For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Chandler
Tuesday, June 7, 1994


Washington, DC -- Senator Dianne Feinstein today introduced
legislation similar to that introduced in the House of Representatives to
allow prosecutors to seek life in prison without parole for the most
dangerous of repeat sex offenders. This "two strikes and you're in"
legislation would, for the first time, allow the federal prosecution of a
criminal who has already been convicted of one rape or other sex offense
and who later forces a second victim to engage in sex by threatening him
or her with injury, kidnapping or death.

Senators Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), and
Patty Murray (D-WA) are original cosponsors of the legislation.

An offender who drugs or otherwise impairs the second victim's
faculties, or coerces a child younger than 12 years old into sex would
also be eligible for life in federal prison. Significantly, to be
sentenced under the new law, a sex offender's first conviction does not
need to have been in federal court and the second offense does not need
to have been committed on federal territory. Under current law, federal
prosecution and penalties are possible only when the offender broke the
law on federal land or, for example, within the United States'
territorial waters.

"Almost fifty percent of those convicted of sex offenses serve no
jail time. I want to see those who commit the most violent sexual crimes
-- against minors and when force is used -- remain in prison for life.
California has the highest number of convicted sex offenders in the
nation. Our residents know all too well why this legislation is needed.
Convicted rapists such as Melvin Carter should be kept behind bars
permanently," Senator Feinstein said today.

The Justice Department reports rapists are far more likely to
commit a similar crime than any other criminal. In California, for
example, one in four rapists who are
paroled from state prison are later convicted of committing a new rape,
according to statistics from the state Department of Justice.

"In California, among those who were first arrested for rape,
more than 25 percent subsequently went on to commit another sex offense,
according to the California Department of Justice. The time has come to
keep repeat sex offenders behind bars, permanently," the Senator added.

If passed, the "Protection from Sexual Predators Act" would amend
current law to permit the federal prosecution of certain second-time
offenders, regardless of where the crime is committed.

"Under this legislation, state and local law enforcement will be
empowered to prosecute repeat offenders under either state or federal
law. This is critical because it will provide prosecutors with the
additional options they need to go after the worst offenders. Under this
legislation, federal law would apply no matter where the offense is
committed. No longer will location be a factor, the only factor will be
the crime."

According to a computer analysis of 1992 statistics conducted by
the California State Department of Justice, as reported in the Los
Angeles Daily News on May 29 and May 30 of 1994:

i The number of sex offenders living in California has reached 64,754;

i Every day in California, an average of 14 convicted sex offenders are
released from prison;

i An estimated 5,000 sex offenders were paroled in 1993;

i 25 percent of rapists paroled from state prison later are convicted of
committing a new rape;

i It is estimated that 46 percent of convicted sex offenders are either
given probation after having served no jail time, or are sentenced to a
year or less in a county jail;

i 51 percent of the people convicted of child molestation are placed on
probation with no jail term, or sentenced to a year or less in a county jail;

i 57 percent of all felony sex offenders who were arrested and later
were convicted of a related offense were given probation or a sentence of
a year or less in a county jail.


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