Changes in Jessica's law result in fewer homeless sex offenders

FRESNO,Calif. (KFSN) -- Downtown Fresno used to have a tent city of convicted sex offenders. Because of Jessica's law, they were banned from living within 2,000 feet of a school, church, or park. Making most of the city off limits.

But with the residency ban in Jessica's law largely overturned by the State Supreme Court things have changed. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the biggest change is the drop in homeless sex offenders. "What we have seen is fewer transients and that means that people that perhaps were not able to live at a certain location because of the restrictions are able to live there now."

Dyer said most of the 1,700 sex offenders living in Fresno are in regular housing and are closely monitored. Dyer estimates the number of homeless sex offenders has gone from more than 200 to about 100. Those on state parole wear ankle monitors, or must check in frequently.

One convicted sex offender, who didn't want to be identified, thinks the residency restrictions should have remained in place. "I think it's a mistake that the state would let that happen. There are some people that I've met in my dealings with the prison system and parole that should be watched severely, they are dangerous and we need to protect our children."

However, so far, in Fresno the state-ordered changes are being handled. "There're mixed feelings, but according to our detectives we've not seen any impact at all other than fewer transients."

The effort now is to tailor the monitoring of each offender to the specific crime they committed, rather than just restricting where they all can live.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.