Civil Confinement Must Be Passed

New Yorkers Call for Important Legislation to Protect Children and Women
September 26, 2005

My Assembly minority colleagues and I met in Albany earlier this month to announce the results of our statewide petition drive calling for enactment of civil confinement legislation. That petition drive has yielded over 15,000 signatures in five short months. We are receiving more signatures daily.

Civil confinement, heralded by Assembly minority members for over a decade, would allow judges to order the most dangerous of convicted sexual offenders confined to secure facilities, staffed by mental-health professionals, beyond their prison release dates if, upon evaluation, there is significant reason to believe they will strike again. A similar bill has repeatedly passed the state Senate with bipartisan support, and Gov. George Pataki has said he would sign the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have similar laws on the books that were challenged and upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Included on the Assembly minority petition are proposals to strengthen New York's Megan’s Law by restricting sex offenders’ access to schools, monitoring sex offenders’ movements through Global Positioning System satellites, providing more information about sexual predators to communities and requiring lifetime registration of offenders on the state Sex Offender Registry.

It is our duty as concerned parents and residents to ensure our children are protected. Civil confinement would help us do just that. Unfortunately, the Assembly majority conference is unwilling to even address the legislation, let alone bring it to the floor for open debate and a vote. Since June 20, 2005, 119 Level 3 sex offenders have been released onto New York streets. As your assemblyman this is unacceptable, and the Assembly majority are irresponsible.

Legislation very similar to our measure has been passed in other states, and its legality has been upheld three times by the highest court in the land. This is a good bill that would protect our children and women, and it would make New York a safer place for everyone.

The Assembly minority are intent on having this issue debated and voted on. We have laid out a clear vision for New York and we have consistently tried to advance these objectives. I join with my Assembly minority colleagues in calling on the Assembly majority to approve this important legislation. After all, this law is about protecting our loved ones, and that is not a political issue.