Governor Approves Sen. Bates’ Bill to Strengthen Law Regarding Sexually Violent Predators

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) announced today that the Governor has signed her Senate Bill 248 into law. Written in partnership with San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan, SB 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.

“The signing of SB 248 will help keep Californians safe by removing an incentive for sexually violent predators to commit more crimes,” said Senator Bates. “I thank District Attorney Stephan and her team for working with me to strengthen the law.”

District Attorney Stephan said, “The current loophole rewards individuals who commit a new felony while receiving treatment for their sexual deviancy. 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.”

State law delineates the procedure for screening California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmates for possible SVP commitment. However, when the Sexually Violent Predator Act changed two-year commitments to indeterminate commitments, the laws governing the screening of inmates did not change.

SB 248 closes a loophole for SVPs committed to an indeterminate term to be able to relitigate an SVP commitment. The bill requires the previously committed SVP to return to the state hospital to continue serving their indeterminate term after completing their new prison commitment so long as mental health evaluators agree that the inmate still meets SVP criteria.