Senate Must Provide Answers for Why They Won’t Negotiate Civil Confinement

June 14, 2006

To the Editor:

Earlier in this legislative session, the Assembly and Senate passed similar legislation providing for the civil confinement of sexual predators. Because the two bills weren’t identical, a conference committee was formed to iron out the differences.

When budget negotiations began to heat up, the conference committee was suspended until the passage of the spending plan. But the budget passed two months ago and the Senate is refusing to reconvene the joint conference committee so that the two houses can come together in a public forum to get a law on the books to civilly confine sexual deviants.

The obvious question is “why is the Senate Majority stalling on this critical issue?” I fear the answer is the Senate Majority wants to cynically use this issue as a political football in the upcoming fall elections. If there’s another reason, it hasn’t been made public yet. This is not an issue to play political games with. The safety and well-being of our children are at stake.

The Assembly’s Child Safety and Sexual Predator Punishment and Confinement Strategy is the most comprehensive plan released so far. It provides for longer sentences for the worst sex crimes, civil confinement for dangerous predators after they complete their prison terms, mandatory treatment for offenders, and better services for victims. As a former police officer, I’m confident the Assembly’s strategy would help make our families much safer.

This is not a partisan issue and should not be made into one. The public deserves a response from their state legislators and the time is now. I strongly urge the Senate to join the Assembly in reconvening the conference committee so that a comprehensive plan to civilly confine dangerous sexual predators can be devised.

Philip Ramos
Member of Assembly