Are Sex Offenders’ Rights Too Restricted?
Since 2004, convicted sex offenders have been required to register with local law enforcement under California’s Megan’s Law. This allows the public to view information about these sex offenders such as the crime of which they have been convicted and where they live. Some argue that the laws restricting the rights of these individuals make the public safer. Others would say they simply create new problems. California Penal Code Section 290.46 restricts people from using this information to harass convicted sex offenders.1 However, it still does happen.
While sex offenders who are released have technically “served their time” and paid their debt to society, their rights never seem to be fully restored. This prevents them from being allowed to seek any necessary rehabilitation in order to reintegrate back into society and become contributing, tax-paying citizens. Some states require certain sex offenders to be monitored for life with electronic bracelets. Others, such as California, even restrict where they can live.2
The attorneys at Wallin and Klarich have received numerous phone calls over the years regarding sex offenders’ rights being restricted in another way. These individuals have described being denied from entering rehab programs for other issues, such as drugs or alcohol. If you or a loved one is a registered sex offender who has been released from prison, it is important to know what your rights are. Being denied entry to rehab programs for very serious issues such as drug or alcohol addiction is not a part of California law. With over 30 years of experience helping those accused of sexual offenses, the attorneys at Wallin and Klarich can help you through this difficult situation.
The Adam Walsh Act of 2006
Passed in 2006 by President George W. Bush, the Adam Walsh Act requires all states to perform certain procedures when managing registered sex offenders. These include:
- Classifying registered sex offenders with a 3-level tier system based on the offense;
- Making kidnapping a child a sexual offense;
- Requiring registered sex offenders to report where they live, work, and attend school;
- Requiring sex offenders to verify their address regularly;
- Making registered sex offenders report their entire criminal history to law enforcement agencies; and
- Providing funds to support enforcing these procedures.3
The Adam Walsh Act’s purpose is to protect the public from registered sex offenders, and keep them from repeating their offenses. It also serves to keep the public informed on their whereabouts.
California’s Stand on Sex Offender Laws
Despite Federal enactment of the Adam Walsh Act, many states have opted to not comply with this act, including the state of California. Thus, California continues to follow Megan’s Law guidelines. This means that those convicted in Federal Court must abide by the laws set by the Adam Walsh Act, while those convicted in State Court must follow Megan’s Law guidelines. Megan’s Law is California’s main set of guidelines for the treatment of sex offenders released from prison. It requires them to register with local law enforcement agencies. It also makes information about their whereabouts and criminal history available to the public online.
Under Megan’s Law, convicted sex offenders must update their information on a yearly basis. If you move, you must update this information with law enforcement within five days. This information is updated in the United States Department of Justice website on a daily basis.4
Passed in 1996, this law governs sex offender registration and supplies the community with information on local offenders. Unfortunately community notification has its consequences. These include community members reacting in fear. Some rehab clinics may also be fearful of allowing sex offenders into their programs because of how it may make other patients feel.
Currently, there is no law that denies sex offenders the right to receive treatment for other issues such as drug or alcohol addiction. In fact, many offenders are required to undergo alcohol or drug dependency treatment as a part of their sentences.5 Therefore, this becomes a major conflict as some rehabilitation programs are fearful of allowing sex offenders into their programs.
What Does This Mean For Registered Sex Offenders Seeking Rehab?
While Megan’s Law and the Adam Walsh Act have provided meaningful legal change and peace of mind for many worried parents, they have also created more fear in a lot of ways. This fear has been counterproductive to getting sex offenders integrated back into society. Some Southern California rehab centers that do admit sex offenders are:
- Whiteside Manor (Riverside, CA)
- Hope By The Sea (San Juan Capistrano)
- Promises Treatment Centers (Malibu, CA and West Los Angeles, CA)
- Mission Pacific Coast Recovery (Laguna Beach, CA and Mission Viejo, CA)
- SOBA Recovery Center (Malibu, CA)
Should rehabilitation centers for drugs, alcohol, and other addictions be allowed to deny registered sex offenders treatment? Please let Wallin and Klarich hear your opinion.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is a registered sex offender or is facing sex offense charges that may result in required sex offender registration, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in protecting the rights of convicted sex offenders in California.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [ http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/homepage.aspx?lang=ENGLISH]↩
2. [ http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/02/20/too-many-restrictions-on-sex-offenders-or-too-few/panic-leads-to-bad-policy-on-sex-offenders]↩
3. [ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820068/]↩
4. [ http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/registration/law.aspx?lang=ENGLISH]↩
5. [ http://www.doc.wa.gov/community/sexoffenders/rulesincommunity.asp]↩