Florida reconsidering laws dealing with sexually violent predators
When a person is convicted of a serious crime, they will be sentenced to a specific period of time in jail or prison. Because many prisons are overcrowded and states are having issues covering the expenses connected to housing these offenders, some may be paroled or released due to good behavior.
However, when an individual is convicted of a sex crime, there is the potential that the offender may held after his or her sentence has been completed. In Florida, if officials believe that there is a chance that the person may reoffend once released, it is possible for them to be entered into the state’s Sexually Violent Predator Program (SVPP).
The laws creating the SVPP went into effect in 1999, and have faced modifications on two prior occasions. The state is currently considering making widespread changes to the SVPP after several offenders have committed serious crimes after being released.
According to an investigation by the Sun Sentinel, over 600 sex offenders have committed additional sex crimes after they were approved for release. This has led legislators to push for a comprehensive review of these laws, in an effort to ensure that offenders do not reoffend after release.
If these reforms pass, they could make the laws in place much tougher on sex offenders. More sex offenses would require a pre-release screening, which could result in more offenders being held after their sentences end. The state is also considering giving judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers more say in who ends up being admitted into the SVPP.
Officials are also considering an additional category for those offenders who are likely to reoffend, but not convicted of an offense that would subject them to consideration as a sexually violent predator. This “middle ground” could subject more sex offenders to additional incarceration after completing their sentences.
Offenders in the SVPP will still be required to register as sex offenders after their sentences are completed. These restrictions make it easier for law enforcement to keep track of these individuals, and add significant complications to the lives of offenders.
The impact of a sex crimes conviction cannot be underestimated. You will experience significant challenges in nearly all areas of your life. It will be extremely difficult to find work or a place to live after the conviction. Local communities will not want you to be part of their neighborhood. You may never be able to regain the trust of your friends and family.
If you learn that you are the target of a sex crimes investigation, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not meet with investigators unless your attorney is also present. An attorney can help you protect yourself during these interrogations, and keep you from disclosing information that may be used against you later at trial.