Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders

Charles Patrick Ewing

in Justice Perverted

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732678
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894550 | DOI:
Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders

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This chapter deals with sexually violent predator (SVP) laws. It begins by looking at the historical roots of these laws, which lie in what were once known as “sexual psychopath” laws—long-abandoned statutes that similarly attempted to reduce sex offending by a special commitment and treatment process aimed at certain sex offenders. It then reviews the various SVP statutes and the major court decisions that have upheld these laws; presents and analyzes statistics on the implementation of these laws; explores the significant controversy these laws have engendered among psychologists and other mental health experts, especially with regard to the concept of “mental abnormality” and the ability of mental health experts to predict sexual recidivism; reviews the data regarding the efficacy of psychological and other treatment modalities that are critical to the constitutionality of SVP laws; and weighs the economic and other costs and benefits of the nation's current SVP statutes.

Keywords: sex offenders; sex offenses; sexually violent predator laws; sexual psychopath; mental health; sexual recidivism

Chapter.  26624 words. 

Subjects: Criminal and Forensic Psychology

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