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News Scan

CA Building New Prisoner Mental Health Facility:  Correctional News reports that a new $23 million mental health facility will open at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo this July. The Correctional Treatment Center is designed to house inmates who are potential threats to themselves and others. Approximately 25% of the 5,000 inmates at CMC are in a mental health service program of some type. Lieutenant Robert Furster, CMC's public information officer, hopes the facility will lower rates of recidivism through treatment.

CA Sex Offender Bill Gains Ground: 
Eric Kurhl of San Jose Mercury News reports that California's SB 326, authored by Sen. Jim Beall, was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. If passed into law, the legislation would mandate that school officials check with authorities before allowing a registered sex offender to volunteer at campus activities. Then, if considered at risk to reoffend, parents would have to be notified. The legislation came about after convicted child molester Mark Gurries was given permission by the Diocese of San Jose to attend a St. Frances Cabrini Parish event where many children were present. The bill now moves on to the Public Safety Committee, where it is expected to pass.

MT Law To Allow Re-categorization of Sex Offenders: 
Jodi Hausen of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed HB 335 into law this week. It gives prosecutors the ability to re-evaluate offenders for potential inclusion in MT's three-tiered sex offender registry system. The three-tier system has only been in place since 1997. It categorizes offenders as low, moderate, or high risk. All those sentenced before 1997 are treated as low risk by default. The new law allows these earlier convicted sex offenders to be categorized by prosecutors and potentially placed under closer watch.

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