Assessing the Real Risk of Sexually Violent Predators: Doctor Padilla’s Dangerous Data

83 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018  

Tamara Rice Lave

University of Miami, School of Law

Franklin Zimring

University of California at Berkeley

Date Written: June 25, 2018

Abstract

This Article uses internal memoranda and emails to describe the efforts of the California Department of Mental Health to suppress a serious and well-designed study that showed just 6.5% of untreated sexually violent predators were arrested for a new sex crime within 4.8 years of release from a locked mental facility. The Article begins by historically situating sexually violent predator laws and then explains the constitutionally critical role that prospective sexual dangerousness plays in justifying these laws. The Article next explains how the U.S. Supreme Court and the highest state courts have allowed these laws to exist without requiring any proof of actual danger. It then describes the California study and reconciles its findings with those of a well-known Washington study by explaining the preventive effects of increasing age. Finally, the Article explains how these results undermine the justification for indeterminate lifetime commitment of sex offenders.

Keywords: Sexually Violent Predators, Civil Commitment, Recidivism, Static 99, Age, California, Atascadero State Hospital

Suggested Citation

Lave, Tamara Rice and Zimring, Franklin E., Assessing the Real Risk of Sexually Violent Predators: Doctor Padilla’s Dangerous Data (June 25, 2018). American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 55, 2018; University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-22; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3202538

Tamara Rice Lave (Contact Author)

University of Miami, School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.miami.edu/facadmin/tlave.php

Franklin E. Zimring

University of California at Berkeley ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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