Klein Civil Commitment Hearing Held

Jeffrey D. Klein

July 26, 2005

: “I am calling on Speaker Silver to have the Assembly return in special session to pass this important legislation to prevent future horrific incidents like this from happening in the future.” Russo-Carriero’s son Jonathan also urged legislators to return to Albany to pass the bill saying, “If this had been law two months ago, my mother would still be with us today.”

Under these laws, already in effect in 16 other states and the District of Columbia, courts are able to order the most dangerous repeat sex offenders to enter secure mental health facilities after they have completed their prison sentences. Such determinations, aimed at better protecting the public from offenders who are considered most likely to commit repeated acts of sexual violence, are made following a comprehensive evaluation of the offenders’ mental health conditions and criminal records. Civil commitment also provides an opportunity for these offenders to receive appropriate long-term treatment and supervision in a secure setting.

Also testifying at the hearing were Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, Westchester Probation Commissioner Rocco Pozzi, Professor John Kip Cornwell of the New Jersey Institute of Law and Mental Health and other experts in the law, mental health and criminal justice fields.