexual crimes within the legal context. It also eliminated potential “good time” credits. This means well-behaved prisoners are not rewarded with an earlier release into society. This California law also eliminates the potential for probation for certain crimes while also extending the amount of time a convicted sex offender spends on parole. Jessica’s Law also prohibits sex offender parolees released from prison after 2006 from residing within 2,000 feet of any school and park where children are found.

Megan’s Law

Megan’s Law was passed during Governor Schwarzenegger’s Administration and makes public record information about sex offenders in their communities. The Megan’s Law database now has information about every sex offender in California and the rest of the nation. For many communities, they are better able to monitor the goings-on in their communities and sometimes in their neighborhoods.

Chelsea’s Law

Another 2010 law signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Chelsea King Child Predator Prevention Act of 2010 or Chelsea’s Law. This law gets its name from the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 17-year-old girl, Chelsea King. The predator was a convicted and registered sex offender. Chelsea’s Law is what served as a catalyst for the tightened mechanisms as they pertained to offenders and also provided reinforcement for lawmakers and law enforcement agencies as outlined above.

With recidivism rates at around 13 percent for convicted sex offenders in California, it’s important to understand the context. Violent crimes, including sexual crimes, are decreasing around the country and that trend is certainly reflected in California. With California and Texas frequently mentioned as two states with harsher sex crime laws on their books, it makes sense that California’s numbers are slightly lower than the national average. Many studies have shown that rapists and other sexual criminals face many difficulties behind bars and this could play a role in recidivism rates. These types of crimes affect victims and their families for the rest of their lives, according to our criminal defense lawyers. Sex offender laws in California are designed to serve as a deterrent. If you have been charged with one of these crimes, speak to a sex crimes lawyer right away.