Editor's Note: A version of this story first appeared on PSmag.com on October 29, 2015, with the headline "California Is Re-Visiting Its Halloween-Specific Laws Against Sex Offenders." This edited version was published in our January/February 2016 print issue.
In our March/April 2015 issue, Alastair Gee wrote about Circles of Support and Accountability, an increasingly popular methodology in sex-offender management. COSA’s premise is that the best protection against sexual recidivism is welcoming offenders back into society, rather than alienating or ostracizing them. This past Halloween, for the first time in decades, sex offenders throughout California were not required to place signs on their doors notifying trick-or-treaters that their household doesn’t participate in Halloween. The signage falls under a statewide sexual abuse prevention program called Operation Boo, which had been implemented every Halloween by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 1994 to 2014. Operation Boo is currently the focus of a lawsuit filed against the CDCR by California Reform Sex Offender Laws. The organization claims the signs—which read, “We Do Not Participate in Trick or Treating”—are unconstitutional and place sex offender parolees in danger.
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