Sex Offender Treatment Program, Constitutional or Not

Length: 698 words

There are several concerns going around the prison management system regarding sex offenders. Responses to questions as to how they should be monitored when they are already outside of prison and as to whether or not they should be required to participate in treatment programs after they are released have gathered different responses over the years. Sex offender treatment programs give every male, female, and even juveniles a unique treatment suitable for helping them cure their addiction.

These mandated mental and health treatment for sex offenders generates the issue as to whether or not it violates the constitutional rights of the prisoners. Both the court and the criminal justice system is arranged in a way that once an individual is convicted, they will serve the sentence given to them and once they are released from prison, the society hopes that they will be rehabilitated and that the time they serve in prison will serve as their deterrence from their commission of other crimes.

Some of this optimism came from an analysis about the effectiveness of the treatment being given for sex offenders. America has a high recidivism rate and according to this analysis, there is a big difference between the recidivism rate for

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sex offenders who were treated as compared to those who were not. The study conducted revealed that there is a sexual recidivism rate of about 17. 3% for those offenders who were not treated as compared to the 9. 9% who underwent treatment (Kersting, 2003).

The issue about requiring after-prison treatment for sex offenders is one of the most debated subjects in the criminal justice system and most of the controversy deals with its constitutionality. In the case of Kansas v. Hendricks (1997), the Supreme Court held that the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act was constitutional. This law provides that the sexually dangerous people would be transferred in a facility that may be likened to a mental institution after their sentence.

The Court emphasized that the basis for commitment must be the danger that the offender pose to others. This person must be shown to have a mental condition that has a tendency to cause a sexually violent future demeanor. These persons that are determined to fit these requirements are afforded due process prior to their commitment. In the case of Unites States v. Morrison (2000), the Supreme Court uses the rationale that the regulation as well as the punishment for any intrastate violence has and will always be within the power of the State.

There is indeed no better display of police power which the founding fathers have denied the National Government which in turn, they have reposed in the States, rather than the suppression of the violent crimes as well as the vindication of its victims. Due to the aforementioned cases, it can clearly be ascertained that the State, as an exercise of police power, may mandate that the sex offenders undergo an after-prison treatment not only for their benefit but also for the general welfare after a medical finding that they still need more medical and psychological treatment.

This is not a violation of their Constitutional rights because the Constitution provides that punishing someone for the same crime twice amounts to double jeopardy. Submitting these sexual offenders to a treatment program is not tantamount to punishing them again for their crimes. This is just a precautionary measure to help them not to commit sexual crimes again. Furthermore, many people would agree that the true sign of deterrence and change of heart would be the willingness of these convicts to undergo treatment for self-improvement even after their imprisonment.

The rights of the prisoners are not the only ones in question here but the rights of the victims as well. Not to mandate treatment for a sex offender who could potentially commit the crime again would violate the very nature of the State as the parens patriae of the people they swear to protect. If the aim of the law is to protect the rights of both the prisoners as well as the victims, then detaining those that are sexually dangerous would help in protecting the weakest of all the citizens who are oftentimes the victims of these predators, the children.

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