70 Sex Offenders Deemed 'Dangerous' to Be Released This Year

Offenders are to undergo supervision under the monitoring law after release; nearly half of all offenders reviewed are deemed dangerous.

Seventy sex offenders deemed highly dangerous by the Health Ministry stand to be released this year. They are to undergo mandatory supervision under the sex offender monitoring law, which is entering its second year of enforcement.

Today, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is set to discuss the law and its results over the past year. The courts have issued monitoring orders against 27 sex offenders over the past year, the Israel Prisons Service reports.

Under the law, before an offender is released, a Health Ministry review board must evaluate the danger the individual poses to the public. The evaluations are transferred to the Attorney General's Office, which then asks the court to issue supervision orders against high-risk offenders.Offenders under supervision are monitored by a special IPS unit that interviews their relatives, friends, neighbors and employers to determine their likelihood of committing new offenses. The offenders are also required to report to a supervising officer. They are forbidden from possessing pornography or consuming alcohol.

The Health Ministry's mental health department has informed the Knesset committee that 18 sex offenders are to be released from prison every month this year. The IPS is to release 213 offenders between October 2006 and September 2007. Of these, 51 are yet to be evaluated by the Health Ministry.

Out of the 162 offenders who have been evaluated, 40 were found to be highly dangerous, and another 40 were ruled moderately to highly dangerous. Nearly half of those evaluated have been found highly dangerous.

So far, the court has issued supervision orders against 27 of the offenders, 14 of whom were found to be highly dangerous. Another six are considered moderately to highly dangerous, and one offender has been regarded as posing a low to a moderate threat. The Attorney General's Office has decided to close seven cases after finding that supervising orders were not necessary.

It currently has 67 open cases waiting to be processed.

MK Menahem Ben-Sasson, Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chair, criticized the institutions for not completing the cases. "We can't have cases sitting in the filing cabinets of the Attorney General's Office and the Health Ministry. The only ones functioning properly are the IPS," he told Haaretz.

During the committee's last meeting on the subject, MK Shelly Yachimovich reviewed some of the cases the Health Ministry had not gotten around to evaluating. They included several men who were released after serving time for raping underage female relatives.