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The Jimmy Ryce Act Explained

Broward criminal attorney William Moore represents clients accused of sex crimes and urges anyone arrested for a sex crime in the Fort Lauderdale-Dade/Broward/Fort Lauderdale area to contact him as soon as possible following the arrest. Florida has tough sex crime laws, including the requirement that most people convicted of a sex crime register as sex offenders or sexual predators with the Florida Sex Offender Registry. A listing on the registry carries a lot of baggage, such as informing your new neighbors of your status when you move and limitations on where you can actually reside. Employment prospects diminish and sex offenders may be ostracized socially. In addition to sex offender registration, the felons are also frequently incarcerated for many years, sentenced to long periods of probation, can never have a firearm again, and attend court-mandated therapy. Despite that, the Florida legislature decided a decade ago that these punishments were not enough and enacted the Jimmy Ryce Act, a move that Broward criminal defense attorney William Moore believes was fueled by fear concerning offender re-entry and re-integration into society.

The Jimmy Ryce Act, also known by its official title The Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators’ Treatment And Care Act, was enacted in 1997 and implemented early the following year. The act allows state attorneys and other officials to evaluate sex offenders upon their release from incarceration to determine if they are particularly likely to commit more sex crimes. Unfortunately, predicting the future has always been an imprecise science, but that has not stopped the provisions of the Jimmy Ryce Act from playing out. If the state officials determine that the convict, who will already be a sex offender or sexual predator required to register, and who has already served all of his criminal punishment, is likely to commit another sex crime, they will move to have him civilly committed.

In these instances, the offender often loses the battle to avoid commitment, landing in the treatment facility in Arcadia, Florida. The center is privately run and has changed hands recently on account of the utter failure of the system. The offenders receive only about five hours of treatment per week and in its brief history, the prison turned treatment facility has already had a disaster involving an escape and a protest by the former inmates that necessitated hundreds of police officers to control. The Florida facility also had a murder on site, another blemish in its short history. The 2007 New York Times exposé of the facility showed a mismanaged site full of drunken convicts who had sex with one another and with female employees. One employee even commented to that reporter that they did not mind the rule-breaking, because “[a]s long as they are happy, we let them go.”

The cesspool in Arcadia is fails to provide adequate treatment. Even worse, it is primarily a means to lock up people who have already paid their dues to society by serving out their time in prison. Worst of all, the facility completely lacks a program designed to reintegrate its residents into their homes in Broward County or elsewhere – and it is difficult to get out once you have been put it in. Broward criminal defense lawyer William Moore believes Florida should undertake serious reforms to its civil commitment system for felons convicted of sex crimes.

Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in a wide range of criminal defense situations. A conviction for a sex crime can have consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., which is an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.

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William is an amazing lawyer on the first day he took my case from a felony to a misdemeanor. He always answered my calls and text messages, never a problem. He was always the one in court not sending someone else, unlike my last lawyer. 10/10 would recommend. If I ever have any other problems, he will be the first person I call. Shane B.