Controlling the Offender: Sex, Mental Illness and the Static 99

Posted: 11 Jul 2007 Last revised: 28 Sep 2012

See all articles by Tamara Rice Lave

Tamara Rice Lave

University of Miami, School of Law

Date Written: May 16, 2007


Sexually violent predator (SVP) laws are inherently suspicious because they incarcerate people not because of what they have done, but because of what they might do. The implicit assumption that sex offenders cannot control themselves is contradicted by recidivism data published by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2003. In practice the SVP laws violate due process by relying on an instrument - the Static 99 - that is so inaccurate that it condemns seven individuals for every one that would re-offend. Furthermore, the Static 99 fails to meet the constitutional criteria laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kansas vs. Hendricks, because it does not link an individual's mental illness to his dangerousness. (THIS PAPER WAS PUBLISHED UNDER A DIFFERENT TITLE. CONTROLLING SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS: CONTINUED INCARCERATION AT WHAT COST? IT IS AVAILABLE ON SSRN.)

Suggested Citation

Lave, Tamara Rice, Controlling the Offender: Sex, Mental Illness and the Static 99 (May 16, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Tamara Rice Lave (Contact Author)

University of Miami, School of Law ( email )

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


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