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California to audit placement service for released sexually violent predators

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(The Center Square) – On Monday, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee unanimously approved a request by California Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) to audit Liberty Healthcare.

“We are thankful that the bipartisan Legislative Audit Committee understands the need to further investigate Liberty Healthcare’s poor management of” sexually violent predators, Jones said.

Liberty Healthcare is a health and human services management company in Intellectual and Developmental Disability care and psychiatry. The east-coast based company has enjoyed an exclusive 20-year partnership with the Department of State Hospitals to manage the Sexually Violent Predator Conditional Release Program which requires the program to place released offenders within their county.

Jones revealed in a letter to the Chair of California Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Assemblyman David Alvarez, that several attempts to get answers from the department about sexually violent predator placement and operations through Liberty Health has been very difficult if not impossible.

“This troubles me because it seems that DSH has delegated their authority and responsibility to a private contractor,” Jones said.

In the letter to Alvarez, Jones continued, “Liberty Healthcare’s practices are not in line with public oversight and fail to focus on safety that the program calls for. In fact, it appears full details of where Liberty Healthcare is leasing homes for sexually violent predators are kept secret from neighbors, schools and local government officials, including even local law enforcement. It is only after Liberty Healthcare signs leases for homes and pays for them with our tax dollars, that they slowly release details to the community, making it almost impossible to stand up against inappropriate placements.”

A sexually violent predator has a high probability to reoffend as the individual not only commits a violent sexual act but is diagnosed with a mental disorder.

Liberty Healthcare is paid by the state for every placement by their service. DSH payments to Liberty Healthcare for such services are $34,000 per client on average, according to a 2021 Daily Press report.

“Liberty Healthcare comes into unsuspecting communities up and down California and employs a disturbing placement strategy in which full details of where they are leasing homes for SVPs are kept secret from neighbors, school officials, and even local law enforcement,” said Jones.

“As information becomes available, communities react to the placement creating situations of divided neighborhoods, and litigation by County District Attorney’s to block the dangerous and unwanted placements,” Jones said, “A lot of taxpayer money is wasted year after year by DSH in this process while the vendor just makes more money and moves on to other communities to start the whole cycle over again. “

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