December 10, 2011

State representative wants rapists, child molesters institutionalized

12-10-2011 Oklahoma:

State Representative John Trebilcock wants convicted rapists and child molesters to face long-term confinement in a mental institution after completing a prison sentence.

House Bill 2190 would allow sex offenders to be involuntarily confined in a mental institution upon release from the prison system.

"As we have seen with the Penn State scandal, a single child molester is capable of devastating the lives of countless innocent children," said Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow. "These criminals typically remain a public-safety threat even after completing a prison sentence and it is necessary to ensure they are not allowed to return to the communities they have victimized."

Under the proposal, when a sex offender nears the end of his prison sentence, a prosecutor can seek a jury hearing to have the criminal civilly confined. If the jury finds there is "clear and convincing" evidence a sex offender does not have control over his actions and is likely to commit similar crimes upon release, the convict can then be confined to a mental institution upon completion of his prison sentence.

The bill is modeled on laws in Kansas and New York that have been upheld in court. "Because civil confinement provides treatment, not punishment, the courts have ruled that double jeopardy does not apply in these situations," Trebilcock said.

Trebilcock also cites recent Oklahoma cases that show the need for such a law; for example: Marcus Berry, a two-time convicted sex offender, kidnapped a two-year-old girl from her front yard in Tulsa.

House Bill 2190 can be taken up at the start of the 2012 session of the Oklahoma Legislature next February. ..Source.. by

No comments: