Assemblyman KEVIN J. ROONEY
District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)
Requires prosecutors to determine risk of re-offense under Megan's Law prior to offender's release from incarceration.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning sex offenders and amending P.L.1994, c.128.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3 of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-8) is amended to read as follows:
3. a. After consultation with members of the advisory council established pursuant to section 6 of this act and within 60 days of the effective date, the Attorney General shall promulgate guidelines and procedures for the notification required pursuant to the provisions of this act. The guidelines shall identify factors relevant to risk of re-offense and shall provide for three levels of notification depending upon the degree of the risk of re-offense.
b. Factors relevant to risk of re-offense shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) Conditions of release that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to whether the offender is under supervision of probation or parole[;] or receiving counseling, therapy or treatment [; or residing in a home situation that provides guidance and supervision];
(2) Physical conditions that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to advanced age or debilitating illness;
(3) Criminal history factors indicative of high risk of re-offense, including:
(a) Whether the offender's conduct was found to be characterized by repetitive and compulsive behavior;
(b) Whether the offender served the maximum term;
(c) Whether the offender committed the sex offense against a child;
(4) Other criminal history factors to be considered in determining risk, including:
(a) The relationship between the offender and the victim;
(b) Whether the offense involved the use of a weapon, violence, or infliction of serious bodily injury;
(c) The number, date and nature of prior offenses;
(5) Whether psychological or psychiatric profiles indicate a risk of recidivism;
(6) The offender's response to treatment;
(7) Recent behavior, including behavior while confined or while under supervision in the community as well as behavior in the community following service of sentence; and
(8) Recent threats against
persons or expressions of intent to commit additional crimes.
c. The [regulations] guidelines shall provide for three levels of notification depending upon the risk of re-offense by the offender as follows:
(1) If risk of re-offense is low, law enforcement agencies likely to encounter the person registered shall be notified;
(2) If risk of re-offense is moderate, organizations in the community including schools, religious and youth organizations shall be notified in accordance with the Attorney General's guidelines, in addition to the notice required by paragraph (1) of this subsection;
(3) If risk of re-offense is high, the public shall be notified through means in accordance with the Attorney General's guidelines designed to reach members of the public likely to encounter the person registered, in addition to the notice required by paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.
d. In order to promote uniform application of the notification guidelines required by this section, the Attorney General shall develop procedures for evaluation of the risk of re-offense and implementation of community notification. These procedures shall require, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) The county prosecutor of the county where the person was convicted and the county prosecutor of the county where the [registered person] offender will reside, together with any law enforcement officials that either deems appropriate, shall assess the risk of re-offense by the [registered person] offender prior to the offender's release from incarceration;
(2) The county prosecutor of the county in which the [registered person] offender will reside, after consultation with local law enforcement officials, shall determine the means of providing notification.
e. The Attorney General's guidelines shall provide for the manner in which records of notification provided pursuant to this act shall be maintained and disclosed.
(cf: P.L.1994, c.128, s.3)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill amends Megan's Law to require that the county prosecutors determine an offender's risk of re-offense, or tier, prior to the inmate's release from incarceration. At present, many sex offenders are not tiered until they have been released into the community because the offender's residence is a factor that may be considered in determining risk of re-offense.
Under current law, the factors relevant to the risk of re-offense, which the prosecutor is required to consider in determining the tier designation, include conditions of release that minimize risk of re-offense such as, whether the offender is residing in a home situation that provides guidance and supervision. In order to enable prosecutors to tier offenders prior to their release from incarceration, the bill removes this factor.