February 8, 2013

Montana's HB 335 would provide authority to designate sex offenders

2-8-2013 Montana:

The House Judiciary Committee heard a bill today that would give district courts authority to designate sex offenders by their likelihood of committing another offense.

In Montana, registered sex offenders are supposed to be designated as a tier level 1, 2, or 3 offender. This tier designation informs the public of the perceived risk of the offender to commit another sexual offense, with level 1 being the lowest and level 3 being the highest. But not every sex offender that lives in the state, has a designated tier.

Sex offenders convicted before 1997 or outside state lines, may not have been assigned a tier level. House Bill 335 would make it so that district courts could assign tiers to these offenders. Prosecutor Ole Olsen of the Montana Attorney General's Office, spoke in favor of House Bill 335 today.

Olson says, "In Montana, a therapist looks at this offender and they use statistical tools to tell whether this person is likely to reoffend or not. Those statistical tools are not based on the type of offense that you've committed. It's based on your comparison, what your history is like, what your psychological makeup is like compared to other populations."

Bill sponsor Representative Jenny Eck says without a process for post-sentencing tier designation, there's no way to enforce upon an undesignated offender, requirements beyond those applied to a level one offender.

Eck says, "There are likely to be offenders in Montana that should be regulated under the more stringent requirements of level 2 or 3 designation that are operating under level 1 restrictions."

Eck says the bill addresses the issue of public safety.

Eck says, "Most of us would want to know if there were a tier 3 sex offender living down the street from us. It is very likely that some of the undesignated sex offenders on the Sexual and Violent Offenders Registry website are level 3 offenders but because they are undesignated, it is difficult for communities to know what degree of risk exists."

No one spoke in opposition of the bill. ..Source.. by Charlie Misra

No comments: