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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 199848 Find in a Library
Title: Characteristics of Individuals Petitioned for Civil Commitment
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:47  Issue:2  Dated:April 2003  Pages:185-195
Author(s): Judith V. Becker; Jill Stinson; Shannon Tromp; Gene Messer
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 11
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article compares the demographic and criminal characteristics of male sex offenders who have been petitioned for civil commitment in the State of Arizona with the characteristics of similarly committed sex offenders in Minnesota.
Abstract: The authors explain that recent legislation in many States has made it possible for certain sex offenders to be held in civil commitment at the close of their incarceration period. Sex offenders who are deemed a continued threat to society may be held in civil commitment upon the petition of the attorney general of the State in which the offender was incarcerated or the prosecutor in the county in which the offender was prosecuted. The authors reveal that there is a scarcity of research involving the characteristics of such civilly committed sexually violent predators. In order to obtain more information about this category of offender, the authors examined the legal files of 120 sexual offenders who had been petitioned for civil commitment in the State of Arizona. The legal files contained information regarding correctional records, mental health evaluations, and demographic data. This data on the 120 Arizona offenders were then compared to similarly petitioned sex offenders in Minnesota, which was provided by a previous study. Numerous similarities and some differences were noted in the comparison of the two groups of civilly committed sex offenders. Among the main differences were racial characteristics, which is most likely a function of the different racial and ethnic composition in the two States. Another difference was age of offender, with the Arizona population of offenders being somewhat older than the Minnesota offenders. Among the main similarities noted between the two groups were a history of substance abuse problems and a high rate of personality disorders. These findings indicate a need for comprehensive substance abuse and mental illness treatment for incarcerated sex offenders. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Sex offender profiles
Index Term(s): Arizona; Demographic analysis of crime; Mental illness-crime relationships; Minnesota; Sex offender treatment
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