2006-03-31 / Front Page

Smith: Increase Jail Time For Rapists

Tough new crime legislation proposed by State Senator Malcolm Smith would increase the jail time of violent criminals, specifically those convicted of raping a child.

"As a matter of public safety, it is vital that we increase the penalties for violent crimes like the sexual assault of a child to keep these predators off the street. Increasing the jail time for these violent criminals will not only keep them from committing a crime again, but will hopefully serve as a warning to all rapists," said Smith.

The Queens lawmaker noted that under the current law the rape of a child 17 years of age and younger carries a jail term of only up to four years, while the rape of a child 15 years and younger carries a term of up to seven years.

"The current law does not go far enough in punishing violent criminals who commit these heinous acts. As we have seen debating the Rockefeller drug laws, you can get substantially more jail time for non-violent acts than you can for raping a younger child, which is completely absurd. We must take measures to ensure that anyone who commits such a horrible crime is punished accordingly. Under my legislation the sexual assault of a child five years old or younger would hold an even stricter penalty," said Smith.

The senator went on to say that 17 of his Democratic colleagues are co-sponsoring this bill, and Assemblywomen Margaret Markey is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly.

"The support for this legislation is tremendous. It is obvious to me, as well as my colleagues, that this bill is imperative. It will help deter future crimes as well as provide a sense of peace for victims who will know that their perpetrator is behind bars where they belong," said Smith.

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