New sex offender law signed

Governor Eliot Spitzer recently signed into law a bill that can make conditions for civil confinement of sex offenders when their prison terms have been served. This law is among 17 amendments that were adopted last year as requirements for closing loopholes in the prosecution of sex offenders.

This new law establishes a statewide screening panel which determines whether or not a released prisoner is a candidate for civil confinement. These experts with backgrounds in mental health will make recommendations to a judge, who will decide whether or not to enforce supervision after a prisoner's release.

If it is decided that the prisoner is not ready for release, the prisoner can be confined civilly and undergo treatment. However, this treatment will cost more than $200,000 per year per individual compared to the $36,000 for an ordinary inmate per year.

The other element of the law forms a greater consequence for sex criminals. If the criminal is caught with a sexually motivated crime, even if the sexual aspect is not committed, the court can put the criminal back in jail with a sentence comparable to what one would receive having actually committed the crime.