No more SVPs for Rural San Diego County

Assemblywoman Marie Waldron

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.

Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R- Valley Center, represents the 75th Assembly District in the Cali­fornia Legislature, which includes the cities of Poway, Santee, por­tions of the City of San Diego, and most of rural eastern and northern San Diego County.


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