Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

No more SVPs for rural San Diego County

The placement of Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in rural areas of California, including San Diego County, is an ongoing problem. 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.

In San Diego County, SVPs have been placed in Jacumba Hot Springs, Campo, Boulevard, Borrego Springs and other locations, often in residential neighborhoods or near parks and schools.

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

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 appropriate oversight, counseling or treatment options available in urban communities. SVP housing needs should never be placed above public safety.

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.

SB 1074 has bipartisan support, and due to the importance of the legislation, it has an urgency clause (requiring a 2/3 vote). It will go into effect immediately once it’s signed by the Governor.

California’s rural areas cannot remain dumping grounds for Sexually Violent Predators. SB 1074 will make public safety the priority it should be.

 

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