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NCJ Number: 221005 Find in a Library
Title: Evaluation for Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders: A Survey of Experts
Journal: Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:December 2007  Pages:425-448
Author(s): Rebecca L. Jackson; Derek T. Hess
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 24
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study surveyed 41 experts who conduct sex offender civil commitment evaluations, in order to identify the features of their evaluations.
Abstract: There was significant agreement among the experts regarding how evaluations were conducted in determining whether sex offenders should be civilly committed for treatment. The majority of evaluators reported the assessment of paraphilias, substance abuse, other Axis I disorders, Axis II disorders, and psychopathy as essential to their assessment for civil commitment. Virtually all of the responding evaluators used actuarial risk assessment measures, primarily the Static-99, in assessing risk for future sexual violence. Although several approaches to the assessment of volitional impairment were described, the majority of respondents reported that a history of sex offending combined with a personality disorder or a paraphilia established the necessary link between mental abnormality and the risk for future sexual violence. An overwhelming majority of respondents reported that it was essential for evaluators to indicate their clear opinion as to whether criteria had been met for civil commitment. Future research should examine whether evaluators' heavy reliance on documentation in their evaluations is unique to evaluations for sex offender civil commitment or is also commonly used in other forensic evaluations. At the time of this study, 17 States had enacted sex offender civil commitment legislation. Although State-to-State variation exists in the exact language of these laws, they share four common elements: a past act of sexually harmful conduct, a current mental disorder or abnormality, a finding of risk of future sexually harmful conduct, and some link between the mental abnormality and the likelihood of sexual violence. 9 tables, 35 references, and appended questionnaire
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Civil commitment; Diagnostic and reception processing; Psychological evaluation; Sex offender profiles; Sex offenders; State laws
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