Keeping SVP's OUT of Neighborhoods
New SAFE Act introduced
Last updated 3/14/2023 at 11:52am
On February 17, Senator Brian Jones with Co-Authors Senators Alvarado-Gil and Grove, Assembly Members Meghan Dahle and Gallagher, introduced CA Senate Bill 832. The Sexually Violent Predator Accountability, Fairness, and Enforcement (SAFE) Act will amend the CA Welfare & Institutions Code 6608.5 and add Section 6609.4.
There are several important changes proposed in the SAFE Act, including:
A person designated as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) shall be placed in their county of domicile prior to their incarceration, barring extraordinary circumstances. This means that persons such as SVP Wakefield should have housing proposed in Marin County rather than San Diego County.
An SVP shall not be placed within 5 miles of federal land. In this context “federal land” has the same meaning as “Indian country”.
The Legislature finds and declares that the placement of SVPs has historically be done in secret and deceptive ways by the state. SVPs have been dumped in residential neighborhoods, which cause numerous problems for these neighborhoods and wasted tax dollars.
The existing legislation allowed the state to place far too many SVPs in some areas, overburdening specific communities.
Prior to any action by the State Department of State Hospitals, the Director of State Hospitals shall verify with the County’s executive officer of the supervisorial district where the placement is proposed.
The Director of State Hospitals shall prepare an annual report on the number of SVP under department supervisor and specify where and in which counties they are placed.
The Director of State Hospitals is responsible to ensure department vendors consider public safety as the overriding consideration in SVP proposed placements.
The Director of State Hospitals shall approve a potential placement BEFORE a department employee or vendor signs a lease or rental agreement for SVP placement.
By December 31, 2023, the Director of State Hospitals, the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection shall report to the Governor and the Legislation the status of trailers or other suitable placement quarters available at their properties for potential placements.
The recommendation from the authors is about the urgency to approve the SAFE Act to protect the public and ensure greater transparency in the placement of SVPs.