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For Immediate Release
July 16, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CURRAN TO PROPOSE LIFETIME PAROLE SUPERVISION FOR STATE’S MOST DANGEROUS SEX OFFENDERS

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran announced today that he will be proposing stricter supervision for many of Maryland’s most dangerous sex offenders during the next legislative session. General Curran has discussed this proposal with the Speaker of the Maryland House of Representatives, Michael Busch, and with the President of the State Senate Mike Miller. Both leaders have offered their support in drafting and gathering support for this initiative. Earlier this week in Chicago, Attorney General Curran also met with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to discuss her recent success in crafting and facilitating passage of similar legislation.

Curran’s proposal would make lifetime supervision mandatory for the most dangerous categories of sex offenders. These offenders pose a special challenge because many are very likely to re-offend, and the harm they inflict is so great. Yet under our current system, when sex offenders leave prison they are usually under some kind of supervision initially, but only for a fixed period that ends regardless of whether they continue to pose an unacceptable risk to the community. Curran believes that the system must have the flexibility to continue supervision of these offenders for as long as community protection requires it. Offenders will be permitted to petition for discharge from lifetime supervision, but release will no longer happen automatically, regardless of how dangerous the offender may still be. Parole agents will also receive special training, and ideally would be assisted by a team of experts, i.e., polygraphers, sex offender treatment providers, victim advocates, etc. "It makes no sense to have supervision of sexually violent predators end when they are still a dangerous threat to the safety of our children," Curran said. "Release from supervision must be linked to a showing that they are no longer a serious risk."

Curran’s proposal will also strengthen community notification of sex offenders, and help build more awareness of how people can protect themselves and their children. Current Maryland law requiring registration of sex offenders does not provide for affirmative notification to the communities in which offenders reside. Curran wants proactive notification and better education for parents and communities. "Parents should not have to check the Internet every day to see whether a sex offender has come to live near them," Curran said. "I also want people to be more aware that most sex offenses are never reported, and the vast majority of offenders know their victims. Parents need the tools to teach their children how to avoid offenders who may be very familiar to them and yet pose a great danger."

The basic components of Curran’s proposed bill for the 2006 session of the General Assembly would:

• Apply to the most dangerous sex offenders required to register for life, i.e., sexually violent predators, sexually violent offenders, and the most serious child sexual offenders;

• Add Sex Offender Mandatory Lifetime Parole Supervision to the penalties for the crimes which confer status as a sex offender required to register for life. The lifetime supervision shall be for a term ranging from three years to the natural life of the defendant.

• Require that the Maryland Parole Commission set the conditions of Sex Offender Lifetime Parole Supervision for each offender, and require that offenders be supervised by specially-trained parole agents.

• Allow offenders to petition the Maryland Parole Commission for discharge from lifetime supervision.

• Allow the Maryland Parole Commission to revoke Sex Offender Lifetime Parole Supervision, with the period of re-confinement for violations not to exceed two years.

• Be applied prospectively to offenders convicted after the effective date of the bill.

   

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