Shades of the Gulag - civil detention of sexual predators punishes acts suspected to occur in the future

Humanist Jan-Feb, 1998
by Barbara Dority

On June 23, 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kansas v. Hendricks that the state may brand sex offenders as "violent sexual predators" and commit them indefinitely after they have served their full prison sentences, based on speculation about what they might do in the future.

In a majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court also declared that indefinite civil confinement is not punishment, that the new definitions stated above do not violate due process rights, and that a yearly review of a person's confinement need not be conducted by an impartial court but can be facilitated by a special committee set up by the state and accountable to no one. read full article

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