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Gov. Newsom signs law closing sexually violent predator loophole

Gov. Gavin Newsom
Posted at 4:12 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 19:12:19-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill sponsored by state Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel -- written in partnership with San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan -- that closes a loophole for sexually violent predators undergoing treatment, Bates said Wednesday.

According to Bates' office, Senate Bill 248 removes a "perverse incentive for sexually violent predators (SVPs) to commit felonies while civilly committed in a state hospital in order to relitigate and challenge their commitment."

Her bill requires previously committed SVPs to return to a state hospital after completing their new prison sentence, so long as mental health evaluators agree that the inmate still meets SVP criteria.

"Thanks to Senator Bates' work with our office, SB 248 now closes that loophole and requires sexually violent predators to resume treatment in a state hospital," Stephan added.

Bates said the signing of the bill will help keep Californians safe.

"I thank District Attorney Stephan and her team for working with me to strengthen the law," she added.

State law defines the screening procedure for inmates for possible SVP commitment. When the Sexually Violent Predator Act changed commitment periods from two years to indeterminate, the laws on screening inmates did not change, according to Bates' office.

Bates represents the 36th state Senate District, which also includes North San Diego County and Camp Pendleton.