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Proposed law could remove some from sex offender registry

A bill has passed in the California Senate that would change the laws regarding sex offender registration. As the Los Angeles Times reports, although the state is typically tough on those convicted of sex crimes, the proposed law would end lifetime registration for sex offenders. Currently, California is one of only four states that require those convicted of sex crimes to register and check in each year for the rest of their lives after leaving prison. The other states are Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. The new law would allow those convicted of lower-level crimes and those deemed not a risk for recidivism to be removed from the list 10 to 20 years after they are released from prison.

Currently, California is one of only four states that require those convicted of sex crimes to register and check in each year for the rest of their lives after leaving prison. The other states are Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. The new law would allow those convicted of lower-level crimes and those deemed not a risk for recidivism to be removed from the list 10 to 20 years after they are released from prison, so long as they have not committed another serious violent or sex crime. The current law requires sex offenders to provide a significant amount of personal information, including their address, license plate number, current employer, and photo.

Those in favor of the law say it is a burden on law enforcement to continuously process and track people who pose no real threat to the community. As the Star Advertiser explains, many academics, victim advocate groups, and law enforcement agencies support the legislation, which they say could help officers focus their efforts where they are most needed. Some critics of the bill worry that a person could be removed from the registry for technically not being accused of another crime because it can take years for a person to come forward after a sex crime is committed.

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