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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 221198 Find in a Library
Title: Florida's Sexually Violent Predator Program: An Examination of Risk and Civil Commitment Eligibility
Journal: Crime & Delinquency  Volume:54  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:95-127
Author(s): Karol Lucken; William Bales
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 33
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study analyzed the first stage of a two-stage risk assessment process that determines whether eligible sex offenders are referred for clinical evaluation in Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Program (SVPP).
Abstract: The finding indicate that despite considerable discretion given evaluators in assessing risk, substantial and salient group differences between those released and referred and that the primary factors informing referral decisions are consistent with legislative intent, actuarial instruments, and sex offender recidivism research. A critical component of civil commitment is the risk assessment process that determines recommendations for civil confinement once a prison term has expired. Proper application of sex offender civil commitment (SOCC) laws is achievable; risk assessment in Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Program (SVPP) is not arbitrary, in that the factors that most determine a referral to clinical evaluation conform to legislative and scientific standards. Simple program statistics show that only 6.5 percent of the 5,931 sex offenders initially referred to the SVPP between July 2000 and August 2003 were referred for further clinical evaluation; subsequent to the clinical evaluation, even fewer were ultimately recommended for civil commitment. Moreover, of the 6.5 percent referred, all had the requisite prior diagnoses for sexual deviance disorders. These finding suggest that there is adherence to the legislative intent, that only a small number of sex offenders are to be targeted, and that they must have mental abnormalities that are directly related to their sexually violent behavior. The findings of the group differences and regression analyses provided a compelling case that risk assessments are scientifically informed as well. The categorization of sex offenders into those who appear most dangerous and those who do not should exhibit a substantial segregation on the basis of the salient risk factors; risk assessment performed by the SVPP evaluator met this standard. Study limitations and suggestions for further research are discussed. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Florida; Recidivism; Sex offenders; Violent offenders
Index Term(s): Criminal histories; Databases; Federal legislation; Probation evaluation; Psychological evaluation; Statistical analysis
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