Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey (R,I,C-Peru) said today she supports legislation in Albany that could help communities like Rouses Point. “The measure that I support would help criminals get the treatment they need, while protecting North Country families,” Duprey stated.
Recently, a level 3 sex offender moved into a home in Rouses Point, located near both the local school and day care center. On February 20, there was a public hearing in Rouses Point on this very issue. In recent months there have been similar concerns in the City of Plattsburgh and Malone. Duprey said she supports New York State Senate Bill S.650. This measure allows for the civil confinement of sexually violent predators at secure treatment facilities after they have completed their prison sentence.
The bill requires those convicted of a sex crime to be fully evaluated before they are released back into the community. If these criminals are still determined to be a threat to the public, they would be held at a secure treatment facility until they are deemed safe to be released.
“Our area is home to eight major state correctional facilities, and criminals re-entering our communities are a real day-to-day concern. During the hearing, the police chief, the Village, local schools, and area families did note that closing loopholes in the current law would be a big help. I will be taking many of those ideas back to Albany,” Duprey said.
“Right now, New York’s current system is broken. Most people are not aware that many of these criminals are prone to commit these crimes again,” Duprey noted.
According to the state Senate, recidivism rates for persons who commit sexually violent offenses are extraordinarily high. Based on a report from the New York State Department of Correctional Services, from 1986 to 1995, about 49 percent of sex offenders who were released from prisons in 1986 were returned to prison for a violation of parole, or for committing a new crime.
Duprey reported that the bill she supports passed the state Senate in January. For over two years, the Assembly majority has refused to pass the bill into law. “Both houses of the state Legislature need to come to an agreement, and soon. This is not a legal issue, nor is this a political issue. This is about community safety,” Duprey said.
The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the involuntary confinement for those who are unable to control their behaviors which render them a grave risk to the health and safety of the public. At least sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing for the civil confinement of sexually violent predators when their prison terms end.
“Essentially, North Country residents are being denied the safety we deserve simply due to Albany’s political wills and personal agendas,” Duprey said.