Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) today announced that the New York State Senate passed legislation which would provide for the civil confinement of sexually violent predators. The legislation passed would allow for the state to confine a violent sexual predator in a secure treatment facility, away from the general public, for the purpose of continued rehabilitation after the end of their prison sentence.
"The statistics show that sex criminals are extremely likely to repeat their offenses, and we must make sure that dangerous offenders are not released back into society if they still pose a threat to others," stated Senator Fuschillo. "This legislation would protect the general public by ensuring that offenders who are likely to commit another heinous crime are not allowed to roam the streets."
Under the legislation passed by the Senate, sex offenders would be evaluated by a psychiatric examiner before they are released from prison. If they are found to pose a danger, the offender would have a hearing and a jury trial. The offender would then be sent to a secure treatment facility, away from the general public, to receive specialized rehabilitation if the jury finds them to be a sexually violent predator. These offenders would then be reevaluated periodically, and could only be released back into society after going through a hearing which finds that they are no longer a sexually violent predator.
Current New York State law allows sexually violent predators to be released into the community once their prison sentence expires, regardless of whether or not they have been screened by a professional mental health expert and without the benefit of continued treatment designed to address their unique needs.
Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have already passed laws authorizing the civil confinement 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.
The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the involuntary civil confinement of dangerous persons who are unable to control their behaviors and whose mental illnesses render them a grave risk to the health and safety of the public.
The legislation has been forwarded to the Assembly.
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