- Report Published -
|Review of the Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators|
|Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission|
|Appropriation Act - Item 30 H.1. (Regular Session, 2011)|
|Item 30 of the 2011 Appropriation Act directed JLARC staff to review Virginia’s civil commitment of sexually violent predators (SVPs).|
JLARC staff found that Virginia’s actuarial risk assessment approach is flawed. The citation of a specific actuarial assessment instrument and score in statute does not allow qualified professionals to use their professional judgment to review certain high-risk offenders. It also makes it likely that the State will use an out-of-date instrument as actuarial science evolves. To address these flaws, it is recommended that the Code of Virginia be amended to remove references to a specific instrument and score.
JLARC staff also found that Virginia’s risk assessment process does not provide for enough flexibility or sufficient use of consensus in deciding whether to proceed with the civil commitment process. Recommendations to improve SVP evaluations and the deliberations of the Commitment Review Committee are intended to create a more flexible and consensus-based risk assessment process.
Virginia’s civil commitment program will continue to grow over time, as more individuals are committed each year than are released. However, the rate of program growth can be reduced if certain program changes, such as those recommended, are made.