Corrections officials say three-quarters of California's paroled sex offenders who were previously banned from living near where children congregate no longer face housing restrictions.

The dramatic drop comes after the state changed its policy in response to a court ruling that said the prohibition only applies to child molesters.

The rate is far higher than officials initially predicted. They expected half of the 5,900 parolees would no longer be restricted on where they can live.

But data compiled by corrections officials for The Associated Press shows that 76 percent of offenders no longer are subject to the voter-approved restrictions.

Even some whose offenses involved children no longer face the residency restriction. However, their whereabouts are monitored with tracking devices, and they must tell law enforcement agencies where they live.