Oaks: Civil Confinement Passed After Nearly 14 Years Of Fighting For It

March 6, 2007

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R,C-Macedon) today announced that after 14 years of the Assembly minority fighting for action, essential civil confinement legislation finally passed in the state Assembly.

“Today is a significant day not only for the state Legislature but also for the residents of my district and all New Yorkers who voiced their strong desire for a safer state through the civil confinement of violent sex offenders in our state,” said Oaks. “The Assembly minority conference has pushed to establish a strong civil confinement bill for more than fourteen years and it has also been one of my top priorities. I am very pleased this legislation was passed today.”

The civil confinement legislation does the following:

  • Keeps dangerous sex offenders off the streets after they’re released from prison, and away from children, and in secure facilities where they can receive intensive mental health treatment;
  • Establishes 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;
  • Gives judges the option of imposing intensive supervision as an alternative to confining offenders in a secure mental facility;
  • Creates screening panels, composed of mental health officials, which determine whether a released prisoner is a candidate for civil confinement;
  • Includes stiffer penalties for sex offenders and broadens the category of sexual offense to include crimes motivated by sexual violence; and
  • Mandates determinate (fixed) sentencing for sex offenders.

Oaks notes that 16 other states currently have laws authorizing the confinement of sex offenders.

The Assembly minority first introduced civil confinement legislation (A.5515) on March 2, 1993, only to see the measure blocked from a vote year after year in the majority-controlled Assembly. A similar measure passed the state Senate ten times by near unanimous votes.

“During my years of service in the legislature, there has been no other issue or piece of legislation for which I have received more mail or supportive responses from my constituents than the civil confinement of violent sex offenders,” said Oaks.

“The dangerous sex offenders, who are deemed highly likely to recommit a sex crime, should remain in a secure facility beyond their prison terms.”

“With the passage of this legislation, our state will be safer as many sexual predators will no longer be free to roam our streets, free to harm our children and families,” concluded Oaks.