An offender is assigned to the program after a civil court deems him or her to be a risk to society. But there have been civil rights challenges here and elsewhere. Judge Bennett earlier denied a summary judgment in the case.
Jump to navigation Skip navigation. Last year, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a Kansas law that permits the government to detain for indefinite periods of time persons who have completed criminal sentences for convictions of sex offenses but whom the state believes are likely to commit violent sex crimes in the future if they are released from custody. It is crucial that we not imperil these freedoms, even when attempting to protect children.
Some jurisdictions may commit certain types of dangerous sex offenders to state-run detention facilities following the completion of their sentence if that person has a "mental abnormality" or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in sexual offenses if not confined in a secure facility. A "mental abnormality" is a legal term of art that is not identical to a mental disorderthough experts generally refer to diagnoses contained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM as evidence of a mental abnormality. In most cases, commitment as an SVP is indefinite; however, once a person is committed, the confining agency is constitutionally required to conduct periodic reviews of that person's mental condition.
Sexual predators with a history of molestation and other sex crimes will be psychologically evaluated by a state-appointed psychologist or sex professional to determine his or her mental stability. State-appointed members are not on the side of the sex offender and are usually keen on looking for signs of mental instability and a relapse to future criminal activity. If the state-appointed investigators conclude that the sex offender is prone to committing future sexual crimes, the sex offender may spend a long period of time in prison with no chance of parole. The United States Codeexplains that sex offenders convicted as a danger to society will be held in prison or in a facility under the watch of the Attorney General until either 1 a State assumes responsibility or 2 their conditions have improved and are no longer considered a sexual danger to others.
Most people would think that once you have served a jail sentence, you are free to go. But that's not always the case. When it comes to sex offenders, a number of states and the federal government have laws that allow them to keep you in jail, simply because they consider you a potential recidivist.
These laws provide for indefinite involuntary commitment of people who have committed serious sex offenses to mental health treatment facilities after they complete prison terms. At least 5, persons are currently confined under these laws. HendricksU.
Jump to navigation Skip navigation. The principle cannot be compromised, as proposed by this bill, without doing grave harm to the principle of individual liberty. And for this reason legislators should be profoundly troubled by this legislation.
Responding to several highly publicized sex crimes and public fears, legislatures across the country have adopted statutes that allow the continued imprisonment of sex offenders after they have completed their sentences. Veteran investigative reporter Barbara Koeppel has spent the past 12 months reporting on this third rail of the criminal justice system. Here are her findings. S ince the s, 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that direct the attorneys general in these jurisdictions to appoint professionals to evaluate whether sex offenders who have served their time have a mental abnormality or illness that would make them likely to re-offend.
The lawsuit, filed in September in federal court in Cedar Rapids, again highlights the difficult balance states must strike between keeping dangerous sexual predators off the streets and not violating their constitutional rights by imprisoning them longer than their court-mandated sentences. More than 5, people are believed to be civilly committed in such programs in 20 states and by the federal Bureau of Prisons. A similar challenge in North Dakota is likely to go to trial next year.