McKevitt: Civil Confinement Deal A Victory For Nassau County Families

Long-overdue accord will help protect families from dangerous sex offenders
March 1, 2007

Marking the anniversary of his first year in office, Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I-East Meadow) today has secured a bipartisan agreement on civil confinement. The long-overdue agreement will help ensure that the most violent sexual predators remain out of our neighborhoods.

“Since taking office a year ago, I have stood at the forefront of the fight to ensure Long Island families have the safest communities to raise their families,” McKevitt said. “With the public’s support here in Nassau County and throughout the state, our persistence and unwavering commitment to making civil confinement a reality has helped bring this agreement to fruition.”

McKevitt noted that the agreement was reached 5,112 days after the measure was first proposed 14 years ago. Since then, civil confinement has received bipartisan support from families, victim’s rights groups, and law enforcement officials.

Under the agreement, the most dangerous sex offenders released from prison will be confined in a secure mental facility where they will undergo mental health treatment. A screening panel, made up of mental health officials, will determine whether an offender is a candidate for civil confinement.

McKevitt noted that the agreement creates a state Office of Sex Offender Management that will be charged with the oversight of all aspects associated with sex offenders and victims. The new duties of the office include post release supervision, treatment, monitoring, risk assessment, civil commitment, community awareness, and victim assistance.

The agreement also gives judges the option of imposing intensive supervision as an alternative to civil confinement. Additionally, the agreement will increase criminal penalties for sex offenders and expands the category of sexual offense to include crimes motivated by sexual violence.

New York joins 16 states and the District of Columbia that currently have civil confinement. According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, as of February 26 of this year, 67 Level 3 sex offenders are registered in Nassau County. There are also 165 Level 2 sex offenders registered in Nassau County.

Last year, the state Legislature took the first step toward enacting stronger laws against sex offenders with the elimination of the statute of limitations for rape, expansion of the DNA database, and strengthened Megan’s Law to increase the length of registration for sex offenders.

“This landmark agreement on civil confinement provides a new foundation that will help combat sex offenders in our neighborhoods,” McKevitt said.