The Supreme Court Makes A Decision About Sex Offenders

May 17th, 2010

SupremeCourtSealOn Monday, May 17 2010, the Supreme Court declared Civil Commitment for sex offenders to be legal. This means the federal government may now hold sexual offenders indefinitely.

The concept of Civil Commitment was established by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. Adam Walsh was abducted and murdered by a man who is thought to be a repeat sex offender. His father, John Walsh, went on to host the show “America’s Most Wanted.” He pushed for a law that would help protect families from experiencing the same suffering he endured.

Civil Commitment is currently utilized in several states. The law allows sex offenders to be held in high-security mental facilities for as long as they are deemed a risk for repeat behavior. Offenders may be taken to these facilities immediately after they have completed a prison sentence. One important stipulation of this law states that the continued incarceration must be for rehabilitative purposes, not punishment.

Members of the Supreme Court voted 7 – 2 in favor of Civil Commitment on a federal level. Only Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia opposed the ruling. They feel this law gives too much power to the government.

Elena Kagan, who was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, argued the case for Civil Commitment. She supported the claim that many offenders are still “sexually dangerous” and should not be allowed back into society.

The Supreme Court ruling follows several cases involving potentially dangerous offenders who were scheduled to be released from prison. Among them is Graydon Comstock, a man who was sentenced to 37 months in a federal facility on charges of child pornography. He was tagged as a potential threat six days before his release.

Comstock, and several other individuals with similar circumstances, would have been set free up to three years ago. They were ordered to remain incarcerated while their cases were being deliberated. The new decision by the Supreme Court could mean these offenders will remain in federal facilities for the rest of their lives.

This controversial law is almost certain to be appealed and brought up in future cases. For now, however, Civil Commitment stands. The law is expected to protect people from repeat offenders, an especially hot topic following stories of predators like Phillip Garrido and John Albert Gardner III.

At PeopleFinders, we feel that public safety is paramount. That’s why we are proud to offer a Free Sex Offender Alert Program. Adults may use this service to learn about registered sex offenders who live in any American city. Sign up to receive free email alerts and search for offenders living near you and your family.

What do you think of this ruling? Do you feel it is Constitutional for the government to hold sex offenders indefinitely? Leave us a comment to share your thoughts, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders People Search blog.

Read more about Civil Commitment here.
Learn some statistics about sex offenders here.

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