Texas law defines a predatory act as “…an act directed toward individuals, including family members for the primary purpose of victimization” (CSOT, 2007). Under the Texas Sexually Violent Predator Act, the State has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is a sexually violent predator with a behavioral abnormality. Typically, civil law only requires preponderance of the evidence. This language is used to narrowly confine the class of sexually violent predators being committed. These sex offenders are committed not convicted of being a sexually violent predator to the outpatient treatment program (CSOT, 2007).
Civil commitment is different than a criminal charge in that a criminal sentence has a definitive time frame. Civil commitment continues until it is determined that the person's behavioral abnormality has changed to the extent that the person is no longer likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence. The intent of the law is to provide intensive outpatient rehabilitation and treatment to the sexually violent predator (Bailey, 2002).
[...] There are no specific sentencing guidelines for sex offenders in Texas. Sentencing for felony crimes are based on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree felonies and carry a punishment of two to ninety nine years of incarceration (depending on the degree of felony in which one is convicted). Because sex offenders are often incarcerated until their sentence expires, approximately 60-80% of all sex offenders released are not on parole. Texas sex offender registry lists an average of 47,000 sex offenders at any given time. [...]
[...] Sexual Assault Legislative Update Retrieved January from http:// www.taasa.org Texas, Council on Sex Offender Treatment (CSOT). (2007). Texas Sexually Violent Predator Act, Article Title 11, Health & Safety Code, Chapter 841. Texas Primary Prevention Planning Committee (TPPPC). (2008). Preventing Sexual Violence in Texas, A Primary Prevention Approach, 30. [...]
[...] (2002). The Civil Commitment of SexuallyViolent Predators: A Unique Texas Approach. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 525–532. Reimers, T. & Edgerly, T. (1999). 76th Legislature, Sex Offender Laws: Summary of Changes. Austin, Texas: Senate Research Center. Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA). (2009). [...]
[...] Under the laws, Texas became the sixth U.S. state to authorize capital punishment for certain sex crimes against children. That particular measure was invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 2008 that it was unconstitutional to impose the death penalty for the crime of raping a child (TAASA, 2009). However, two other provisions of Jessica's Laws are: - A first conviction for raping a child under 6 comes with a mandatory 25- year minimum sentence, as do cases against youths between 7 and 14 that involve a weapon, bodily harm or kidnapping. [...]
[...] Surprisingly often, sex offenders in Texas receive deferred adjudication and continue to live in their communities. Even more shocking is the fact that they are more likely to receive deferred adjudication if their victim is a child, despite the public horror over such acts. While I certainly believe in rehabilitation, I have little sympathy for sexual predators. They are the scum of society and deserve to be treated as such. Be that as it may, the effectiveness of civil commitment programs cannot be overlooked. References Bailey, R. K. [...]
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