Baton Rouge – Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) Secretary Alan Levine today announced the appointment of a committee to study the development and implementation of a civil commitment program for sexually violent predators. The committee consists of representatives from the mental health, legal and law enforcement communities that will evaluate best practices for a statewide program of identification, control, monitoring and treatment of sexually violent predators and child sexual predators. 

“Our hope is that implementation of this important resolution will provide options for the state to consider as it moves to protect our children and loved ones from predators,” said LDH Secretary Alan Levine.  “We believe the work produced by this committee will lead to a seamless collaboration between mental health, corrections and public safety officials that will help prevent predators from re-offending upon the completion of their prison terms.”

House Concurrent Resolution 155, brought by Rep. Fred Mills (D), directs LDH to organize a committee that will research the cost, processes, staffing needs and intra-agency activities needed to implement and sustain a program that will provide for the civil commitment and mental health treatment of the most dangerous sexual predators in the state. 

The committee will make its recommendations to the Department of Health and Hospitals, which will submit a final report to the House and Senate Committees on Health and Welfare before the start of the 2009 Regular Legislative Session.  If a proposal is approved by Legislature, Louisiana would join 16 other states that have created similar programs.

The committee is comprised of:

• Tom Greene, DVM, veterinarian and former Louisiana state senator, District 17

Committee members:
• Sue Bernie, Assistant District Attorney, East Baton Rouge Parish
• Chester Cedars, Assistant District Attorney, Parishes of Iberia, St. Martin, St. Mary
• Jerry Jones, District Attorney, Ouachita Parish
• Howard Osofsky, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Department of Psychiatry
• Raman Singh, M.D., Medical/Mental Health Director, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections
• Ashley Smith, LCSW, Sex Offender Treatment Coordinator, Office of Mental Health, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals