In the wake of state Legislature passage of Megan’s Law enhancements, Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,I,C-Greece) joined Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) in calling for a joint conference committee to develop civil confinement legislation that would meet with approval from both sides of the aisle.
“Wednesday’s passage of a stronger Megan’s Law is a significant victory for our families because it further protects our children,” said Reilich. “The next logical step is to solve our state’s lack of an effective civil confinement policy. As a father and your voice in Albany, I am committed to working with all my legislative colleagues to pass civil confinement legislation that protects all of us from sexually violent criminals.”
The Assembly minority has been pushing for civil confinement for 13 years but it has been repeatedly blocked by theAssembly majority. Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have civil confinement laws, and the statutes have survived all challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Assembly majority last month revealed details of a similar policy they want to introduce, and refer to it as civil commitment.
Under the minority civil confinement bill, a person would be determined to be a “sexually violent predator” after a jury unanimously found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person committed a sexually violent offense and also suffers from a mental abnormality. The abnormality could be a congenital or acquired condition, disease or disorder that predisposes the offender to commit more sexually violent offenses. The convicted offender would be committed to a secure mental-health facility for care, treatment and control until such time the person is no longer considered a sexually violent predator.
The committed individual must be evaluated annually by psychiatric professionals who, in turn, would report their findings to responsible state officials. The officials would determine whether the offender remains a sexually violent predator and, if not, the offender could petition a judge for discharge.