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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Legislative findings
Mental Hygiene (MHY) CHAPTER 27, TITLE B, ARTICLE 10
§ 10.01 Legislative findings. The legislature finds as follows:

(a) That recidivistic sex offenders pose a danger to society that
should be addressed through comprehensive programs of treatment and
management. Civil and criminal processes have distinct but overlapping
goals, and both should be part of an integrated approach that is based
on evolving scientific understanding, flexible enough to respond to
current needs of individual offenders, and sufficient to provide
meaningful treatment and to protect the public.

(b) That some sex offenders have mental abnormalities that predispose
them to engage in repeated sex offenses. These offenders may require
long-term specialized treatment modalities to address their risk to
reoffend. They should receive such treatment while they are incarcerated
as a result of the criminal process, and should continue to receive
treatment when that incarceration comes to an end. In extreme cases,
confinement of the most dangerous offenders will need to be extended by
civil process in order to provide them such treatment and to protect the
public from their recidivistic conduct.

(c) That for other sex offenders, it can be effective and appropriate
to provide treatment in a regimen of strict and intensive outpatient
supervision. Accordingly, civil commitment should be only one element in
a range of responses to the need for treatment of sex offenders. The
goal of a comprehensive system should be to protect the public, reduce
recidivism, and ensure offenders have access to proper treatment.

(d) That some of the goals of civil commitment - protection of
society, supervision of offenders, and management of their behavior -
are appropriate goals of the criminal process as well. For some
recidivistic sex offenders, appropriate criminal sentences, including
long-term post-release supervision, may be the most appropriate way to
achieve those goals.

(e) That the system for responding to recidivistic sex offenders with
civil measures must be designed for treatment and protection. It should
be based on the most accurate scientific understanding available,
including the use of current, validated risk assessment instruments.
Ideally, effective risk assessment should begin to occur prior to
sentencing in the criminal process, and it should guide the process of
civil commitment.

(f) That the system should offer meaningful forms of treatment to sex
offenders in all criminal and civil phases, including during
incarceration, civil commitment, and outpatient supervision.

(g) That sex offenders in need of civil commitment are a different
population from traditional mental health patients, who have different
treatment needs and particular vulnerabilities. Accordingly, civil
commitment of sex offenders should be implemented in ways that do not
endanger, stigmatize, or divert needed treatment resources away from
such traditional mental health patients.