Janice Bellucci of Reform Sex Offender Laws believes offenders should go to prison. But after they get out, she wants them to have a chance to lead stable lives.
Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
Janice Bellucci is a mother of two, the wife of a pastor and a former Girl Scout leader active in volunteer work.
She lives in a gated community an hour's drive north of Santa Barbara, with needlepoint pillows on the sofa and a vegetable garden in the backyard. She is also the public face of an organization advocating for the closest thing to an untouchable caste in our society: California's 88,000 registered sex offenders.
A former aerospace lawyer, Bellucci is the president of the California chapter of Reform Sex Offender Laws, a national group of offenders, family members, psychologists and attorneys registered as a nonprofit.
The California branch holds meetings every other month, closed to the media, to discuss offenders' rights and legal actions she is taking. Bellucci believes sex offenders should go to prison for their crimes. Her target is the crazy quilt of state and local laws regulating their conduct after they get out.
These laws bar offenders from moving near parks and schools, leaving them with comparatively few places to live. Almost all of San Francisco, and most of San Diego, is off-limits, she says. Some ordinances forbid offenders to even visit county parks and beaches.
Bellucci also wants to give some sex offenders a way off the registry. California is one of four states where sex offenders register for life, regardless of the seriousness of their crimes…(Full text at Los Angeles Times)
The draconian nature of Jessica's Law (et al.) has been a consistent topic here. In that context, it is encouraging to learn there are folks like Ms. Bellucci out there taking on such an important, unpopular, cause.
Give the excerpted article a thorough reading. She makes a sound, common sense case for imposing a bit of sound common sense into how we deal with sex offenders.
As it happens, a former parolee of mine is paroling next week for violating the new, improved 290 regulations. His initial commitment offense, rape, took place in 1978. He paroled in 1991 and discharged parole, with no violations, in 1994. I am absolutely confident in stating the man would never have gone back to prison had California's registration regulations not been changed to include vehicle registration, exit registrations etc. I am equally certain public safety was not enhanced one iota in the bargain.
The bottom line: the current laws are a setup for failure for many otherwise law abiding, low risk ex-cons. We most certainly should provide an appropriate path of review to remove such individuals from the rolls of sex offenders.
Kudos to Janice Bellucci. Reform Sex Offender Laws! -