Essay on Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders

2517 Words Feb 4th, 2013 11 Pages
| Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders | | | |

Sexual violence in the United Stated has become a significant problem over the past decade. Besides being a health problem for the individual, it is a crime that every State punishes in accordance to their laws. In an effort to decrease the incidents of sexual assault, many states and legislators have passed laws geared towards reducing recidivism among convicted sex offenders. As a result, sex offenders living in the United States are subject to different laws, including sex offender registration, community notification, monitoring via a global positioning system (GPS), and loitering and internet restrictions. In addition to these boundaries, sex offenders are subject to civil
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The court also stated that it violated due process because the state was not providing proper treatment (Smith, 2008). Even though this ruling was decided by the Kansas Supreme Court; Justice Thomas wrote a decision for a divided court which overruled the prior ruling (Smith, 2008). He stated that the civil ruling could be overwritten on a civil context if the offender was unable to control his/her behavior and as a result, put society and the public in danger (Smith, 2008).
One of the first states to adopt civil commitment programs was Washington State. Enacted in 1990, Washington State passed a law authorizing the civil commitment of individuals who they found to be “sexually violent predators” at the end their criminal sentence (Lieb, 1996). The state created a special team called Joint Forensic Unit (JFU) which is a pre-selected group of expert forensic psychologists who specialize in sexually violent predator and sex offense risk evaluations (Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators, n.d.). The JFU team conducts a psychological evaluation of the individual, once they determine whether the offender meets the requirements for a sexually violent predator he/she is recommended to a prosecutor’s office for civil commitment consideration (Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators, n.d.). Under the statute, an offender is a sexual violent predator if “….convicted of or charged with a crime of sexual violence and who suffers from a

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