Feb. 24, 2015

HARRISBURG – Majority Chairman Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) is pleased to announce that today, during the Judiciary Committee’s scheduled weekly voting meeting, his legislation requiring courts to impose a mandatory three-year probation period to immediately follow the convictions of serious sex offenders was passed unanimously.
“These people pose a serious risk to public safety when they are released back into the community without a level of supervision to monitor their transition,” said Marsico. “Megan’s Law, which requires registration as a sex offender, may provide law enforcement and the community with information about their residence, work and school locations. But without parole or probation supervision there is little way of knowing whether a serious sex offender is making an appropriate adjustment from incarceration to freedom, and there are no consequences for failing to engage in positive efforts to turn their life around unless the person commits another crime.”
House Bill 446 would require the courts to impose a mandatory three-year probation period consecutive to any term of total confinement for a person convicted of a Tier III sex offense under Pennsylvania’s Adam Walsh Act. Under existing law, the court has the flexibility to order supervision by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, or county probation. If a person is paroled and adequately adjusts to freedom under parole supervision, current law permits the court to modify, or even terminate, probation supervision.
Inmates who are released from prison because they have served the maximum sentence imposed by the court are not subject to any supervision by state parole or the court following release. Even if paroled before maxing out, the period of parole supervision may be short, depending on how close to their maximum term they were released. According to data from the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, sex offenders are the most likely inmates to serve the full maximum term, or close to it, before being released. There are various reasons for this, but a significant percentage of maxed-out sex offenders remain incarcerated until the end of their term because they have refused to take responsibility for their crimes or have failed to cooperate with treatment and other rehabilitation programs during confinement.
“I believe mandatory supervision either by the court or the Board of Probation and Parole will enhance public safety by permitting better monitoring a convicted sex offender’s daily activities,” said Marsico. “Of course, if the person does not comply with the terms of supervised release, he or she may be found in violation and returned to prison for the balance of the period of supervision.”
In addition to House Bill 446, several other bills moved through the committee today, including:
House Bill 73, which would require counseling service providers that provide counseling to sexually violent predators to give notice to law enforcement of such counseling. 
House Bill 164, which would criminalize the possession of animal fighting paraphernalia.
House Bill 186, which would grant victims of crime the right to not be excluded from criminal proceedings.
The legislation will now go to the House floor for further consideration.
Representative Ronald Marsico
105th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Autumn R. Southard, 717.652.3721