Protecting Society From Sexually Dangerous Offenders: Law, Justice, and Therapy
In Protecting Society From Sexually Dangerous Offenders, legal and mental health experts explore the ramifications of the controversial sexual predator commitment laws, registration and community notification laws, and chemical castration laws that have come into existence in the past dozen years. The increasing number of sex crimes, especially those committed by released sex offenders against young victims, has struck a public nerve. Understandably, citizens are angry, vengeful, and fearful, and they demand both retribution and harsh measures to prevent these kinds of crimes from recurring. These intense public demands for retaliation and protection have shaped recent law and public policy, resulting in involuntary commitment programs, notification laws, and chemical castration laws for sex offenders in many states. These new legal strategies raise serious constitutional questions regarding the rights of those who have served their punishment. Perhaps more important is the question of whether these programs are actually effective in preventing sexual recidivism.
In this volume, contributing authors discuss the issues surrounding these new legal strategies and the alternatives to such programs. They examine the wisdom and constitutionality of post-incarceration commitment and the difficulty of determining who is most likely to offend again. Contributors propose alternatives to involuntary commitment, including community containment and programs for treating sexually abused children so as to reduce the chances of them growing up to continue the cycle of sexual abuse. They also propose ways in which these new legal approaches can be applied to increase their therapeutic potential. Psychologists and other mental health experts working with sexually dangerous offenders as well as lawyers, policy makers, and students in these fields will find this to be an indispensable sourcebook on this topic.