« Do would-be white-collar offenders actually "get the message" from long sentences? | Main | You make the sentencing call: What sentence should Blago get? »

June 28, 2011

"Rethinking the Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new piece by Fred Vars now available via SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Thousands of sex offenders in the United States are being held indefinitely under civil commitment programs.  The analysis in this Article suggests that none (or precious few) belong there. Specifically, in a large dataset, an instrument as good as the one most widely used by experts (the “Static-99”) could not identify even one sex offender who met the legal standards for commitment. Supplementing such instruments with additional information appears not to improve matters, so the failure of the instrument is profoundly disturbing.

There are three possible responses: (1) improve instruments to meet existing standards; (2) lower the standards; and (3) abandon sex offender civil commitment.  This Article focuses on the first response, identifying and correcting flaws in the most widely-used instrument. But the greater significance of the Article is to reframe the debate around the other two potential responses.  Can we predict the future well enough to justify the indefinite detention of “dangerous” people?

June 28, 2011 at 09:28 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e201538f7f0bfa970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Rethinking the Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders":

Comments

hmm

"The analysis in this Article suggests that none (or precious few) belong there."

NO SHIT SHIRLOCK! some of us have know that for YEARS!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 28, 2011 11:30:51 AM

article: "There are three possible responses: (1) improve instruments to meet existing standards; (2) lower the standards; and (3) abandon sex offender civil commitment."

me: it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which of these options the states decided to follow. Being locked away in what is effectively a prsion because you might possibly commit a crime in the future with no standards, no treatment, and no meaningful opportunity to get out. I mean, I don't like icky pervs and think that they should be given long prison sentences upon conviction - but this terrible policy of standless preventive detention is UnAmerican.

ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | Jun 29, 2011 7:55:52 AM

standardless, not standless :)

Posted by: virginia | Jun 29, 2011 7:57:18 AM

virginia (Jun 29, 2011 7:55:52 AM): “Un-American” is what the SEX OFFENDER Witch Hunt is all about. The Witch Hunt is about criminal governments committing crimes. “Civil” detention fits right in.

One of the reasons that the SEX OFFENDER Registries, etc. are immoral is that the idea has not been expanded to include all previous felons and more. There is simply no defensible reason not to expand the Registries and the rest of it. And it should have started yesterday. Every day that passes makes the SEX OFFENDER Witch Hunt more immoral.

There will be no need for the Registry Terrorists to get all “worried” and get their little minds twisted up that their precious, “needed” SEX OFFENDER Registries are going to get “diluted”. We can have different Registries for all different categories of problem citizens and each citizen may be on any number of Registries. It’s for the children so it will be worth the effort.

And of course, “civil” detention needs to be expanded to many more people. It is immoral not to do so.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 29, 2011 8:23:15 AM

Quote: "Can we predict the future well enough to justify the indefinite detention of “dangerous” people?"

Answer: Not unless your God! No one on earth can predict when and if an crime will be committed in the future. You'd have to be certified NUTS if you think anyone can predict a future crime. Minority Report was JUST A MOVIE.

It's only a matter of time before the registry falls flat. It cannot be sustained because America is going down the tubes. Let the trained Psychologists and Psychiatrists handle the treatment of Sex Offenders. They are qualified to do so. They did their jobs before the Adam Walsh Act and they can do it again with surprisingly accurate results. These people are the ones in the know about a patient's potential for future crimes....NOT THE POLITICIANS!!!

Posted by: Book38 | Jun 30, 2011 12:28:43 AM

Book38 and Virginia: Sentence is ending. Prisoner is begging for help, saying, he will reoffend. What do you do?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 30, 2011 8:42:38 AM

well SC that would be a situation that the ORGINAL LEGAL civil comitment sytem was made for!

not the illegal one just for sex offences!

if you think your a danger to yourself or others! say so. let the psyh's evaluate you and if THEY AGREE ....then it's time to take you in front of a judge and go from there!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 30, 2011 2:09:01 PM

@Supremacy Claus

Answer: You get him help! Everyone in this nation and now around the world seems to believe the lie that the sex offender cannot help himself. That's just pure plain bullshit!

Unless the person is absolutely mentally unable to comprehend good from evil, a sex offender who is let out of prison and really does not want to re-offend CAN stick to therapy and a plan that is outlined for him while he is at large. Don't every believe a politician OR a Judge when they say an SO cannot' help himself. That's a lie....they can!!!! And, they can stick with suggestions of the therapist.

Posted by: Book38 | Jul 1, 2011 1:51:25 AM

Book38 (Jul 1, 2011 1:51:25 AM): You are correct.

And there are also plenty of people who committed a sex crime and who are Registered who do not need any therapy at all, from anyone. I truly don't understand the persistent insanity of a vast majority of people who think people who commit sex crimes are somehow different than 95% of other people who have committed other types of crimes. Why is it that a person who has committed a sex crime "needs" therapy and "a treatment plan" when a person who jumps in a car with someone else and robs him/her at gunpoint does not? It makes no sense at all.

There are plenty of people who have committed a sex crime and will not commit another one simply because they do not want to. I am a Registered person. And I don't know how prevalent this is among Registered people, but back when I was in forced therapy, there was literally nothing that made me want to hurt people more than that therapy did. The whole process with them and probation was just so adversarial, it's hard to imagine how it could be more counterproductive. And of course, then, as now, few people really care about that.

And Registration in general has continued the stupidity. In the beginning, I was sorry about what I had done but way, way back when I started Registering, the Registry and the Witch Hunt was just getting geared up. Still, it only took a few years of being Registered for me to lose whatever empathy I had and any concern about what I had done. From that point on, year after year, I have wanted to harm people more every day simply because of the Registries and the rest of it. Honestly, I feel like the criminal governments and the scumbag terrorists who support them could hardly be more idiotic than they are when it comes to supposedly trying to "protect children" and provide "public safety". But it doesn't matter how useless, counterproductive, and un-American it all is, those types of scumbag will NEVER have enough sense to know and would never care anyway. Because to them, it's not really about "protecting children". Those are just the lies they tell.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jul 1, 2011 12:09:35 PM

the big problem FR is that is what the little nazi wannabee's who now run this country want. THEY want you to act out and hurt someone. IT JUSTIFIES every little lie and illegal action they take!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 1, 2011 1:15:04 PM

rodsmith (Jul 1, 2011 1:15:04 PM): Yes, I've considered what you are saying. However, if I do "act out", it will have nothing to do with sex and therefore, what you said is not accurate - i.e. it will not justify the Registry Terrorists' lies and illegal actions.

It will not justify their lies because what they have said and continue to say is that we are Registering people because they committed sexual crimes and we are trying to stop them from committing more sexual crimes.

If a Registered person commits a non-sexual crime, the Registry Terrorists cannot say, "See, that's why we Register them!!" They can't say that because we don't even bother Registering people who commit only non-sexual crimes. So, we aren't particularly worried about those crimes, just sex crimes. (Which, BTW, is one of the reasons the SEX OFFENDER Registries are immoral.)

Also, I will make very sure that people know that I "acted out" precisely because and only because of the SEX OFFENDER Registries and their adjunct laws. I will spread that word far and wide. I would dedicate the "acting out" to specific people.

Some Registered people have murdered innocent people because of the SEX OFFENDER laws. I really don't know why they don't just say, "That was a gift for criminal Georgia Legislator Jerry Keen. I did that because of him."

I'm concerned for my future. I've followed the criminal governments' laws for a long time and I never try to violate any of them but there are just so many all over the place, I feel it is almost inevitable that I will get arrested some day. And I promise you, there will be very serious consequences for that. I have retaliated (legally) for every single little ex post facto thing that has been done to me and it will continue. I am in a war with the scumbags who are trying to destroy the United States.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jul 1, 2011 6:16:27 PM

maybe but the problem with this statement of yours!

"If a Registered person commits a non-sexual crime, the Registry Terrorists cannot say, "See, that's why we Register them!!"

you must have misssed the notices on reoffence rates for sex offenders

when figured those numbers they use

any and all internactions with law enforcment

if it results in a conviction. parking tickets, jaywalking, tresspass, being 10 mins late to a po's office...whatever

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 2, 2011 12:50:12 AM

iPad 3 has slowly become the most awaited gadget out there.

Posted by: ipad 3 | Jul 11, 2011 7:13:29 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB