Representative Lawrence Miller (R- 122), Ranking member of the legislature’s Housing Committee voted in favor of a measure before the committee yesterday which requires the state’s Risk Assessment Board to develop a scale to evaluate which registered sex offenders should be prohibited from living near senior centers or senior housing.
“I believe that certain registered sex offenders can pose a standing risk to the communities they reside in, and the senior population is particularly vulnerable,” said Rep. Miller. “This measure is not unlike the laws we already have in effect which prohibit sex offenders from living near elementary schools or child-care facilities.”
Miller noted that present law prohibits registered offenders from residing within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school or a licensed child-care or day care facility. Under the new measure the state’s Risk Assessment Board would develop a risk assessment scale assigning high, medium or low risk levels based on an individual offender’s likelihood to reoffend, and determine who should be barred from residing within 1,000 feet of a senior center, elderly housing or elderly congregate housing facility, and who should be outright barred from entering these facilities.
“Not all sexual predators have a predilection for children,” said Rep. Miller. “There are those who specifically target and prey on the aged. We need to make sure that all the vulnerable elements of our population are protected from those who would prey on them.”
The bill previously passed the Committee on Aging and Judiciary Committee. It passed the Housing Committee by a vote of 8-0. The measure will now head to the full General Assembly for action there. This session of the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn at midnight, June 8, 2011.