Silver Succumbs to Pressure and Takes First Step to Change Sex Offender Law

December 12, 2005

After repeatedly failing to act on Assembly minority-sponsored legislation that would keep the most dangerous sex offenders behind bars, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has finally succumbed to public demand for stricter sentences for convicted sexual predators by proposing bills that include a civil confinement policy.

Sex offenders pose a serious danger to society, and they must be controlled. By passing a civil confinement law in New York State, a process would be established to review convicted sex offenders as they near the end of their prison term. The review would be completed by a panel of psychiatric professionals to determine if the offender continues to be a serious threat to recommit a sexual offense. If the offender is determined to be a high risk for re-offending, the sex offender can be civilly confined in a mental health institution after their prison sentence ends.

Residents across New York State have been signing petitions demanding the Assembly majority allow civil confinement legislation to come to the floor of the Assembly for a vote. I have been working for this initiative and recently sent a mailing to the residents of the 128th Assembly District in Wayne County, northern Cayuga County and western Oswego County. Even though it may seem that the need for the petition drive has decreased with the Assembly Speaker’s decision to support civil confinement legislation, it is crucial for us to keep up the pressure and not let this victory escape us.

This petition calls for passage of proposals to strengthen Meagan’s Law, including:

  • Civil confinement to keep the most dangerous sexual predators confined to mental-health facilities after their prison sentences are complete (A.2693)
  • Prevent convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or school grounds (A.1564)
  • Require the most dangerous offenders to wear electronic devices linked to Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to monitor their movements (A.8158)
  • Expand information available about sex offenders on the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Web site to include information on all registered sex offenders (A.1701)
  • Require law enforcement to release information on Level 2 and 3 sex offenders – those at the highest risk of repeating their crimes – to vulnerable populations in the community (A.1654)
  • Require lifetime registration for all sex offenders on the state Sex Offender Registry.

I’m urging all residents to continue filling out this petition and return it to my office by the first of the year. I will combine our area’s petitions with those from around the state and they will be given to the Assembly majority as a reminder that New Yorkers are demanding passage of civil confinement legislation.

Speaker Silver has failed to act to strengthen New York’s sex offender laws in the past, so we must continue to show our support for this legislation until the final vote is cast. My Assembly minority colleagues and I have pushed for this legislation for nearly a decade. Residents who have already filled their petitions and need more copies may contact my office at (315) 946-5166 or by e-mail at

Once passed into law, this legislation is going to save lives and make New York State a safer place to live, work and raise a family. Your support is greatly appreciated.