Desperate Situation of Voter Education Highlighted

The passage of Proposition 83 is disappointing but not surprising given the fearful rhetoric and dramatic spending by proponents. What remains to be seen is whether or not California’s voters will get what they think they voted for.

Californians thought they were voting to restrict the residences of all 104,000 registered sex offenders in our state – Proponents of the measure now say the proposition will only apply to future sex offenders.

Californians thought they were putting active GPS supervision on all sex offenders – Proponents of the measure now say that GPS will only be active during parole and will then become passive when offenders end supervision. The cost of passive supervision will be born by local governments and localities.

Californians thought all sex offenders, including those that might be potentially displaced by residency restrictions, would be subject to being supervised by GPS. Proponents are now saying that only offenders currently on parole and being released in the future will be tracked.

Contrary to its marketing, and consistent with experience in other states, implementation of this initiative is likely to decrease public safety in a number of ways: 
  • Those sex offenders forced to move to rural areas will arrive in locales lacking resources for their appropriate supervision
  • Remaining sex offenders who elect not to comply with new restrictions will simply stop registering
  • Because GPS is prospective, it will not be placed on the majority of sex offenders who move to rural areas
  • Significant swaths of California—particularly rural California—are insufficiently equipped to utilize GPS and will therefore find themselves unaware of the location of their new-resident sex offenders

Regardless of CALCASA’s opposition to the initiative, our mission remains unchanged: to ensure ongoing advocacy on behalf of victims and survivors of sexual violence. CALCASA will continue to be a California voice urging support for victim services as well as evidence based sex offender management.

California voters made one thing very clear on Election Day, that they are passionate about ending sexual violence and serving victims. Voters’ support for an initiative named after a victim suggests that the state has an overwhelming obligation to begin to serve victims. Proposition 83 will cost at minimum, hundreds of millions of dollars annually but not one dollar will be allotted to victims or victim services. The state’s current general fund contribution to victims amounts to only $1.90 /victim/year. Voters’ mandate that the state address support for victims is strongly supported by CALCASA and will be a priority for the coming legislative session.