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East Idaho legislator introduces bill to set mandatory minimums for sex crimes

Chad Christensen | File photo
BOISE — An eastern Idaho legislator introduced a bill Tuesday to set mandatory minimums for sex crimes.
Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Iona, introduced House Bill 508 to the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration committee. The bill would set a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for sex crimes like aggravated sexual battery, child sex abuse, rape, lewd conduct and more. It would also make it so sex offenders cannot be placed into a rider program.
“I saw a lot of cases where the judge just gave them probation for serious sexual crimes,” Christensen says.
Christensen says he’s heard a lot of comments in the community and on social media stories about people fed up with sex offenders getting “slaps on the wrist.” Christensen said he feels frustrated as well, recalling cases in recent years that sex offenders got minimal sentences.
“Something needs to happen to protect our kids,” Christensen says. ” … If they are actively being devious they should be locked up for a period of time.”
Currently, in Idaho, most sex crimes do not have mandatory minimum prison sentences.
If approved, the bill would also set a one-year minimum prison sentence for those who fail to register as sex offenders. Daycare owners who knowingly employ sex offenders would also face a 90-day minimum jail sentence as part of Christensen’s proposed bill. The 90-day jail minimum would also apply to sex offenders who violate the law keeping them from frequenting places with children.
Based on data provided to legislators from the Idaho Department of Correction, estimates show the bill would increase prison costs by $5,708,900 a year, according to the bill’s statement of purpose. For more details on the cost click here.
Idaho Supreme Court data shows in 2021 at least 1,390 sex offense charges were filed statewide. The number of convictions was not immediately available.
With the bill at the committee level, a hearing would need to be held before potentially being sent on for a vote to the full House.
The post East Idaho legislator introduces bill to set mandatory minimums for sex crimes appeared first on East Idaho News.

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