Sociology Index


Violent predators are offenders, particularly sexual offenders, a group who appear to be hunters or predators and violently sexually assault citizens. Violent predators tend to be thought of as ‘psychopaths’ but not all psychopaths are violent offenders. Sexually violent predator determinations demand rigorous evaluations of relevant factors that are validated by empirical evidence.

Intensive Treatment Unit referred Sexually Violent Predators are found to be more often in the severe range of psychopathy when compared with other Sexually Violent Predators. Generally speaking, Sexually violent predator laws have three elements: That the person has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, that the person suffers from a mental abnormality and personality disorder, which causes serious difficulty controlling sexually violent behavior, that this mental abnormality or personality disorder makes the person likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence.

Factors Predicting Selection of Sexually Violent Predators for Civil Commitment
This study investigated the degree to which independent variables predicted civil commitment selection in a sample of 450 sexual offenders evaluated for civil commitment as sexually violent predators under Florida’s Jimmy Ryce Act. Using logistic regression, this study examined the relationship between the dependent variable, commitment recommendation, and several sets of independent variables. Results revealed that the statistically significant difference predictors of recommendations for sex offender civil commitment were diagnoses of pedophilia and paraphilia not otherwise specified. Discriminant function analysis confirmed that these variables correctly predicted commitment recommendations in 90% of cases. - Jill S. Levenson, Lynn University, John W. Morin, Oakbrook Counseling Center, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol. 50, No.6 (2006).

Sexually Violent Predators: The Risky Enterprise of Risk Assessment 
Richard Rogers, PhD and Rebecca L. Jackson, PhD 
J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 33:4:523-528 (2005) 
Forensic experts are increasingly asked to consult in sexually violent predator (SVP) determinations. The substantive criteria for sexually violent predator standards vary substantially across jurisdictions, but typically include complex judgments regarding volitional impairment and predictive statements focused specifically on sexual violence. A common but questionable practice is the retrofitting of generic risk-assessment measures to address sexually violent predator criteria. The marked deficiencies of these measures in addressing the relevant questions, coupled with their methodological limitations, are noted.

The civil commitment of sexually violent predators: a unique Texas approach 
RK Bailey - J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 30:4:525-532 (2002) 
Numerous states have enacted statutes focusing on the civil commitment of sexually violent predators. The Texas statute, like many others, calls for the involuntary commitment of those with a mental abnormality--specifically in Texas, a behavioral abnormality--who are likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence. All of these states, except Texas, have passed legislation creating inpatient treatment for those persons committed.

Sexually Violent Predators in the Courtroom: Science on Trial 
ROBERT A. PRENTKY, Justice Resource Institute - Research Department
ERIC S. JANUS, William Mitchell College of Law
HOWARD BARBAREE, University of Toronto - Centre for Addiction & Mental Health - Law & Mental Health Program. BARBARA K. SCHWARTZ, Justice Resource Institute.
MARTIN KAFKA, Harvard University - Harvard Medical School.
Psychology, Policy, and Law, 2006, William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 50 
Abstract: Adjudication of sexually violent predator commitment laws places demands on science. In the current article, the authors discuss the determination of mental abnormality and its reliance on medical nosological systems.

ABSTRACT: This multi-faceted study describes, explores and compares characteristics of a subset of disruptive Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) hospitalized at Atascadero State Hospital under section 6600 of the State of California Welfare and Institutions Code. The subset met the criteria for referral to an Intensive Treatment Unit for disruptive Sexually Violent Predators. This subset of Sexually Violent Predators participated in treatment less often, and was more often physically and verbally aggressive to both staff and other patients. ITU-referred Sexually Violent Predators were also found to be more often in the severe range of Psychopathy when compared with other Sexually Violent Predators.

Clinical and demographic differences between sexually violent predators and other commitment types in a state forensic hospital - James Vess, School of Psychology Victoria University, Carolyn Murphy, Atascadero State Hospital California, Steve Arkowitz, Liberty Conditional Release Program - Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group, Volume 15.
Abstract: Sexual offenders who are involuntarily civilly committed to a secure state hospital as Sexually Violent Predators appear to differ significantly from other current patient populations. Demographically, sexually violent predators are older and more predominantly Caucasian than other patients. They are less frequently psychotic than patients committed under other state statutes such as those found incompetent to stand trial, not guilty by reason of insanity and mentally ill prison transfers. Another salient dimension which distinguishes sexually violent predators is the degree of psychopathy observed in these patients. As a group, sexually violent predators display only slightly higher levels of psychopathy than other patient groups as measured by the revised Psychopathy Checklist.