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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78389 Find in a Library
Title: Repeal of the Wisconsin Sex Crimes Act
Journal: Wisconsin Law Review  Volume:1980  Issue:5  Dated:(1980)  Pages:941-975
Author(s): M T Ransley
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 35
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Reasons for repeal of the Wisconsin Sex Crimes Act and the problems which contributed to the act's demise are examined.
Abstract: Repeal of Wisconsin's special sentencing law for sex offenders marked the end of a 29-year effort to identify 'sexual deviates,' treat them, and confine them until they were no longer dangerous. By the time of its repeal, the Sex Crimes Act was encountering serious legal and administrative problems. Many difficulties stemmed from the attempt to apply the treatment considerations of mental health law to a postconviction program for sex criminals. The recent trend in mental health law has been to give patients as many rights as are feasible to ensure that they are examined regularly and to release them when there is no treatment-based need to keep them institutionalized. The focus in criminal law, meanwhile, seems to have shifted from considerations of rehabilitation and predictive prevention toward determinate sentencing for purposes of punishing offenders and deterring crimes by others. With the repeal of the Sex Crimes Act, judges may sentence persons convicted of sexual assault directly to prison without an examination to determine whether the person is in need of specialized treatment; treatment is at the discretion of the division of corrections. Although the unwieldiness of the act constituted a good argument for repeal, the legislature acted without benefit of an informed, reasoned consideration of the effectiveness of the treatment program or of the desirability of attempting to treat offenders. Efforts to treat sex offenders, at least on a voluntary basis, should not cease with the phasing out of the sex crimes treatment program. The State should assess the effectiveness of various correctional approaches toward the sex offender. A total of 176 notes are listed. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Critiques; Legislation; Rehabilitation; Sex offenders; Wisconsin
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