Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spitzer, lawmakers agree on civil confinement sex offender bill

Newsday

Isn't it amazing what a popular reform minded Governor can get accomplished in a short few months in office........Pataki is running for what???? andy

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state's most dangerous sex offenders will be locked up in psychiatric centers after their prison terms end if a court determines they continue to pose a threat to the public, Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders announced Thursday.Spitzer and lawmakers had for months been negotiating a new "civil confinement" law after the state's highest court struck down former Gov. George Pataki's order preventing such offenders from being released.The bill would create an Office of Sex Offender Management that would work with corrections and mental health department officials to keep convicts who sexually abused children _ and are judged likely to offend again _ in state facilities well after their sentences end."We in government have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the public, especially the most vulnerable in society, from clear threats to their safety and well being," Spitzer said. "This is especially true when it comes to protecting the public form those individuals whose mental abnormalities cause them to make sexual attacks on others."Before their scheduled release from prison, mental health experts will assess inmates to determine if they pose a risk of committing more sex offenses. A jury will then decide whether a convict is likely to commit future crimes and a judge will rule on confining the offender or placing them under intensive supervision after release.Spitzer said about 1,500 inmates in state prison could be subject to civil confinement, but only a few hundred are likely to be kept locked up.In November, the Court of Appeals ruled that the state wrongly confined convicted sex offenders in psychiatric facilities under Pataki's order.Pataki said he acted out of frustration over the state Legislature's failure for years to enact a law preventing the convicts from returning to communities where they could repeat their crimes.

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