Under California law, the government is allowed to institutionalize those people it feels are too dangerous to be within society. This system, as it applies to sex offenders, is in need of an investigation, says lawmakers, and they just approved $250,000 to make that study happen.
When someone who is considered a sexually violent prisoner is scheduled to be paroled, the prison system can make a referral to the Department of Mental Health. The offender then goes through a review process by which the state decides if they are too dangerous to be back on the streets.
Although it’s rare, the state mental health system can choose to lock the offender up in an institution long after their criminal sentence has been served.
When a few horrible cases of parolees committing new crimes hit the media, the public takes note that the mental health system may not be working properly. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the number of civil commitments has not moved despite an overall climb in the number of referrals from the Department of Corrections.
Legislators approved $250,000 to study the system that allows for civil commitments and to see if that system is working as intended. Critics state that many flaws within the referral system are in bad need of reform.
More so than any other classification of crime, aside from murder, sex offenses carry the largest stigma. Particularly when children are involved, the legal system and society in general tend to look upon those accused of these crimes with extreme disgust.
When a defendant is accused of a crime like rape or lewd and lascivious acts, finding support within their family, let alone among friends or the community, can be difficult if not impossible. For this reason, when facing charges like this, your defense attorney often seems like your only ally.