None of these essential elements is present in the case of a person convicted of a sex offense committed after serving a prison sentence. Prisons have a special obligation to protect convicted sex offenders from harm. 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. There are many areas of overlap between serious mental illness and sexuality both appropriate and inappropriate. They also had a four-fold greater risk of alcohol or drug dependence, and were 30 times more likely to have been diagnosed with a personality disorder. 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. It redefines criminal behavior as psychiatric illness by legislative fiat irrespective of the relevant science for treatment and appropriateness of psychiatric hospitalization. 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.
The new study, in contrast, compared male sexual offenders with men in the general population. States should increase research on sexual disorders and treatment options for people who commit sex offenses to more clearly differentiate between those people who are amenable to treatment and those who are not. Increasing attention is being paid to the assessment and management of individuals who commit or are at risk for committing sexual offenses. While Minnesota appears to have the most serious procedural deficiencies, all states make the release of sexual predators much more onerous than ordinary civil commitment in ways that demonstrate and exacerbate the punitive nature of these commitments. Sexual predator laws blur the line between the mental health and criminal justice systems in ways that confuse policy makers, including judges, mislead the public and are unfair even to those who, due to their behavior, may be deserving of long-term incarceration. So long at sex offender commitment laws remain, we must insure that the rights of persons confined under these laws are protected. It diverts scarce public mental health resources from patients with mental illness who have been traditionally served in hospitals and for whom hospital-based care has demonstrated long-standing effectiveness. However, if this is true, then states should explore a return to indeterminate sentencing for sex offenses rather than using the mental health system as a dumping ground for criminal offenders who have served their time but are still seen as dangerous. A holistic approach to treating these patients requires attention to all the areas that may pose problems for their successful adjustment to the community. In upholding the power of the federal government to enact a sex offender commitment law in United States v. 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. The court found that some people had been confined for more than twenty years, and not one person had been unconditionally discharged. Thus, states have been forced to spend substantial funds in enforcing these laws. In this article, I advocate a targeted approach to individuals with co-occurring mental illness and sexual offending behavior akin to the holistic approach that fostered the integrated treatment of mental illness and substance abuse. If a person who has committed a sex offense is in fact not guilty by reason of insanity, it is may be a great disservice to agree to a plea to a lesser criminal offense, since sexual predator laws are likely to result in a longer period of incarceration. The general media and professional literature continue to debate evaluation techniques, effectiveness of treatment, and propriety of restrictions placed on those at risk for recurrent sexual deviance. Many sexual predator statutes refer generically to people convicted of sex offenses as having a mental illness. There are many areas of overlap between serious mental illness and sexuality both appropriate and inappropriate. States should provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services in juvenile corrections systems and all other child-serving systems to identify potential predators early. This means that courts, which must rely on professional expertise, will regularly make mistakes in deciding who should be committed or released, with serious consequences for both the public and the offender. Thus, sexual predator commitments are an abuse of civil commitment. 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. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, April However, these special commitment laws were created in part because the persons who are confined under them do not meet the definition of mental illness used in the ordinary civil commitment laws of any of the fifty states. 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. As a result, there is a lack of attention to this problem behavior, even when it is part of a larger psychiatric condition. Since the duration, conditions of confinement and stigma which accompany sexual predator commitments are all more onerous than ordinary civil commitments, we must be even more vigilant in assuring that these commitments are truly warranted.
Video about the rate of sex offenders with mental illness:
Woman Says She’s Convinced Sex Offender Boyfriend Was Falsely Accused
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