When is the spread of AIDS criminal?
You are the judge and jury on this one. There are a lot of number to take into account here, so read carefully.
A man who knew he was HIV positive admitted to having unprotected sex with dozens of women and girls as young as 14. Health officials put the number of his potential HIV victims at 75. It was discovered that at least 13 of those females had been infected with the HIV virus, including the 14-year-old. In media interviews, after the man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twelve years in prison for statutory rape and reckless endangerment, he boasted that he’d actually had up to 300 sexual partners.
At his confinement trial, Williams’ lawyers are likely to argue that it is unconstitutional to indefinitely hold a citizen after they’ve fulfilled their original sentence. They may offer up an argument of double jeopardy (second criminal punishment for the same crime) or “ex post facto" (new punishment for a previous crime). Perhaps they’ll come up with a new argument, as those two have already been struck down by other courts.
Back in 1997, the youngest victim of Nushawn Williams was quoted as saying, “I want him to stay in jail, suffering. He’s slowly killing me.” Today, her location is unknown and some suspect she might have died. Williams's own family has criticized him. His younger sister told reporters that after Nushawn was diagnosed, he made it his mission to “take people with him.”
This isn’t a New York-centric dilemma. Some 20 states have passed laws permitting civil commitment of people who are considered likely to engage in “predatory acts of sexual violence” if released back into society. At last count, there were about 2,700 such prisoners being held past their sentence expiration date nationwide. Only about 10 percent ever complete treatment and win release.
I’m okay with that. These people have already proven they can’t be trusted. Why should we allow them back on the street to prey on others again?
In Kansas, a pedophile who admitted he’d molested children for most of his adult life was held for some 15 years past his release date. After he passed the age of 70, his health deteriorated; he suffered diabetes and strokes. Yet he still admitted he had to urge to molest when he got “stressed out.” The state reported the annual tab for keeping him in a civil commitment treatment program was $185,000 a year, more than eight times the tab for a regular prison inmate.Hey, if it keeps kids safe, that’s fine by me. The cost of continued incarceration seems well worth it when you compare it to the price his new victims would pay.
In Virginia, another convicted sex offender was so distraught when he learned he would be held past his release date that he castrated himself in his cell. After five years of treatment that he now admits helped him cope with his sex obsession, he was put under constant electronic surveillance and freed. His attorney says there have been no incidents of misbehavior since. He called the idea of holding a person in custody after completing a prison sentence “a legal black hole.”
Critics call the idea of civil commitment a slippery slope and a step that greatly expands government’s ability to take away our liberty.
I think it’s a surefire way to keep the predators that walk among us locked away so they can’t do any more harm.