Sexually Violent Predator Laws

This entry addresses a group of laws, originating in the early 1990s, known as sexually violent predator (SVP) laws. These laws use civil confinement (in contrast to criminal incarceration) to lock up individuals who are viewed as at high risk of committing a sexual offense in the future. Because these laws deprive people of their liberty in anticipation of a predicted crime, they are highly controversial legally as well as morally. This entry describes these laws as well as their legal context, traces their history, discusses the justifications as well as critiques, and concludes with a discussion of their current status.

Definition and Context of SVP Laws

SVP laws are civil commitment laws designed to identify individuals who pose a high risk of future sexually harmful behavior ...

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