After Thirteen Years, Still No Civil Confinement Law

One of my first priorities for the 2007 legislative session is to get strict, meaningful civil confinement legislation passed and signed into law by the governor. As of today, it has been 5,074 days since the Assembly minority first proposed the idea. Now, our conference and I are calling for the reconvening of a public joint conference committee to reach agreement on the issue, and swift movement without delay.

The Assembly minority first introduced civil confinement legislation (A.5515) on March 2, 1993, during the Cuomo administration, only to see the measure blocked from a vote year after year in the Assembly. The Senate’s version of the bill has passed its house ten times by near unanimous votes, including during last month’s Special Session. Then Senator and current Lieutenant Governor David Paterson supported the bill.

This legislation has been delayed for far too long. This law is about the safety of our children, families, and communities, which is why we cannot wait any longer. Let us work in the spirit of ‘One New York’, in a bi-partisan way, to reach agreement on a common-sense law that keeps the worst kind of predators off the streets once they are released from prison.

Last year, the Assembly majority introduced its own civil confinement bill. Their measure, however, did not cover as many offenders including those under the age of 18, and covered fewer offenses. It also called for greater use of supervised parole instead of actual confinement in a secure facility, even after the offender was deemed to have a mental abnormality and likely to re-offend.

During his State of the State address, Governor Spitzer appeared to express support for a civil confinement law when he said, “One New York means a state where parents do not have to worry about a sexual predator being released straight from prison back into their neighborhood.” I could not agree more with that statement.

Throughout my time in the State Assembly, I have been a vocal advocate of civil confinement. The families of our community have the right to live with peace of mind knowing that the worst kind of offender is off the street and away from children.

I hope to work with my counterparts on the other side of the aisle to deliver meaningful civil confinement legislation. When it comes to the well-being of our children, partisan politics has no place in the discussion.