CA Penal Code Section 290.03


The Legislature finds and declares that a comprehensive system of risk assessment, supervision, monitoring and containment for registered sex offenders residing in California communities is necessary to enhance public safety and reduce the risk of recidivism posed by these offenders. The Legislature further affirms and incorporates the following findings and declarations, previously reflected in its enactment of “Megan’s Law”:


Sex offenders pose a potentially high risk of committing further sex offenses after release from incarceration or commitment, and the protection of the public from reoffending by these offenders is a paramount public interest.


It is a compelling and necessary public interest that the public have information concerning persons convicted of offenses involving unlawful sexual behavior collected pursuant to Sections 290 and 290.4 to allow members of the public to adequately protect themselves and their children from these persons.


Persons convicted of these offenses involving unlawful sexual behavior have a reduced expectation of privacy because of the public’s interest in public safety.


In balancing the offenders’ due process and other rights against the interests of public security, the Legislature finds that releasing information about sex offenders under the circumstances specified in the Sex Offender Punishment, Control, and Containment Act of 2006 will further the primary government interest of protecting vulnerable populations from potential harm.


The registration of sex offenders, the public release of specified information about certain sex offenders pursuant to Sections 290 and 290.4, and public notice of the presence of certain high risk sex offenders in communities will further the governmental interests of public safety and public scrutiny of the criminal and mental health systems that deal with these offenders.


To protect the safety and general welfare of the people of this state, it is necessary to provide for continued registration of sex offenders, for the public release of specified information regarding certain more serious sex offenders, and for community notification regarding high risk sex offenders who are about to be released from custody or who already reside in communities in this state. This policy of authorizing the release of necessary and relevant information about serious and high risk sex offenders to members of the general public is a means of assuring public protection and shall not be construed as punitive.


The Legislature also declares, however, that in making information available about certain sex offenders to the public, it does not intend that the information be used to inflict retribution or additional punishment on any person convicted of a sex offense. While the Legislature is aware of the possibility of misuse, it finds that the dangers to the public of nondisclosure far outweigh the risk of possible misuse of the information. The Legislature is further aware of studies in Oregon and Washington indicating that community notification laws and public release of similar information in those states have resulted in little criminal misuse of the information and that the enhancement to public safety has been significant.


In enacting the Sex Offender Punishment, Control, and Containment Act of 2006, the Legislature hereby creates a standardized, statewide system to identify, assess, monitor and contain known sex offenders for the purpose of reducing the risk of recidivism posed by these offenders, thereby protecting victims and potential victims from future harm.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 290.03’s source at ca​.gov