Civilly committed sex offenders: A description and interstate comparison of populations

Julia E. McLawsen, Mario J. Scalora, Charles Darrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Although 20 states have passed statutes enabling rehabilitative detention of sex offenders subsequent to a their release from their prison sentences, so far data from only six states' civilly committed sex offender populations have been made available through publication. To augment the scant literature about this small yet high-risk population, the current article presents offense, risk, and diagnostic characteristics for 134 civilly committed male sex offenders in Nebraska. Committed individuals exhibited medium-to-moderate recidivism risk levels. Paraphilias were, by far, the most common diagnosis. Just over half of the sample was diagnosed with at least one personality disorder. When compared to analogous groups in other states, the committed portion of the Nebraska sample posed a substantially lower risk of recidivism and the Nebraska sample was more likely to be diagnosed with pedophilia. Findings merit further investigation into how decision-makers render civil commitment dispositions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-476
Number of pages24
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Civil commitment
  • Decision-making
  • Risk assessment
  • Sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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