TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden and Senate President Steve Sweeney, which would call for the annual review of former sex offenders was unanimously approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“In a perfect world, incarceration and time for self-reflection would reform all inmates. In reality, some crimes are so heinous, that the protection of public safety requires newly released offenders to register as such, so that local law enforcement has the tools and information necessary to protect residents,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, who is a former Acting State Police Superintendent. “Through this bill we are increasing oversight and public safety, and ensuring that there is a system of checks and balances in place when it comes to keeping an eye on some of the State’s most dangerous sex offenders.”
“The circumstances that led to the creation of Megan’s Law were tragic, but they opened our eyes to the need for increased protection from sex offenders,” said Senate President Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “This legislation would give residents the peace of mind that comes from knowing that there is a two-tiered system of oversight in place to provide a constant watch on sex offenders who have been released and allowed back into the community, to ensure they are in complete and ongoing compliance with the law.”
The Senators’ measure, S-778, would call upon the Attorney General to conduct an annual review of all sex offenders who were released from prison or involuntary commitment within the previous calendar year.
Under current law, an individual is required to register as a sex offender in New Jersey if he or she has been found guilty of sexual assault or has been ordered to register as a sex offender in another state. Newly released offenders must register in the municipality where they reside, within 48 hours of release. Registered offenders who move to New Jersey must register within ten days of arrival. Failure to register is considered a third degree crime, which is punishable by fines of up to $15,000 and five years in prison.
This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval. #