Upon release from state custody, Ross Wollschlager began an intensive search for a home, one that abided by the restrictions imposed on convicted sex offenders in California — and, in various versions, by about 30 other states. Obliged by law to return to Ventura County, the convicted rapist was forbidden to sleep within 2,000 feet of a school or a park.
He ended up in a tent on the dry bed of the Ventura River.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 27, 2008; Page A03
Strict new laws aimed at keeping track of sex offenders after they leave prison appear to be having the opposite effect, encouraging homelessness in a population believed more likely to re-offend if cast into the streets without structure or family support, say prosecutors, police, parole officials and experts on managing sex offenders.
The issue is starkest in California, where the number of sex crime parolees registering as transient has jumped more than 800 percent since Proposition 83 was passed in November 2006. The “Jessica’s Law” initiative imposed strict residency rules and called for all offenders to wear Global Positioning System bracelets for the rest of their lives.