Senator Dale M. Volker Praises Work Being Done By Joint Conference Committee On Civil Confinement

William T. Stachowski

February 15, 2006

(ALBANY, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-C-I, Depew) today praised the work and progress taking place in the Joint Conference Committee on Civil Commitment. However, in order for us to move forward in our quest to ensure that sexual violent predators receive treatment in a secure Office of Mental Health Forensic Facility, and are kept from re-offending against our women and children, the State Senate is willing to reconvene the Joint Conference Committee on Civil Confinement in an expedited manner once the State Assembly addresses their major shortcomings in their bill. The pivotal fault lies with the ability of a convicted Sexual Violent Offender to potentially receive outpatient therapy, that would jeopardize public safety.

"The issue at this point and time is whether, under the State Assembly’s bill, a judgment that is made by a jury, that a person is deemed a Sexual Violent Offender should have the real possibility of being given outpatient treatment and released into our society; instead of being civilly committed and receive inpatient structured treatment within a Forensic Office of Mental Health facility that has been proposed by the State Senate," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "Giving Sexual Violent Offenders the opportunity to be released to the public, under a yet untested treatment modality, seems to me completely inappropriate and could put women and children as risk of being sexually abused. The State Senate is not comfortable with giving this "leap of faith" to convicted Sexual Violent Offenders and that is why we eagerly await the State Assembly’s proposed corrections to deficient portions of their bill so as to reconvene the Joint Conference Committee as soon as possible."

Additionally, and on a completely separate issue, the idea of "Intensive Supervision" after the convicted Sexual Violent Predator is deemed to be cured of his mental abnormality or defect and is a candidate for release of his Civil Commitment, is being discussed by the Joint Committee on Civil Confinement. Both the State Assembly and State Senate agree that some type of post release "Intensive Supervision" is warranted. The State Senate continues to be open to this public policy issue in a separate bill, so as not to deflect our focus and energies from the Joint Conference Committee’s directed goal of crafting a Civil Confinement Bill that specifically addresses the Civil Confinement of Sexual Violent Felons.

Senator Dale M. Volker said, "We continue to look forward to working with the State Assembly to address major defects in their legislation, so that all parties can come together in passing legislation that protects our women and children, ensures that Sexual Violent Felony offenders receive the intensive treatment they need in a secure Office of Mental Health Forensic Facility, and provides those Sexual Violent Offenders their due process rights that are constitutionally guaranteed."