Over the last few years my Assembly Minority colleagues and I have worked hand in hand with the state Senate and Governor Pataki to create civil confinement legislation designed to keep the most dangerous sexual predators off our streets after their prison terms have expired.
As a father of five and your Assembly Representative I am advocating for this legislation because itís designed to keep our loved ones and our community safe. Thus, it has wide bi-partisan support in both houses of the legislature. Unfortunately, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has blocked this meaningful legislation from coming to the Assembly floor for a vote.
I am confident that if this matter is allowed to come to the Assembly floor for a vote, this bill would overwhelmingly pass. In the past, the Assembly Minority has voted favorably on this issue.
Governor Pataki by-passed the Speakerís refusal to let this bill come to the floor for a vote by using state law relating to involuntary commitments of the mentally ill to keep some of the worst sex offenders incarcerated past their release dates. As of last year, the Governor has civilly confined 112 sexual predators using this method, keeping them off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, last week the stateís highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that the state was wrongfully keeping sexual predators locked up without prior court hearings for each case. Fortunately, for our local communities the court did not release these predators immediately, but ordered the offenders be given hearings to determine whether they should be confined or released.
In order to guarantee that the 112 sexual predators currently under civil confinement remain there, and make certain that future level three sexual predators never roam our streets again, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver must end the political gridlock and allow this bill to come to the floor for a vote.
To achieve this end, the governor has called a special session for December 13th.
I applaud the Governorís action and look forward to voting in support of a civil confinement bill that will put the worst sexual predators, those branded as level three sex offenders, in secure locations and/or mental hospitals for the remainder of their lives.
Civil confinement legislation for the worst sex offenders is critical because the recidivism rate for those who perpetrate these horrendous crimes is too high for them to be released back into our society after their jail sentence is completed.
During this yearís legislative session, the Assembly Minority conference made great strides in keeping New York state the safest big state in the nation. My colleagues and I led the fight to increase penalties for those who injure or kill police officers, expanded the DNA database to include all felonies and certain misdemeanors and eliminated the statute of limitations for rape.
I am hopeful that during the December 13th special session, we will be successful in our attempts to safeguard our communities by receiving legislative approval for the issue of civil confinement.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the civil confinement issue, please feel free to contact my office at: (585) 225-4190.