Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,I,C-Greece) today expressed his discontent with a civil confinement bill proposed by Speaker Sheldon Silver and his Assembly majority members on Monday. Reilich and his Assembly minority colleagues are critical of the bill because civil confinement wouldn’t apply to thousands of sexual deviants currently serving prison sentences and the standards necessary to commit sexual predators are unnecessarily high.
“Our bill covers all of the bases,” stated Reilich. “The one submitted by Speaker Silver would not do anything to prevent currently incarcerated criminals from striking again.”
The Assembly majority, joined by some minority conference members, passed Silver’s version of the civil confinement bill on Monday afternoon. A different, stricter civil confinement measure has been passed by the state Senate, and that legislation has the backing of Assembly minority members.
The Assembly minority has tried to pass a civil confinement bill for 13 years, and the majority has successfully stopped the measure from gaining the floor to be put to a vote, Reilich noted.
Members of the Assembly minority conference, in turn, are calling for establishment of a joint conference committee to discuss the differing bills and reach an agreement on a bipartisan civil confinement policy. A similar approach met with success less than two weeks ago when both sides overcame a stalemate to vote on and approve a stronger Megan’s Law.
“Gov. George Pataki on Monday proposed Jessica’s Law,” added Reilich. “I commend the idea and truly believe that anyone who kidnaps and harms a child should be put away for life. It has been shown that sexually violent predators are incredibly difficult to reform, so why take the chance?”
A study by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services showed that, of 5,200 Level 3 sex offenders, 572 soon returned to prison on other sex offense convictions.
“We were successful in passing an effective Megan’s Law extension,” continued Reilich. “Now, we just need to come to an agreement on civil confinement. Sexual crimes are incredibly heinous acts and we cannot allow these criminals to continue their sordid ways.”