In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court approved such public lists (“Megan’s Law”). The California site was authorized by legislation passed in September, 2004, which gave the state attorney general until July, 2005 to comply. Attorney General spokesperson Mariam Bedrosian said, “We hope that families will use this as a tool to protect themselves, to educate their children and to be aware of the risks that surround them.” Offenders are listed by ZIP code, city, county, name, address and proximity to elementary schools and parks. The most serious offenders can be identified by clicking on blue dots on maps, which give street addresses. [Exact addresses are only given for “top 33,500.”] Other data includes photographs, gender, age, race and physical identifiers.
A criticism of the list is that an estimated 20% have not advised authorities of changes in address. And by law, those 22,000 with the most minor offenses are not listed at all.
Source: New York Times; see: Meganslaw.ca.gov.
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login