After years of advocacy by the Assembly minority conference, Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) and his colleagues helped reach an agreement with Governor Spitzer today that would keep the worst sex offenders off Monroe County streets and away from children and families after they have been released from prison.
“Since 1993, the Assembly minority conference has led the campaign to pass civil confinement,” said Reilich. “While it has taken too long to reach an agreement on this key public safety measure, I am happy that it has finally come to fruition. This is a major victory for the families of Monroe County who will benefit from this legislation.”
The agreement would make New York safer by:
- Establishing a state Office of Sex Offender Management to coordinate all areas related to sex offenders and victims including post-release supervision, treatment, monitoring, risk assessment, civil commitment, community awareness and victim assistance;
- Giving judges the option of imposing intensive supervision as an alternative to confining offenders in a secure mental facility;
- Creating screening panels, which determine whether a released prisoner is a candidate for civil confinement, composed of mental health officials;
- Including stiffer penalties for sex offenders and broadening the category of sexual offense to include crimes motivated by sexual violence. For example, a person who is caught breaking into a house to rape a woman would be charged with a sexually- motivated offense even if the offender does not succeed in harming the woman; and
- Mandating determinate (fixed) sentencing for sex offenders.
New York state will now join 16 other states and the District of Columbia that currently have laws authorizing the confinement of sex offenders.
“Last year, the Assembly minority conference led the fight against crime by passing Megan’s Law, which increases the length of registration for sex offenders, eliminating the statute of limitations on rape and expanding the DNA database to include all felonies and certain misdemeanors,” added Reilich. “Today’s agreement on civil confinement is another victory in our battle to keep New York’s families safe.”