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NCJ Number: 86121 Find in a Library
Title: California's Law Concerning Mentally Disordered Sex Offenders A Model of Ambivalence
Journal: Criminal Justice Journal  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1980)  Pages:3-30
Author(s): A C Gerschler
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 28
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper, included in a symposium edition focusing on California's treatment of the mentally disordered sex offender, addresses the positive and negative aspects of seeking client commitment for treatment rather than imprisonment.
Abstract: Although many attorneys believe a court determination that a client is a mentally disordered sex offender (MDSO) is of benefit to the client, requesting commitment on this determination may be a serious mistake. Under an MDSO commitment, clients may serve more time in a State hospital than they would serve in prison for the same crime. Further, the client may face an extended term commitment hearing for additional confinement. Community outpatient treatment programs do not exist in every community. Finally, the MDSO commitment designation may be used to keep the client confined for a longer period of time than would have been allowed under normal sentencing procedures. On the other hand, an MDSO commitment at least holds the potential of benefiting the client, who may receive effective treatment, secure earlier release, or qualify for an excellent outpatient treatment program. In its most recent decision concerning MDSO's, the California Supreme Court adopted a parens patriae concept similar to the juvenile system. Rehabilitation and treatment are of primary importance. However, the court failed to address the issue of whether amenability to treatment is constitutionally mandated by due process, and thus this area of the law remains unresolved. The article provides 123 footnotes. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): California; Civil commitment; Mentally ill offenders; Right to Due Process; Sex offenders; State laws; Treatment
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