‘Operation Boo’ keeps paroled sex offenders in line on Halloween

COAST CITIES — Children wearing costumes weren’t the only ones knocking on doors on Halloween night. Parole agents in uniforms made special visits to the houses of sex offenders to make sure trick-or-treaters weren’t stopping by.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s “Operation Boo” is in its 18th year of enforcement, and requires that sex offenders adhere to a curfew and strict guidelines on Halloween.
If parolee sex offenders are caught breaking the special rules on Oct. 31, it’s no surprise what happens next.
“Their parole is revoked and they go back to prison,” said Cassandra Hockenson, a spokeswoman with CDCR.
The department’s system has a mission to provide public safety, and Operation Boo is in place to help ensure that families don’t come into contact with paroled sex offenders during trick-or-treating, according to CDCR.
Hockenson said the Halloween curfew is a condition of parole from the time that sex offenders are released from prison.
The curfew is from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., when it is expected for parolees to stay indoors, and other rules include a lights-off policy so it looks as if nobody is home, according to CDCR.
Parolees are also not allowed to give out candy, and Halloween decorations are banned from sex offenders’ houses.
The sex offenders on parole can only open the door to respond to law enforcement during the curfew, such as to parole officers who are working the operation.
North County’s parole division of CDCR is based out of Escondido, and details of any local arrests made on sex offenders who violated the Halloween rules are expected to be released soon, according to the CDCR.
The CDCR oversees about 10,000 sex offenders who are on parole, which only make up about 11 percent of the state’s sex offenders.
“The rest are no longer on parole,” Hockenson said.
But she said that every sex offender who is on parole is fitted and monitored with a Global Positioning System, or GPS, which detects the person’s location.
GPS monitors make it easier to track parolees because everybody is a blip on the computer, Hockenson said.
“But for the holiday, the parole agents still go around and make sure there is no light on,” Hockenson said.

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