Governor Signs Sen. Bates' Bill to Require Screening of All Sexually Violent Predators Before Release

Friday, September 6, 2019

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law Senate Bill 141 by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) that will require all inmates convicted of a sexually violent offense to be administered a comprehensive risk assessment before their parole hearing.

“Protecting California’s communities is one of my top priorities and I am pleased that the Governor signed Senate Bill 141 into law,” said Senator Bates. “Every sexually violent predator should be screened before their parole hearing. I thank San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, my legislative colleagues, and the Governor for their assistance in strengthening the law.”

SB 141 will require the California Board of Parole Hearings to consider the results of a “comprehensive risk assessment for sex offenders” for inmates that have a prior conviction for a sexually violent offense before their parole hearing. The assessment specifically tests for an inmate’s likelihood to engage in sexually violent behavior. Senator Bates partnered with San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office to author the bill.

As the Legislature continues to expand the possibility of early release of inmates sentenced to life terms, SB 141 will provide the additional legal assurance that the people the state is releasing into local communities do not pose a public safety risk.

Current law requires the screening of inmates sentenced to a determinate term for their potential to engage in a sexually violent offense before they are released on parole, but not those sentenced to an indeterminate term. SB 141 closes this loophole and ensures that those sentenced to an indeterminate term are also evaluated.

SB 141 was inspired in part by a San Diego man who was convicted of murder and rape with a foreign object in 1989 and is now eligible for parole. The inmate previously was committed as a Mentally Disordered Sex Offender (MDSO) to Patton State Hospital for previous crimes, had been diagnosed with sexual sadism, and was convicted for a sexually violent offense that otherwise qualifies him to stay behind bars.