The Korea Herald

피터빈트

Ministry plans new law banning sex offenders from living near schools

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : Jan. 26, 2023 - 17:34

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Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon explains 'Jessica Act' during the press briefing held after the meeting with the President Yoon Suk Yeol, Government Complex-Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap) Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon explains 'Jessica Act' during the press briefing held after the meeting with the President Yoon Suk Yeol, Government Complex-Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap)

The Ministry of Justice said Thursday that it will push for legislation of a new law that prohibits sex offenders from living closely to schools and establish a unit to oversee overall immigration policies.

The so-called "Korean Jessica Act," calls for preventing high-risk sex offenders from residing within 500 meters of education facilities that involves minors -- elementary, middle, and high schools, daycare centers and kindergartens – after they are released from prison. The revised law will be submitted to the National Assembly in May, Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said after he briefed President Yoon Suk Yeol of the plan earlier in the day.

However, the target of this new law will be limited to those who have repeatedly committed crimes or committed sex crimes against children under the age of 13, in consideration of basic constitutional rights such as freedom to move one’s residence. The court will decide the specific radius of residence restriction case-by-case, within a maximum range of 500 meters.

The Jessica Act in the US was named after a young victim of sexual assault and murder, which happened in 2005 in Florida. The law is in effect in more than 30 states in the United States, and according to the law, sex offenders are not allowed to live within 610 meters on average from places where children gather, such as schools and parks. The exact range varies from state to state.