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Justice PervertedSex Offense Law, Psychology, and Public Policy$
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Charles Patrick Ewing

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732678

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732678.001.0001

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Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders

Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders

(p.3) 1 Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders
Justice Perverted

Charles Patrick Ewing

Oxford University Press

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

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