Carnahan Targets Sex-Crime Violators Governor Seeks Tougher Sentences, Also Wants Child-Abuse Crackdown
Joe Holleman Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Sex offenders in Missouri will get tougher treatment under measures proposed Thursday by Gov. Mel Carnahan - longer sentences and more restrictive parole guidelines, especially for those facing a second conviction.
"Many of the sex offenders are out on parole or get probation for these offenses - and we don't feel that it is at all appropriate," Carnahan said at a news conference at the St. Louis County Police headquarters in Clayton. "Studies and statistics show that many of these people have done these crimes before and are a great risk to do them again," he said. "And we need more control over them."
Carnahan also wants longer prison sentences for child abusers; more state police on the road; increased aid to victims of domestic violence; and more equipment for local departments to fight drugs.
His proposals will be introduced to lawmakers this legislative session. Those pertaining to sex offenses target individuals convicted of any of the following crimes: forcible rape, forcible sodomy, first-degree child molestation, first-degree sexual abuse, statutory rape and statutory sodomy.
For such a predatory sex offender the following provisions would apply:
A possible sentence of life in prison. Under existing laws, a life sentence means an inmate has to serve 24 years. Under Carnahan's proposal, a judge could order a sex offender to serve more time.
If paroled, offenders could be placed on lifetime parole. They could be put back in prison at any time if they commit another crime or violate the conditions of their parole, Carnahan said.
Eliminating probation and a 120-day shock incarceration as possible sentences for those convicted of forcible rape or forcible sodomy.
Increasing by $700,000 the funding for the Missouri Sexual Offenders Program. The money would be used to expand the program's registration of sex offenders and to increase the number of parole supervisors. …