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When a sex offender is civilly committed they have already served their time in prison and some feel that they will offend again or they can be a real danger to society. By committing themselves it lessen the chances that they will actually commit a sexual crime again but there is no guarantee. Under the Adam Walsh Act passed in 2006, “A person can be considered dangerous if they pending release or with criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial (FindLaw, n.d, para. 5).” They go through a process to determine risk factors connected to them getting out of prison they may warrant them to be civilly committed. If they are found to be dangerous they will become civilly committed. This is for the federal and state level of civil commitment.
This will help society but there can be disadvantages and advantages to this concept. An advantage would be the removal of a dangerous sex offender off the streets, where they do have the means of hurting an innocent person because of their temptations and weaknesses. People for the law argue that such provisions offer an important community protection safeguard by incapacitating a high risk subgroup of sex offenders. Also, it gives these individuals a chance to receive treatment interventions that may reduce their potential to recidivate upon release to the community, especially if they did not receive help in prison (ATSA, 2010, para. 3). Another advantage is that it helps the sexual offender to take responsibility for his/her actions, which can actually help drive their treatment process. It can find out way a person did what they did.
However the same advantages can be looked at as disadvantages. The same legislation that committed the offender to prison, is the same one that civilly commits them. Is it because they are dangerous or will they actually receive the treatment they need psychologically. “Understanding the root cause of the behavior is an important step toward developing effective treatment for those who commit sex offenses, which is the first stated goal of civil commitment (Parks, 2018, p. 172).” This should be the ultimate goal, instead of looking as though they are being confined to a prison “like” institution.
Another disadvantage is that civil commitment is taking funds and resources from mental patients that has severe mental issues allotting it for a small amount of sexual predators who have disorders that can be better served in prison (ATSA, 2010, para. 4). It can be looked at like this, but if the criminal truly need the services, they receive it for the treatment of the mental problem, instead of the criminal problem.
When it comes to assisting a client, a human health worker has to know what resources is needed and how they can better serve that person; because according to Hersberg (2015), “planning should be people centered not system centered, this means putting the client at the center of the planning process (p. 39).” If the system is there to say this is what the “prisoner” need then they all need to work for the betterment of the “prisoner” aka client.
ATSA (2010). Civil commitment of sexually violent predators. Retrieved from http://www.atsa.com/civil-commitment-sexually-violent-predators (Links to an external site.)
FindLaw (n.d). Civil commitment for sexual offenders. Retrieved from https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/civil-commitment.html (Links to an external site.)
Herzberg, J. T. (2015). Foundations in human services practice: A generalist perspective on individual, agency, and community. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.
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