Civil Commitment of Sexual Predators: A Study in Policy by Andrew J. Harris

By Andrew J. Harris

Harris examines the implementation of country regulations delivering for the involuntary civil dedication of "sexually violent predators" (SVP’s). His research makes use of information drawing from six states among 1990 and 1999. He unearths the guidelines to be strong, with an important political base of help and validation from the courts’.. notwithstanding, operationally the guidelines face an expanding inhabitants, coming up from a gradual stream of latest commitments and a negligible variety of discharges. Harris concludes that the regulations’ lengthy diversity sustainability is contingent upon major investment, and that their organizational and criminal viability can be undermined if assets fail to maintain speed with the becoming inhabitants.

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Consistent with the prospective focus of this study, the conceptual and operational analyses are focused, first and foremost, on the longrange viability of SVP civil commitment policies. This viability may be assessed examining the models’ implicit assumptions in four main areas: • Technological viability, or the extent to which the policy aligns with the capacities and limitations of applicable technology; • Legal viability, or the manner in which the policy is supported or impeded by constitutional factors as interpreted by the courts; • Organizational viability, specifically pertaining to dynamics within and relationships between implementing agencies and to structural incentives that may affect implementation activity; and • Resource viability, as reflected both in costs of adopting the policy as a long-range strategy and in the willingness SVP Civil Commitment Policies in an Implementation Framework 29 of legislatures and others to provide resources that align with those costs.

The third section focuses on the solution, exploring in detail the “back-end” of the conceptual model and analyzing the model’s alternative pathways from its policy outputs to its desired outcomes. when the statement of the problem is ambiguous, implementers must guess at how the means selected relate to the problem being solved. ” (Mazmanian & Sabatier, 1983) 39 40 Civil Commitment of Sexual Predators Before analyzing the conceptual model’s strategic foundations, we turn first to the nature of the problem that the SVP civil commitment policy is intended to solve.

It would be misleading - not to mention overly cynical - to suggest that evaluation cannot play a genuinely constructive role in improving the implementation process. Applied to SVP civil commitment policies, the fundamental question before us 20 Civil Commitment of Sexual Predators pertains to the roles that program evaluation, as conducted by legislatures, implementing agencies, the courts, and social scientists, have had both on the political dynamics of implementation and in ongoing efforts towards policy refinement.

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