TN 5 (08-07)

PR 06805.040 Oklahoma

A. PR 07-191 Request for Opinion on Regional Sexual Predator Laws - REPLY

DATE: August 8, 2007

1. SYLLABUS

A question was presented as to whether any of the States in Region VI, (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) now require confinement of a sexual offender upon completion of a prison term. Based on the Regional Counsel's investigation, the laws in the states in Region VI have not changed since their last opinion completed in March 2000. Those laws do not require the confinement of a sexual offender after he or she completes a prison term. Therefore, the Social Security Administration (Agency) may not suspend benefits after authorities release a sexual offender from prison within any state in Region VI.

2. OPINION

This is in response to your request for information concerning whether the laws in the states in Region VI have changed since we released our March 2000 legal opinion reviewing state laws regarding sexually dangerous persons/sexual predators. In that opinion, we concluded that the laws in the states in Region VI did not require confinement of a sexual offender upon completion of a prison term. The laws in the states in Region VI have not changed since our last opinion. Those laws do not require the confinement of a sexual offender after he or she completes a prison term. Therefore, the Social Security Administration (Agency) may not suspend benefits after authorities release a sexual offender from prison within any state in Region VI.

As stated in our March 2000 opinion, Congress created a new category of inmates who are subject to the Agency's prisoner suspension provisions. 42 U.S.C. § 402(x)(iii). The Social Security Act provides for the continued denial of Title II benefits to individuals who:

immediately upon completion of confinement [in a jail, prison, or other penal institution or correctional facility] pursuant to conviction of a criminal offense an element of which is sexual activity, is confined by court order in an institution at public expense pursuant to a finding that the individual is a sexually dangerous person or a sexual predator or a similar finding.

42 U. S. C. § 402(x)(iii).

We set forth below our related analysis of each Region VI state's law.

Arkansas:

Arkansas sexual predator laws have not changed substantively since March 2000. Arkansas law does not provide for the confinement of sex offenders who have completed their prison terms. See Ark. Code Ann. §§ 12-12-901 - 12-12-923. Accordingly, the Agency may not suspend benefits after authorities release a sexual offender from prison.

Louisiana:

Louisiana law has not changed significantly since our March 2000 legal opinion. In 2006, Louisiana enacted laws providing for electronic monitoring and the supervised release of certain sexual predators, but Louisiana laws do not provide for the confinement in an institution of a sexual predator immediately after he or she completes his or her confinement in a jail, prison, or other penal institution or correctional facility. See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 15:560.1, 15:560.3, 15:560.4, 15:561.2.

New Mexico:

New Mexico law has not changed since we last examined this issue in March 2000. New Mexico's law does not provide for the confinement of an incarcerated sexual predator following completion of his or her prison sentence. A bill currently pending in the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee provides for continued confinement in a treatment facility for sexually violent predators that authorities release from prison. See S.B. 452. The committee has postponed action on the bill indefinitely, and the same bill died in committee in 2003 and 2005.

Oklahoma:

Oklahoma law has not changed since our March 2000 legal opinion. The Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act requires sexual offenders to register with the Department of Corrections, but the Act does not provide for the confinement of sexual offenders after they have completed their prison terms. See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 57, §§ 581-590.1. Thus, under Oklahoma law, the Agency may not suspend benefits after authorities release a sexual offender from prison.

Texas:

Texas law has not changed substantively since our March 2000 legal opinion. Texas law does not provide for confinement of sexual offenders after they have completed their prison terms. See Tex. Health and Safety Code § 841.081. Thus, under Texas law, the Agency may not suspend benefits after authorities have released a sexual offender from prison.

In summary, the laws in the states in Region VI have not changed since we released our March 2000 legal opinion reviewing state laws regarding sexually dangerous persons/sexual predators. We conclude that none of the laws in the states in Region VI requires the confinement of a sexual offender after he or she completes a prison term. As such, the Agency may not suspend benefits after authorities release a sexual offender from prison within any state in Region VI.

Tina M. W~

Regional Chief Counsel
______________________
Julia D~
Assistant Regional Counsel


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1506805040
PR 06805.040 - Oklahoma - 08/16/2007
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:08/16/2007