What to Do with Sexual Predators

There’s a big debate brewing between the state Senate and the House of Delegates over what to do with sexual predators after they’ve served their jail time: Should they remain confined, in a process called civil commitment, or should some of them be returned to the community under heavy supervision including satellite tracking?

The House wants a 300-bed facility; the Senate wants 100 beds. Cost is a major factor. According to Newport News Daily News reporter Hugh Lessig: “The two sides are roughly $40 million apart in construction and operating costs for a civil commitment facility – the Senate around $36 million and the House around $76 million.”

I would lean toward’s the House position on this one, which errs on the side of public safety. But I don’t see it as a black-and-white issue. Cost is unavoidably a consideration — that $40 million could be used many other ways to improve public safety. So is the fact that sexual predators, having paid for their crime, do have rights.

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8 responses to “What to Do with Sexual Predators”

  1. Is anyone else concerned with the notion that the State can continue to punish a person convicted of a crime after that person has completed his sentence? The precedent, in the abstract, is disturbing.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    The confinement after jail is part of the sentence. They haven’t completed their sentence, just the big house time.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Something like 50% of all teenage girls have sex by the age of 16. If we catch all the sexual predators causing this, we won’t have enough room in the jails. Point being, there are many classes of sexual predators.

  4. JAB- That is better. Why not just sentence these people then to life in prison without the possibility of parole?

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    We wouldn’t be discussing this if the rate of recidivism wasn’t so high in the context of sexual predators. The majority of them will likely offend again.

    With as a statistical fact, how can we not discuss how to control a verifiable and almost predicable menace?

  6. Not Guy Incognito Avatar
    Not Guy Incognito

    The majority of them will likely offend again? Statistical fact? If you’re going to throw out those statements, at least have the truth on your side.

    The biggest study into the issue is the 2003 report issued by the U.S. DOJ. Within a 3 year span, most prisoners were arrested again: 70 percent of robbers, 74 percent of burglars, 75 percent of larcenists, 79 percent of car thieves, and so on.

    However, the recidivism rate for all categories of sex criminals was dramatically lower —- just 3.5 percent were arrested again for sex crimes (24 percent were busted for any kind of crime). Murderers were the lowest of all at 1.2 percent.

    If we’re going to enact new laws, let’s get a real view of the problem. Let’s not make political hay out of tragedy.

    It’s easy to say “sex offenders are bad”. It’s harder to take a clear look at the problem and realize that we’re overstating what’s actually happening.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Do DOJ figures show RECIDIVISM or do they show RE-ARREST rates?

  8. Not Guy Incognito Avatar
    Not Guy Incognito

    Granted, I have arrest rates. However even if they were off by a factor of 10 (a statistical improbability), they would still be lower for sex offenders and other criminals.

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