Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Marie Waldron
State Assemblymember, 75th District 

"Update: No More SVPs for Rural San Diego County"

 

Last updated 5/13/2024 at 6:38pm



As you know, the placement of Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in rural areas of California, including San Diego County, has been an ongoing problem. SVPs have been placed in Jacumba Hot Springs, Campo, Boulevard, Borrego Springs and other locations, often near homes, parks and schools.

Currently, the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) oversees placement and contracts with Liberty Healthcare, which then seeks court approval. Courts sometimes intervene to deny inappropriate placements, but by then the leasing process is often already underway, increasing costs and delays.

Since the 75th Assembly District covers most of rural northern and eastern San Diego County, I am very pleased to join Senator Brian Jones (R – San Diego) as co-author of Senate Bill 1074. SB 1074 will make public safety the highest criteria for housing SVPs in any area, with the Director of State Hospitals to be held responsible for ensuring that public safety is the major consideration. The DSH will be required to take ownership by approving any placements before leases can be signed.

SVPs have been convicted of sexually violent offenses and are diagnosed with a mental disorder which makes them a danger to others – ‘with a ‘high likelihood to reoffend.’ Whether or not someone designated likely to reoffend for such serious crimes should be released at all is another question. But if they are to be released, placing them in rural areas ignores the lack of resources in these communities. Rural areas rarely have the appropriate oversight, counseling or treatment options available in urban communities. SVP housing needs should never be placed above public safety.

SB 1074 has bipartisan support, and due to the importance of the legislation, it has an urgency clause (requiring a 2/3 vote). The bill passed the Senate Public Safety Committee without opposition April 9th, and has been referred to the Appropriations Committee. SB 1074 will go into effect immediately once it’s signed by the Governor.

California’s rural areas cannot remain dumping grounds for Sexually Violent Predators.

Marie Waldron

– State Assemblymember, 75th District

 
 
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