DEFENDER SERVICES OFFICE
TRAINING DIVISION





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CIVIL COMMITMENT OF SEX OFFENDERS
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
  • Adam Walsh Act III: It's Not the Sentence, It's the Commitment . . . (Sept. 10, 2007; revised Sept. 25, 2007)
    by Amy Baron-Evans and Sarah Noonan (National Federal Defender Sentencing Resource and Research and Writing Counsel)
    Title III of the Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act of 2006 established the Jimmy Ryce Civil Commitment Program for Dangerous Sex Offenders, now codified at 18 U.S.C. § § 4247 & 4248. Under this program, the AG or anyone authorized by the AG or the Director of BOP may seek to civilly commit anyone in BOP custody by “certifying” him (or her) as “sexually dangerous.” This memorandum describes the civil commitment law and how BOP is interpreting and using it, and suggests ways to protect clients against being certified in the future.

CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY CHALLENGES
  • Necessary and Proper Clause Challenge Foreclosed
    In United States v. Comstock, 130 S.Ct. 1949 (2010), the Court upheld the power of the federal government to civilly commit "sexually dangerous persons" under the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution. Practitioners should keep in mind that the Court did not reach the question of whether other provisions of the Constitution, such as the Due Process Clause, prohibit civil commitment under the circumstances provided for in 18 U.S.C. § 4248.

  • Motion Raising Constitutional Challenges to Civil Commitment
    These motions and briefs raise various constitutional challenges to 18 U.S.C. § 4248. Though many of these challenges have been rejected by the Courts of Appeals, the Supreme Court in Comstock addressed only the Necessary and Proper challenge.

BOP MATERIALS

  • BOP Sex Offender Management Program Description

  • BOP Materials Relating to 4248 Civil Commitments
  • Legal Resource Guide to the Federal Bureau of Prisons 2010
    (See section III for a brief discussion of 18 U.S.C. § 4248.)

  • Sample Releases and Consent Forms

    • ADDITIONAL RESOURCES