December 31, 1. If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a sex crime or are facing civil commitment proceedings, now is the time to seek out legal help. However, it has also been argued that upholding the Act expands involuntary civil commitment to people with personality disorders which could justify the commitment of large numbers of criminals if the proof of the likelihood of re-offending required is sufficiently inclusive, which could happen if the requirement of dangerousness is not limited to those with a mental illness , and that if mental abnormality rather than mental illness can be the basis for sex offender commitment, there is a danger that it may expand the basis for traditional civil commitment to personality disorders as well. To the extent that some people who commit sex offenses have a treatable mental illness, prisons should begin providing treatment for that illness as soon as the offender is incarcerated. The confusion over whether sex offenders are deserving of punishment as criminals or entitled to treatment due to an illness often carries over to the terms of their incarceration. One major difference, though, is that many states also allow petitions to be filed by family members or medical providers.
December 31, 1. Affiliates and advocates should study the problems of sexual abuse and the criminal justice and mental health response in their states. The criminal justice system is intended to punish only those persons who commit crimes of their own free will. Once both sides present their evidence, the court then makes a determination which, because it's not a criminal trial , is based on evidence that is "clear and convincing" rather than evidence that is "beyond a reasonable doubt. If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a sex crime or are facing civil commitment proceedings, now is the time to seek out legal help. The essence of the rationale for the curtailment of liberty and privacy inherent in civil commitment is that the confinement is time-limited and paired with a course of treatment. Attorney General or any authorized official in the Department of Justice or Bureau of Prisons can initiate a civil commitment process by certifying an individual as a "sexually dangerous person. Among the many interests to be served in this complex situation, the protection of children and the prevention of violence are the most important goals. Under Minnesota law , for example, sexually dangerous persons are defined as those who have "engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct" which creates a "substantial likelihood" of harm to another. Decision[ edit ] The Supreme Court ruled against Hendricks in a 5—4 decision. Sexual Predator Legislation Increases Stigma. Sexual predator laws should be repealed. Linking mental illness with sexually predatory behavior in the public consciousness and in sexual predator statutes fuels the stigma attached to mental illness and to treatment in the mental health system. A state assumes responsibility for custody; or The person's condition improves to the point where he or she is no longer sexually dangerous. This will enable a more targeted and appropriate mix of incarceration and treatment that will increase the chances of preventing recurrence and will more appropriately use the tools of both the criminal justice system and the mental health system. The jury decided that they qualified as sexually violent predators. Sexual predator statutes usually state that the continued confinement of people convicted of sex offenses in mental health systems is for the safety of the public, not the treatment of the offender. To use such units for the detention of offenders who do not have a treatable mental health condition is a threat to the safety and viability of the mental health system and a waste of precious treatment resources. Further, the court decided the Act does not violate the Constitution's double jeopardy prohibition nor the ban on ex post-facto law because the Act does not establish criminal proceedings and therefore involuntary confinement under it is not punishment. Whether the goals of these laws are punishment or public safety or a combination of the two, the mental health system should not be used for these purposes. But the basic rationale of involuntary confinement is that people are found to be dangerous to self or others due to mental illness at the time of the commitment, that they receive treatment until they show that they have regained their competency and are recovering, and that they are then released to continue their recovery voluntarily in the community because they no longer present the imminent danger that they did at the time of the commitment. How Does Civil Commitment Work? In the case of sexual predators who remain a threat to the community, continued separation from society in the interest of public safety is necessary. And plea bargains can essentially be circumvented by commitment after completion of the stipulated sentence. Even secure forensic units have a treatment purpose.
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