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Monday, May 24, 2010

Tougher sentences for molesters comes with a cost

California plans to increase the punishment for some child molesters, but the tougher sentences will come with a big price tag -- tens of millions per year, the state corrections department says. (Another estimate puts it higher, forecasting a cost of hundreds of millions annually.) Chelsea's Law -- named for a teenage girl killed by a sex offender near San Diego -- would require life sentences for some convicts and lifetime parole for others. Naturally, that means California will need more prison cells and will have to spend more on parole officers.

This is coming at a very bad time for the state, which faces a $19 billion budget deficit. Supporters note that California's budget is $100 billion, and that for the first several years, Chelsea's Law only costs a few million -- a relatively small price to pay to keep children safe, one backer tells the AP.

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