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Push for Change Continues

CA SVP Conditional Release Program


Last updated 9/14/2023 at 11:16am

Local elected leaders in San Diego County continue to push for changes to the methodology used by Liberty Healthcare, CA Department of State Hospitals (DSH), and the Superior Courts concerning how and where SVPs are placed on Conditional Release and public safety. Their letters target the problems observed with SVP placements in every county throughout the state.

On June 15, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan sent a letter to DSH Director Stephanie Clendenin, describing recent amendments to CA Welfare and Institutions Code 6608.5(d)(1) that became effective in January 2023, which supports the DA providing assistance and consultation in the SVP placement process. The DA states in the letter that after researching the strategy and policies used for SVP placement in the state of California, she and her office could find no safe and feasible models in use for SVP Conditional Release (CONREP).

She specifically called out the CONREP system of releasing SVPs into neighborhoods causes fear and trauma that is deeply impacting people who live there. She requested a meeting to discuss implementing a safe model for SVP placement used in Washington State that could be replicated in California.

DA Stephan recommends that the DSH Director use the Washington State CONREP model and house SVPs together in a location that is not in or near neighborhoods or housing with people in the SVP Victim Profile – boys and girls, women and men. This model is what the Borrego Springs SVP Task Force discussed with DA Stephan and her deputy in summer 2022.

In early July, Supervisor Joel Anderson sent out a request for signatures on a petition asking for support for DA Summer Stephan’s letter. The petition asks community members to sign the petition statement: “I agree with and support County DA Summer Stephan’s letter to the DSH Director, requesting that DSH explore a new and different way to place Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) when they are conditionally released.”

The on-line petition link is:

In mid-July, Supervisors Jim Desmond and Anderson sent a letter to the CA Joint Audit Committee requesting that the auditors be directed to examine Terms and Conditions of SVP Conditional Release in the contract and change the way this information is managed. Currently, Superior Court Judges have latitude to release SVPs into communities without providing the public with information about the terms of that release that are not related to medical diagnosis. In our observation, Judge Gill specifically told neighbors that community members help law enforcement to ensure their communities are safe by reporting issues. However, as we have discussed in open court with Judge Gill, without knowledge of the terms and conditions of release, that is impossible and he has denied release of that information while other judges have allowed it. Subsequently, when terms are unknown, neighbors who report seeing the SVP in the community have been accused of harassment by Liberty Healthcare and “making their job harder”. That is, as if the job of monitoring SVPs is not a community concern.

The audit will examine most if not all aspects of the CA SVP Conditional Release Program, including how it is administered, what the costs are and have been, and provide recommendations to change the current laws and regulations. The continued attention by DA Stephan with Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond to request real and specific changes to SVP CONREP and placement process are critical and fundamental to making this a viable program, putting community and public safety first, ahead of profits by a contractor and landlords.

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