The author summarizes recent events in Minnesota and Wisconsin, two of the original SVP states. Their programs are now a decade or more old. "The central lesson of these stories is that the politics of sexual violence, as framed by SVP laws and popular passion, will not let us close this Pandora’s box. Ultimately, it will be both society at large and future victims of sexual violence who suffer, because the expense of SVP programs is wildly out of proportion to their benefit."
This article addresses the constitutional concerns and costs and benefits associated with civil commitment for sexually violent predators. In particular, it focuses on Washington's civil commitment program, the oldest such program in existence in the United States and, indeed, the only program in the nation in which the constitutional parameters of the treatment program have been fully litigated.