South Korean Cabinet Approves Bill for Designated Residences of High-Risk Sexual Offenders

Seoul, South Korea - The South Korean Cabinet has approved a significant bill that mandates high-risk sexual offenders to reside at state-designated facilities after completing their prison sentences. This legislative move comes as a response to public concerns regarding the resettlement of such offenders in local communities.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the bill aims to regulate the residency of high-risk sexual offenders, particularly those who have committed crimes against children. The legislation, which will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, was developed following strong protests from local communities against notorious child rapists moving into their neighborhoods after release from prison. The bill proposes that courts be given the authority to restrict the residential rights of these offenders, requiring them to live in facilities operated by central or regional governments or other public organizations.

The restrictions apply to sexual offenders who have victimized children under the age of 13, or those with a history of at least three sexual crimes resulting in a 10-year or heavier prison term, along with a court order to wear an electronic location tracking device. The court will also have the power to decide the duration of the residence restriction and the specific residential facilities for these offenders, based on recommendations from convict monitoring officials and reviews by prosecutors.

The bill also includes provisions for prior approval required for offenders to leave these designated places for travel or business trips lasting a day or longer. Further restrictions, such as curfews or prohibitions on entering child protection zones, may also be imposed. Initially, the government had considered a residency prohibition similar to Jessica's Law in the United States, which restricts living near schools, but altered the approach to account for varying regional public safety conditions.

As of the end of 2022, a total of 325 former sexual convicts would be subject to residential restriction review under the proposed law, with an additional 187 expected by 2025.

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