Virginia lawmakers squash repeal of civil commitment law

Virginia News

FILE – This June 29, 2010 file photo shows the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation in Burkeville, Va. Virginia lawmakers were being asked to consider repealing a 22-year-old law that allows the state to commit certain sex offenders to the psychiatric facility after they complete their prison sentences. Critics say civil commitment laws are fundamentally unfair and violate the constitutional prohibition against punishing someone twice for the same crime. (AP Photo/Dena Potter, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers have squashed a proposal to repeal a decades-old Virginia law that allows the state to hold certain sex offenders at a psychiatric facility after they complete their criminal sentences.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted to send the bill to the Virginia State Crime Commission for a study, ending its chances of being passed this year.

Democratic Sen. Joe Morrissey was the lead patron of the bill. He argued that the current system is unfair and punishes offenders twice for the same crime.

But the bill faced strong opposition from Republicans and opponents who said the current law is needed to protect society from offenders who have been deemed “sexually violent predators.”

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