Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Civil Commitment of Sexual Predators
Frances P. Bernat
In the 1990s, public outrage over habitual sexual offenders prompted some states to enact sexual predator statutes. These statutes empower states to confine and treat sexual offenders indefinitely once they have completed their criminal sentence. The legislative rationale for these statutes is that states must protect their citizenry from persons who have a history of sexual deviance pursuant to the states' parens patriae and police powers duties. The legislation provides for the civil commitment of dangerous offenders who may lack a mental disease or defect but who are highly likely to sexually reoffend upon their release from prison. In 1990, Washington became the first state to enact a sexual predator statute. Missouri became the latest state to enact such a statute in 2002. Other states that provide for the involuntary civil commitment of sex offenders include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New ...