ATLANTA - House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons) today introduced legislation to strengthen Georgia’s sex offender and sexual predator laws. When introduced, the bill had already been signed by a bipartisan group of 75 House members.
“Last summer, we came to the citizens of Georgia with a promise to protect the children of this state by strengthening our laws relating to sex offenders and sexual predators,” Keen said. “Working with corrections personnel, district attorneys, law enforcement officers, and my colleagues in the House, we have crafted a piece of legislation that will make Georgia’s laws regarding these heinous crimes some the most restrictive in the country. Every sex offender in Georgia will now serve time in jail and every sex offender in Georgia will be monitored after their release. There will be some cost associated with these measures but those are certainly worth protecting even one child from these criminals.”
- And yet he never talked with civil/human rights professionals, or did he talk with experts who treat sex offenders. Just a bunch of people who are hell bent on punishing sex offenders. That is why punishment was mentioned, below in red. Not all sex crimes are heinous, some did not even involve sex at all, yet he seems to think they all do.
Key provisions in the sex offender bill include:
- Increased Penalties for Sex Offenses
- The worst sex offenses – aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and aggravated sexual battery – will be punished with minimum mandatory sentences of 25-50 years in prison followed by lifetime probation.
- A new Code Section will sentence all other sex offenders to the mandatory minimum period of incarceration followed by at least one year of probation.
- No longer will sex offenders be subject to the first offender treatment – everyone convicted of a sex crime will serve time in prison, and everyone convicted of a sex crime will be monitored after his or her release.
- Reorganizes and Strengthens the Sexual Offender Registry
- All registration information will be sent to the county sheriff before a sexual offender is released from prison or put on probation.
- The new law draws clear lines of responsibility for all involved divisions as to obtaining, disseminating and updating sex offender information.
- Public notification of the location of sex offenders is enhanced.
- Monitors the Worst Offenders for Life
- GPS monitoring – consisting of a 95 decibel alarm and two-way voice communication between monitor and offender – will be required for any offender declared a sexually dangerous predator by the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board.
- Sexually dangerous predators will wear the monitor for the rest of their natural lives.
- All other sexual offenders will be given a level of risk assessment to aid law enforcement in monitoring offenders in the community.
- Strengthens the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board
- Reorganizes the Review Board
- Members will now receive a gubernatorial appointment
- Enhances the responsibility of the Review Board
- The Board has been in existence for nine years – per a federal requirement – and has seen only 57 cases
- GPS monitoring of Sexually Dangerous Predators will be determined by the Review Board’s assessment
- The Review Board will review every convicted sexual offender to determine a level of risk assessment – Level I, Level II or Sexually Dangerous Predator
The legislation, introduced by Majority Leader Keen, has been signed by the following legislators: Speaker Pro-Temp Mark Burkhalter (R-Alpharetta), Majority Whip Barry Fleming (R-Augusta), Melvin Everson (R-Snellville), Allen Freeman (R-Macon), ‘Able’ Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta), Ron Forster (R-Ringgold), Buddy Carter (R- Pooler), Richard Royal (D-Camilla), Johnny Floyd (D-Cordele), Roger Williams (R-Dalton), Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta), Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain), Doug Holt (R-Social Circle), Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta), Tom Graves (R-Ranger), Amos Amerson (R-Dahlonega), Len Walker (R-Loganville), John Heard (R-Lawrenceville), Jeff Lewis (R-White), Chuck Scheid (R- Woodstock), Hinson Mosley (R-Jesup), Mike Keown (R-Coolidge), Terry England (R-Auburn), Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson), Burke Day (R-Tybee Island), Willie Talton (R- Warner Robins), Terry Barnard (R-Glennville), Jay Neal (R-LaFayette), Judy Manning (R-Marietta), David Knight (R-Griffin), Donna Sheldon (R-Dacula), Steve Davis (R-McDonough), Gene Maddox (R-Cairo), Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville), Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs), Mike Coan (R-Lawrenceville), Greg Morris (R-Vidalia), Calvin Hill (R-Woodstock), Jack Murphy (R-Cumming), Bob Smith (R-Watkinsville), Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta), James Mills (R-Gainesville), Austin Scott (R-Tifton), Tommy Smith (R-Nicholls), Ben Harbin (R-Evans), Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock), Jon Burns (R-Newington), Jeff Brown (R-LaGrange), John Meadows (R-Calhoun), Tom Rice (R-Norcross), Richard Smith (R-Columbus), Jeff May (R-Monroe) Paul Jennings (R-Atlanta), Tim Bearden (R-Villa Rica), Martin Scott (R-Rossville), Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Lynn Smith (R-Newnan), Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), David Graves (R-Macon), Jeanette Jamieson (D-Toccoa), Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas), Penny Houston (R-Nashville), Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell), Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), Butch Parrish (D-Swainsboro), Roger Lane (R-Darien), Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla), Tom Knox (R-Cumming) and Stacey Reece (R-Gainesville).