Civil Commitment of Sexual Predators

  • Michelle A. CubellisEmail author
  • Andrew J. Harris


Responding to concerns surrounding the release of sex offenders into the community, many states have implemented laws allowing for the civil commitment of sex offenders deemed to pose a high risk of re-offense. Currently, twenty states, as well as the District of Columbia and Federal government, have statutes allowing for civil commitment. Beyond encountering significant operational and fiscal challenges, sex offender civil commitment (SOCC) programs have faced numerous legal challenges centered on the constitutionality of these statutes in regards to commitment, treatment, and release. This chapter examines the history and development of civil commitment policies in the United States, and offers a detailed discussion of the operational context and characteristics of SOCC programs. The chapter also features analyses of the legal and constitutional issues surrounding SOCC, the use of SOCC in countries other than the U.S., the empirical evidence surrounding the effectiveness of SOCC, and a detailed discussion of the cost associated with SOCC, focusing on state expenditures on SOCC programs and the fiscal viability of managing ever increasing commitment populations.


Civil commitment Sex offender Sexual predator Sex offender treatment Risk assessment Legislation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Connecticut State UniversityNew BritainUSA
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts LowellLowellUSA

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