Legislative Audit Request over Sexually Violent Predators Placed in Communities Across California
70% of sexually violent predators released into communities in California were returned to custody
By Katy Grimes, February 14, 2023 4:43 pm
“For too long, the state has been sneaking around trying to release or parole dangerous sexually violent predators (SVPs) and rapists in residential neighborhoods,” Senate Republican Leader Brian Jones says.
The Senate Minority Leader announced Monday that he’s made a formal request that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee authorize an audit of Liberty Healthcare’s long-running exclusive contract to manage the Sexually Violent Predator Conditional Release Program (SVP CONREP) currently overseen by the Department of State Hospitals (DSH).is committed to reforming the SVP release and placement process so that public safety is top priority.
The Globe spoke with Sen. Jones Monday. He said this has been going on for 20 years largely unchecked through the little known program.
SVP CONREP is a rogue program coming under increasing public scrutiny and criticism for its lack of accountability and transparency, its wasteful spending of tax dollars, its casual treatment of public safety concerns, as well as its unresponsiveness to local officials and state legislative offices.
Since 2003, Liberty Healthcare Corporation has been the Conditional Release Program supervision program for Sexually Violent Predators in California.
Jones says the trail of Liberty Healthcare’s SVP placement disasters ranges from trying to place Cary Verse (convicted of multiple attacks on young boys in Contra Costa County) in Merced County in 2003, to multiple recent attempts last year to place known child sex predator Douglas Badger near schools, bus stops, and day care centers in San Diego County.
The Borrengo Sun reported in 2022 that 70% of SVP’s released into communities in California were returned to custody.
Jones details the issues on his Senate website:
East Coast based-Liberty Healthcare’s modus operandi is well known: they sneak into unsuspecting communities up and down California and employ a disturbing placement strategy known as “Hide the Predator,” in which full details of where they are leasing homes for sexually violent predators are kept secret from neighbors, school officials, and even local law enforcement.
Later, after the leases for homes are signed using tax dollars, Liberty Healthcare then starts to slowly release details and a community is ripped apart. Many County District Attorneys have gone to court to block these dangerous placements of SVPs, and many judges have actually stepped up and ruled against Liberty Healthcare’s placements.
The San Diego County Attorneys office explains more about the program:
The Conditional Release Program (CONREP) is under the authority of the California Department of State Hospitals and provides community-based supervision to patients in Phase V of the Sex Offender Commitment Program. Phases I-IV treatment is conducted in the state hospital. After a court hearing to determine if a patient can be safely supervised and treated in the community, a patient is ordered into Phase V of the Sex Offender Treatment Program by a Judge.
Since 2003, Liberty Healthcare Corporation has been the CONREP supervision program for SVPs in California. Over the years, SVP patients who had been placed in the San Diego community were revoked and returned to the hospital at the request of Liberty following concerns about community safety because of risk behaviors observed during supervision. Of those, several have been granted a second opportunity to participate in outpatient treatment.
Why does Sen. Jones want an audit?
“East Coast based-Liberty Healthcare sneaks into unsuspecting communities up and down California and employs a disturbing placement strategy known as ‘Hide the Predator,’ in which full details of where they are leasing homes for SVPs are kept secret from neighbors, school officials, and even local law enforcement,” said Sen. Jones. “On the campaign trail, I promised to hold Liberty Healthcare accountable and get to the bottom of their poor handling of SVP placements. I’m following through on those promises and requesting a full audit of Liberty Healthcare’s process.”
Read Sen. Jones’ detailed description of the SVP CONREP program, and why it needs to be audited. Jones includes media reports going back to 2003 about Liberty Healthcare, and convicted Sexually Violent Predators placed in residential neighborhoods near families.
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