Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF-East Northport) today joined his Assembly minority colleagues in launching a petition drive to demand the Assembly majority take action on civil confinement legislation.
Civil confinement allows judges to order the most dangerous sexual predators confined to secure facilities, staffed by mental health professionals, after the offenders have served their prison terms if they are deemed to still pose threats to society.
"Civil confinement would help protect women and children from dangerous sexual predators who are now released back into our communities," Raia said. "The Assembly majority must act immediately by allowing this imperative, life-saving legislation to the floor for a full vote."
The Assembly minority has been leading the fight since 1993 to enact civil confinement legislation. The state Senate has repeatedly passed a similar civil confinement bill (this year’s vote was 58-2) and the governor said he’ll sign the measure into law if it reaches his desk. Meanwhile, the Assembly majority refuses to allow the legislation to reach the Assembly floor for debate and a vote of the full house.
"In response to the incomprehensible lack of action by the Assembly majority," said Raia, "my colleagues and I are launching a statewide petition campaign aimed at rallying grass-roots support for civil confinement and other proposals aimed at cracking down on sex offenders in our community. As one of the founding members of S.A.V.E-NY – the Assembly Minority Task Force on Sex Crimes Against Child and Women – I have heard vast support for civil confinement all over the state. The time for hearings and examination is over. We must enact civil confinement immediately."
Raia said petitions will be available for constituents to sign at his district office at 75 Woodbine Ave., Northport. Individuals interesting in joining the effort by distributing the petition to other sites may contact Assemblyman Raia’s office at (631) 261-4151 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Media outlets throughout the state have been reporting about local governments taking proactive steps to protect their communities from violent sexual predators, said Raia. For example, Westchester County is using satellite tracking of sex offenders while other localities have created task forces to publicize the presence of sex offenders in the communities.
"Throughout the state, local leaders have stepped forward and taken appropriate steps to protect the public from released sex offenders," Raia said. "We must act in the best interest of our community and pass civil confinement, along with the other measures that will strengthen Megan’s Law."
Raia and his Assembly minority colleagues also are calling for measures to strengthen Megan’s Law:
- Prevent convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or school grounds (A.1654)
- Require the most dangerous sex offenders to wear electronic devices linked to Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to monitor their movements in the community (A.8158)
- Expand the information available about sex offenders on the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Web site to include information on all registered offenders (A.1701)
- Require law enforcement to release information on Level 2 and 3 sex offenders – those at highest risk of committing additional crimes – to vulnerable members of the community (A.1701)
- Require lifetime registration for all sex offenders on the state Sex Offender Registry.