Forensic mental health practitioners who evaluate or treat sexual offenders are responsible for knowing and understanding the laws and rules that pertain to this specialized population. Megan’s Law (also known as the Jacob Wetterling Act) is a federal law that requires registration of individuals convicted of sex crimes involving children. The Supreme Court case of Kansas v. Hendricks (1997) upheld the state’s rights to civilly commit sex offenders. The court specified further in Kansas v. Crane (2002) that states can civilly commit sex offenders only if there is some degree of volitional impairment (i.e., the ability to control one’s behavior due to a mental abnormality or personality disorder). The Adam Walsh Act is another federal law that imposes additional requirements for registration and utilization of a three-tier system of classification of sex offenders based upon the risk to the community.
Using the module’s readings, the Argosy University online library resources, the Internet, and the websites for your legislature or state courts, determine whether your state has legislation specific to sexual offenders or SVPs.
Then, based on your research, respond to the following:
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- If your state has an SVP act, briefly describe the requirements of your state and discuss whether it follows Megan’s Law, the Adam Walsh Act, both, or neither. Ensure that you provide links to the information. Discuss the pros and cons of your state’s SVP laws.
- If your state does not have an SVP act, review your state’s sex offender register web page. Be sure to provide links to the page. Discuss the pros and cons of sex offender registration (especially regarding effectiveness in reducing sexual offending) based upon your review of the literature. Ensure that you provide references.
In addition, using the module’s readings, the Argosy University online library resources, the Internet, and professional literature, identify and describe three risk assessment instruments used in assessing the risk of sexual recidivism. Professional literature may include the Argosy University online library resources, relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu, .org, and .gov).
Apply APA standards to citation of sources.
Post your responses in a minimum of 300–500 words.
Kansas v. Crane, 534 U.S. 407 (2002).
Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346 (1997).