UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Criminal Law | Law and Psychology | Medical Jurisprudence | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Sexuality and the Law


For centuries the criminal justice system has struggled to define the methodology of and the justifications for social control of sexual behavior that does not conform to community mores. This poster compares and contrasts the historical and contemporary attempts in the United States, Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany to address the risk created by individuals who engage in behaviors broadly characterized as sexually deviant. Where available, we consider the rationale for sentencing, and the earliest attempts to bring “treatment” into the criminal dispositional formula for sexual based prosecution. We also consider the impact that the choice of societal response has on risk assessment and evaluation in the various systems, including where available, the assessment and commitment of juvenile offenders. The current practice of civil commitment for a person deemed to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) is discussed highlighting the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kansas v. Hendricks. This practice will then be compared and contrasted with the approach of designating an offender as a Dangerous Offender (DO) or a Long-Term Offender (LTO) under the criminal law. We also highlight sex offender registries where applicable. This poster is intended as an overview of the law as it exists, and not as a defense or a critique of any specific model.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

40th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009


Presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2009.