Sexually violent predator laws

Douglas E. Tucker, Samuel Jan Brakel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Sexually violent predator (SVP) commitment laws are the latest phase in the long history of legislation in the United States seeking to legally process and clinically treat sex oenders in a manner distinct from other criminal oenders. Washington was the rst state to enact an SVP commitment law in 1990 (Wash. Rev. Code. Ann. 1992), with more than a dozen states following within the decade. ese laws provide for continued (civil) connement and involuntary treatment for the most serious and high-risk sexual oenders at the end of their criminal incarceration. e laws have been surrounded by controversy from the beginning, as they try to achieve societally necessary and legally proper results in a conceptually underdeveloped and politically polarized area where the overlap between criminal behavior and psychiatric illness has proven to be especially confounding. In addition to focusing discussion about proper management of criminal behavior in mentally ill individuals, these laws have provided a new arena for the central debate in criminal law over the relative value of public safety versus individual liberty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrinciples and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781482262292
ISBN (Print)9781482262285
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine
  • General Psychology


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