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Senate To Act On Bill To Keep Sexual Predators Off The Streets

 

“It is very important that we act to protect the public by enacting this bill. Other states have enacted civil commitment laws to protect the public from sexually violent predators and to provide treatment to this dangerous group of offenders,” said Senator Morahan.

State. Under our existing laws, sexually violent predators are released into the community without the benefit of treatment designed to address their unique needs. No provision exists to protect the public from sexually violent predators.

The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the involuntary civil commitment of dangerous persons who are unable to control their behaviors and whose mental illnesses render them a grave risk to the public health and safety.

Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have passed laws authorizing the civil commitment of sexually violent predators at the expiration of their criminal sentences: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Recidivism rates for persons who commit sexually violent offenses are extraordinarily high. According to a recent report from the New York State Department of Correctional Services, for the period from 1986 through 1995, approximately 49 percent of sex offenders who were released from New York prisons in 1986 were returned to prison for a violation of parole or for committing a new crime.

Some of these sexually violent predators have mental abnormalities that make them even more likely to continue committing acts of sexual violence. The existing programs in state correctional facilities are insufficient to address this problem. As a result, these predators are eventually released into the community without the benefit of treatment or care designed to address their unique treatment needs. The Senate bill provides for such treatment at secure facilities and simultaneously extends greater protection to the public by establishing procedures to civilly commit persons who have committed acts of sexual violence and are likely to commit more sex crimes. ####