Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF-East Northport) today announced Assembly passage of legislation that would require the state Department of Correctional Services to notify local social service agencies of the pending release of Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from prison and into their communities.
The measure also mandates notification be provided 30 or more days before the offenders are released, and that department officials determine whether the individuals would be considered homeless upon arrival in the communities.
The legislation is sponsored in the state Senate by Sen. Owen Johnson (R,C-4th Senate District, Babylon), and is in the Senate’s Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee.
Raia noted the legislation, if passed by the Senate, would become law 60 days after the governor decides to sign it.
"This legislation would allow local social service departments and our community to be properly aware of the impending release of violent sexual predators," Raia said. "The direct notification of social service officials provided under this measure is another step in the right direction in further protecting our women and children from sexual predators."
Raia provided an example of homeless sex offenders moving into Suffolk County, citing how the Brook Motel in North Babylon has become home to numerous recently released sex offenders. The Suffolk County Department of Social Services placed the released offenders in the motel without notifying residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Under current law, correctional services officials are required to provide this information only to law enforcement agencies or legal authorities in whose jurisdictions the offenders were convicted.
"There is no reason that social services should not have this information when having to place homeless sex offenders in our community," said Raia. "After receiving numerous letters and e-mails from the community, I partnered with Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) in a bipartisan spirit to open the lines of communication among all agencies in charge of the release of sex offenders from prison," Raia said.