Sex With A Person In Custody Now A Felony
Texas enacted more than 650 new laws on September 1, including a law elevating the consequences for guards who have sex with an inmate. Improper sexual activity with a person in custody is now a second-degree felony, on par with sexual assault.
Senate Bill 312 was filed in January by state Sen. Joan Huffman, a Republican representing District 17, which covers Harris County. It passed unanimously in both the state House and Senate before it was signed into law, without comment, by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Debate About SB 312
Critics of the measure say it was unnecessary because improper sexual activity with a person in custody was already punished as a state jail felony. Under the law, a guard having sex with an inmate is looked at as rape because of the power dynamic. Therefore, the bill would be moot.
Supporters of the bill say such a serious crime required a more serious punishment than what was set by state law. They argued that the law considered improper relationships between a teacher and a student separate from sexual assault, so it should therefore consider improper sexual activity with a person in custody separate as well.
In short, they argued SB 312 would balance the law, so it was in line with their duty to protect those in custody. Additionally, they argued that making it a crime on its own would act as a deterrent and ensure those who violated it would be appropriately punished.
According to SB 312, the new law applies to any employees or volunteers working at a correctional facility or juvenile facility. If you are convicted of improper sexual activity with an inmate, you could face a minimum of two years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Improper sexual activity with a juvenile in custody is now a first-degree felony. If convicted, you face a minimum of 5 years in jail up to a life sentence.
Contact A San Antonio Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with sexual assault, you should seek counsel from experienced Texas criminal defense attorney Sam H. Lock. Mr Lock has more than 20 years of experience defending the rights of the accused. He can help you obtain evidence and witness statements to build a robust defense case and advocate on your behalf. Contact the Law Office of Sam H. Lock at 210-226-0965 today for a free, confidental consultation.