The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

State Commission Drafts Bill to Close Sentencing Loophole


In a press release issued last week, the State Commission on Sentencing said it was recommending that lawmakers close the psycho-sexual evaluation loophole in mandatory sentencing for rape cases involving children under 12 years of age. Currently, state law calls for a 100 year sentence, of which 25 years must be served in prison for all such cases. However, a judge may grant a lesser sentence than the 25-year minimum if a psycho-sexual evaluation, conducted by a certified provider, finds that a community based treatment program would serve the safety of the victim and the community, while also providing for the rehabilitation of the perpetrator.

According to the release, State Prosecutor Dan Guzynski proposed eliminating the exception to the sentencing loophole on Oct. 19. Guzynski is arguing that the community is made less safe by the presence of a child rapist, and compared inconsistencies in sentencing by judges from across the state and here in Glasgow.

Along with other sentencing changes, the recommendation will be sent to the legislature via a sentencing overhaul bill. The state commission includes legislators, judges, and prosecutors, among others, and considered several recommendations made by the Council of State Government’s Justice Center, which reviews Montana’s criminal justice system in an effort to reduce cost and recidivism.


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