Senate Passes Bill to Protect Communities From Sex Offenders

Martin J. Golden

June 17, 2011

Albany- The New York State Senate, this week, passed additional restrictions for sex offenders to help protect children and families. The four bills strengthen the penalties for not registering as a sex offender or following other post-release conditions, expand the current registry to include certain criminals serving sentences after committing a sex offense as a result of mental disease or defect, and prevent sex offenders from preying upon mental health workers and patrons in library settings.

Senator Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) after voting to support these bills stated “I join with my colleagues to strengthen the regulations for sex offenders. Our children and families throughout New York State deserve the sense of security in their neighborhoods and public facilities that will be enhanced by the passage of this legislation.”

Senate Bills 1542 and 1544 would increase penalties and make it a felony for certain sex offenders who fail to register or report a change of address. Currently, sex offenders who fail to register or report address changes face only a misdemeanor for a first offense. The penalty does not reach a felony level until a second or subsequent offense. In this proposed legislation, level 3 sex offenders would be punished with a felony for a first offense and would face a higher level felony charge for subsequent offenses.

Senate Bill 2593 includes new registry requirements for certain individuals who commit a sex offense and who have entered a plea or had a verdict rendered against them of “not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect”. It also provides for the sharing of important sexual violation history to mental health staff for their protection. Lastly, the bill would require individuals being released from a mental health facility and needing to register as a sex offender to complete the registration process or else have their discharge or release from a facility postponed.

The Senate also passed bill S.3744 which restricts certain sex offenders who are released on parole from entering public, association or free libraries.

The bills will be sent to the Assembly.