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Could Sex Offenders Be Locked Up Forever?

Monday Aug 29th, on Sex Crimes | reported on the controversial effort to permanently confine sex offenders.  The approach involves treating sex offenders as mental patients and locking them up in prison-like hospitals.

Previously, attempts had been made to claim that a sex offender should be kept confined in a hospital for having anti-social personality disorder (ASPD).  However, the court ruled that having this condition alone was not sufficient to confine a sex offender. 

Now, efforts are being made to confine sex offenders to hospitals for having a combination of two mental illnesses, neither of which are directly related to sex.  The two mental illnesses are anti-social personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, and the court held that the combination of both conditions was sufficient for a sex offender to be confined in a hospital after being released from prison. calls the decision a “big victory to state prosecutors who want to remove some of the worst sex offenders from society -- possibly forever.”  However, there are many others who worry that the court's decision is “expanding a controversial confinement program beyond its constitutional grounds.”

The program of involuntary confinement is supposed to be a benefit to public safety, but questions have repeatedly been raised about whether this involuntary confinement violates the rights of defendants who could end up being confined in hospitals for life. The confinement program is supposed to be providing these confined patients with treatment, but there is not any proof that the treatment is actually effective.

Currently, there are around 400 men who have been confined to hospitals because they are sex offenders.  Now that the court has allowed confinement for defendants with these two combined mental issues despite having previously ruled that ASPD alone wasn't enough for confinement, it is possible that many more people will end up being confined. This is especially a concern because the majority of criminals have ASPD.

With the risk of being permanently confined as a new threat that sex offenders must face, avoiding conviction or reducing charges becomes more important than ever. An attorney at The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC should be consulted for help as soon as possible if you've been charged.

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