Senate Okays Civil Confinement Bill

James L. Seward

March 06, 2007

The New York State Senate has passed legislation (S.3318) thatprovides for the confinement of sexually violent predators at a secure treatment facility after they’ve completed their prison sentences in order to protect the public from criminals likely to commit repeated acts of sexual violence.

The bill reflects an agreement announced last week by the senate, the assembly, and the governor.

"This is a big step forward in protecting our children, making our streets safer and ensuring that no parentwill grieve the loss of a child abducted by a predator just let out of prison," Seward said.

Under the bill, a sex offender will be referred to a case review team to determine if the offender has a mental abnormality that will makehim likely to be a repeat offender. If so, the case will go to the attorney general to file a petition for confinement in the county of incarceration. If after a trial, a jury confirms the findings of the case review team, a judge will determine the most appropriate course of action, either confinement for the most dangerous offenders or a program of strict and intensive supervision for those who pose a lesser risk.

In addition, the legislation also does the following:
> Mandates treatment for all sex offenders, during incarceration and after their release;
> Increases periods of parole supervision for sex offenders;
> Establishes a new crime of "sexually motivated felony"; and
> Creates a new Office of Sex Offender Management in the State Division of Criminal Justice Services to develop comprehensive policies and standards for the evaluation, treatment, and management of sex offenders.