Update: SB 1198 failed to progress in the 2017-2018 regular session. It will be reintroduced under a new bill number in the 2019-2020 regular session.
More often than not, laws targeted at sex offending are misfocused and ineffective, serving little purpose other than to satisfy the public’s desire to express their revulsion at the act of sexual offending. So it is gratifying that California is among those states taking a different and more evidence-based approach, aligned with the approach that Prostasia also promotes.
California Bill SB 1198, titled “Sex offenders: Risk Assessment Research,” will expand the state’s evidence-based approach to risk assessment for sexual offenders to include juveniles. This is important because of the uncomfortable truth that about a third of all sexual offending against children is committed by those who are minors themselves—mostly adolescent boys.
The bill will also add two members who have experience with juveniles to the state’s Sex Offender Management Board. It also adds a requirement to “sponsor research specific to California sex offenders relating to recidivism and desistance from offending,” acknowledging “that only a small percentage of sexual offenders will reoffend. Identifying that group is vital to the public interest.”
This sensible bill is a step in the right direction, which should serve as a model for other states. Prostasia supports Cal SB 1198, and we encourage you to express your support for it too. If you are a California resident, you can do this by writing to your representatives using the form below, encouraging them to vote in support of this Bill.