Civil Commitment of Sexual Offenders

There is a significant challenge when we come to the question of protecting the public against the sexual violent predators after their completion of the term of confinement according to the court order. The Community Protection Act of 1990 is one of the civil commitment law for sexual offenders that was put in place so as to protect the citizens in the community. The law facilitated changes in the sex offender’s criminal sentences, creating notifications and registering of sex offender’s statutes, effecting the laws of that enabled confining and establishing treatment to individuals proved to be sexual violence predators. The central focus of this paper is an evaluation the qualifying disorders under the Community Protection Act of 1990 and the criteria used and the reasons for assessing individuals under the law.

Keywords: Sexual, violent offenders, the Civil commitment of sexual offenders, violent sexual predators.


The Eligibility and Qualifying Disorders under the Community Protection Act of 1990

To classify one as a sexually violent predator, there two fundamental factors to be considered. First, should be a previous history that an individual was the perpetrator of sexual violent. The second factor is that one must have been diagnosed with personality or mental disorders that may influence one to take part in sexually violent acts.

According to Shuman and Roger, the determinant condition for sexually violent predators can be categorized into four categories that include: previous sexual harmful behavior, they should have current mental clinical disorder, they must exhibit substantial risk characteristics for sexual violence and finally, there should be a causal connection their mental abnormalities and possible sexual harm. The subsequent paragraphs below provide significant insight on the differences in various criteria.

There has been a variation on the determination of the requisite mental condition sexual, violent predators. It can be put into four major categories that include mental disorder, mental abnormality, personality disorders and idiosyncratic definition. Both personality and mental illness can be established through the establishment of interviews. Other factors can be determined through various diagnostic test.

The prediction of sexual violence is also critical. However, it is important to distinguish between sexual violence and general violence predators. The rehabilitation procedures for these two categories are different and play a crucial role in preventing the future happening of sexual violence.

How to Assess an Individual under the State’s Civil Commitment Laws for Sexual Offenders

The generic risk assessment for civil commitment laws for sexual abuse is imperative when establishing the sexual violence predators. The assessment procedures can be grouped into either actuarial or structured clinical judgments. The later method involves two standard measures that include the Historical-Clinical-Risk (HCR) and the second one is the Sexual Violence Risk (SRV). On the other hand, the actuarial procedures are many, and they include the Rapid Risk Assessment of Sexual Offence (RRO-SOR), Static-99, the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool-Revised (MnSost-R), the Sex Offense Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG) and finally the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG). Besides the two measures, the sexual arousal profile and Psychopathy Checklist- Revised may be used although they are not used directly to establish the sexual violence predators.

The first step in the assessment procedure is usually requisite clinical conditions evaluation. The clinicians always aim at determining the existence of Axis I or Axis II disorders in a patient. The subsequent three steps in the procedures always target the evaluation of the volitional impairment, the causes for impairments and how it is connected to the sexual recidivism. These three steps provide stable grounds for establishing a prediction of sexual violence in an individual.

The main reason for conducting an assessment on persons according to the civil commitment laws for sexual offenders is to safeguard the community from looming perils that may be inflicted by violent sexual criminals. All the groups that exhibit violent, chronic or predictor offenders can be established then confined and put under special treatment that is appropriate for their condition. Thus, the assessment procedure helps in coming up with a secure setting for the rehabilitation of the individuals. It provides an opportunity for the prison based correction programs that involves the incarceration of the offenders. It is during the period of incarceration that appropriate treatment is established as a way of the risk and successful re-establishment of community integration.


In summation, it is important to note that the community needs to be protected from the violent sexual offenders. As outlined in the paper, various measures have been taken including formulating of policies like the Community Protection Act of 1990. The effectiveness of this effort lies on the well-established procedure for determining the sexually violent predators and the measures taken to address the issue. It is, therefore, important to ensure that empirically validated methods, measures, and instruments are applied when predator assessments are being conducted. States should implement the civil commitment for addressing the threat posed by sexual offenders to the community. Finally, the offender should be given an opportunity to respond their mental disorders so as to establish a proper treatment.


Article: Rogers, R., & Jackson, R. L. (2005). Sexually violent predators: The risky enterprise of risk assessment. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 33(4), 523-528. Retrieved from

Harris, D. A., Smallbone, S., Dennison, S., & Knight, R. A. (2009). Specialization and versatility in sexual offenders referred for civil commitment. Journal of Criminal Justice37(1), 37-44.